What Is Boat Run Shrimp? The Key Facts

If you’re a seafood lover, you’ve probably heard of boat run shrimp.

These delicious crustaceans are caught off the coast of North Carolina by diligent fishermen who work hard to bring you the freshest shrimp possible.

Boat run shrimp are known for their sweet, succulent flavor and are a popular choice for many seafood dishes.

But what exactly is boat run shrimp, and how does it differ from other types of shrimp?

In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about boat run shrimp, from their size and preparation to their unique taste and texture.

So sit back, relax, and get ready to learn all about this tasty seafood delicacy!

What Is Boat Run Shrimp?

Boat run shrimp are a type of raw shrimp that are caught by fishermen off the coast of North Carolina. These shrimp are known for their freshness, as they are caught and brought to shore on the same day.

Boat run shrimp come in different sizes, and whether you buy them “head on” or “tails” largely depends on personal preference and how you plan to prepare them. “Head on” shrimp are preferred by some chefs for grilling, as they provide a larger target on the grill and can be presented more authentically on a dish. “Tails” are perfect for dishes where the shrimp is part of several items on the plate, such as gumbo.

When it comes to preparation, boat run shrimp can be grilled, boiled, or fried. However, with such fresh shrimp, it’s best to keep it simple and let the natural flavor shine through.

How Is Boat Run Shrimp Caught?

Boat run shrimp are caught using shrimp boats, which are vessels specifically designed for catching shrimp. These boats are often outrigger trawlers, which means they have outriggers at the boat’s mast where trawls can attach. They also include an aft or superstructure forward. Capstans and warp winches get positioned on the deck to bring in the shrimp.

Most commercial shrimp fishing is done through trawling. Trawling nets are large, wide nets that are weighted on the bottom so they hang like a sheet down to the sea bed. The top of the net will have buoys on it to allow it to float, and this difference between floats and weights ensures the net stays wide open as it trawls along. The net is shaped like a sock, so as the boat moves forward, it funnels the catch to the back of the net in what is usually called the bag.

When done in heavily populated waters, the majority of the catch will be shrimp, but there’s also a large quantity of by-catch as well. That said, advancements in the shrimping industry are actually coming up with ways to minimize by-catch, including things like turtle excluder devices that keep sea turtles out of the nets.

Strong winches are able to pull the net up when it’s full, and then the net can be released right on the deck where the catch is sorted and iced. A single shrimp boat with a crew of three may be able to catch anywhere from no shrimp at all to as much as 16,000 pounds of shrimp in a single trip. Larger commercial shrimping vessels can catch nearly 50,000 pounds of shrimp in a trip.

It’s important to consider whether you would like to go shrimping during the day or night. Many shrimpers choose to go at night when shrimp are more active. You can use a light to attract the shrimp to your net, bait, or trap in the evenings. If you choose to go during the daytime, it can be slightly more difficult because shrimp tend to concentrate in deeper waters. Tides are an essential factor when harvesting prawns. The best setting for a successful shrimping experience is low tide when the outgoing water pulls shrimp to marshy areas. Tides change depending on the time of day, so it is important to check your local weather report to find the best time to catch shrimp in your area.

Boat Run Shrimp Size And Appearance

Boat run shrimp sizes can vary, with the most common size being 21/25. This means that it takes between 21 and 25 of these shrimp to make up a pound. However, sizes can range from smaller to larger depending on the season and availability.

In terms of appearance, boat run shrimp are typically pinkish in color with a slightly translucent and firm texture. They have a distinct curved shape and are easily recognizable by their long antennae and legs. When cooked, they turn a bright pink color and become plump and juicy.

It’s important to note that boat run shrimp are not a specific species of shrimp, but rather a term used to describe fresh shrimp caught by fishermen and brought to shore on the same day. As such, the size and appearance of boat run shrimp can vary depending on the species of shrimp that are caught during a particular fishing trip.

Boat Run Shrimp Taste And Texture

Boat run shrimp are known for their exceptional taste and texture. These shrimp are caught and brought to shore on the same day, ensuring maximum freshness and flavor. The texture of boat run shrimp is firm and meaty, making them perfect for grilling or frying.

In terms of taste, boat run shrimp have a sweet and succulent flavor with a slight briny taste that comes from being caught in saltwater. This unique flavor profile makes them a favorite among seafood lovers.

When cooked properly, boat run shrimp have a delicate and tender texture that is not too chewy or rubbery. They are also not too soft or mushy, which can be a sign of overcooking or poor quality shrimp.

How To Prepare And Cook Boat Run Shrimp

Preparing and cooking boat run shrimp is simple, and the key is to keep the process as uncomplicated as possible to let the natural flavor of the shrimp shine through. Here are some steps to follow:

1. Thaw the shrimp: If your boat run shrimp are frozen, thaw them in the refrigerator overnight. Avoid thawing them in warm water, as this can affect their texture.

2. Clean the shrimp: Rinse the shrimp under cold running water and remove the shells and veins. You can leave the tails on or remove them, depending on your preference.

3. Season the shrimp: Boat run shrimp have a sweet and succulent flavor that doesn’t need much seasoning. A sprinkle of salt and pepper is all you need to enhance their natural taste.

4. Grill the shrimp: Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Brush the shrimp with a little oil and place them on the grill. Cook for 2-3 minutes per side, until they turn pink and slightly charred.

5. Boil the shrimp: In a large pot, bring water to a boil and add some Old Bay seasoning or other shrimp boil seasoning. Add the cleaned shrimp and boil for 2-3 minutes until they turn pink and opaque.

6. Fry the shrimp: Heat some oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Dredge the cleaned shrimp in flour or cornmeal and fry them for 2-3 minutes until golden brown.

7. Serve: Boat run shrimp are best served hot off the grill, out of the pot or frying pan. You can also chill them in the refrigerator for a cold meal later.

Health Benefits Of Boat Run Shrimp

Boat run shrimp are not only delicious but also offer several health benefits. These shrimp are low in fat and calories, making them an excellent source of protein without adding unwanted calories to your diet. In fact, just 4 ounces of boat run shrimp provides nearly 24 grams of protein and only 1.2 grams of fat.

Boat run shrimp are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for maintaining a healthy heart and brain. Omega-3s have been shown to reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, and improve cholesterol levels. Additionally, boat run shrimp contain astaxanthin, an antioxidant that has been linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Despite concerns about heavy metal contamination in bottom-feeding shrimp, boat run shrimp are caught off the coast of North Carolina where their nutrition and habitats are closely monitored. This ensures that the chances of mercury contamination in boat run shrimp are low.

In addition to being a good source of protein and omega-3s, boat run shrimp also contain essential vitamins and minerals like Vitamin D, B12, B3, iron, and zinc. These nutrients play a crucial role in maintaining healthy skin, eyesight, and cognitive function.