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KennethT

heads-on IQF gulf shrimp

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hey everybody - I'm an idiot... I had a practically full 10# bag of 16/20 IQF heads-on gulf shrimp in my freezer... I took the bag out to get something that was hidden underneath, and forgot to put the big bag o' shrimp back in!! How I didn't see it sitting on the floor right next to the freezer is still beyond my comprehension... My wife discovered the bag the next day....

So now I'm hunting for replacements - but, for some reason, everyone seems to be out of the IQF heads-on shrimp - so I can either find fresh heads-on, or IQF heads-off....

I've got people coming over next Saturday for a Mardi Gras party (I know it's after MG, but it was the only time we could get everyone together) which I was planning on making BBQ shrimp, and putting some gulf shrimp in my gumbo (don't need the heads for that, but I use them in my shrimp stock)... I guess if I have to, I can get some fresh ones delivered just in time, or get the IQF that are headless...

I'm in NY, so I can't go to any local stores, but I feel like I've checked every place along the gulf that ships...

Does anyone know of anyone who might have them??? Thanks... I really appreciate any help I can get!!

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Head-on IQF can be hard to find anyway, locally. Most of that stuff is shipped away & defrosted to be sold as near-fresh. Call Bayou Bounty, a seafood market near my house. They ship crawfish, shrimp, crabs, etc. Maybe they can help you out. Or check out the list of more than 20 vendors at Westwego, LA's "shrimp lot":an outdoor market full of nothing but seafood. You'd have to contact the vendors individually, but if you really want head-on frozen, it might be your best bet.

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This is true - in the past, the only place I could find them (for mail order) was the Cajun Grocer - but they're out of stock and won't have any more until May... Thanks for the links - I emailed a few people from the Shrimp Lot... I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

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I can vouch for this place. I used to buy from them when I ran a restaurant on the gulf coast. I live in seafood siberia now, so I stop by their place once or twice a year when I'm visiting to restock.

They're not fancy, but their stuff is as fresh as you can get.

Billy's Seafood

Magi

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I may be missing something, but why do you need IQF shrimp? Frozen shrimp you need to defrost anyways, and "fresh" shrimp...well, its good to go.

Jim

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There are a couple of advantages to IQF. The first is portion control. I usually have a bag in my freezer, and I can pull out only what I need for a meal, rather than run to the market for 6 to 12 ounces of "fresh."

Second is the whole idea of "fresh." Chances are, as Celeste indicates, shrimp purchased anywhere other than right off the dock or very close to it has already been frozen -- sometimes twice. February is not a great month for shrimping, anyway (I'm pretty sure it's out of season in Louisiana until April or May), which is probably why KennethT is encountering shortages. So chances are that stuff that appears to be fresh is really just defrosted. Some states require it to be labeled as such.

Further to the second point, shrimpers stay out anywhere from one to five days, stowing their catch on ice until they dock. The concept of freshness under such conditions must allow for some flexibility. Add a day or two to ship unfrozen product to a market like New York and you're looking at a shrimp that could easily be a week old.

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February is not a great month for shrimping, anyway (I'm pretty sure it's out of season in Louisiana until April or May), which is probably why KennethT is encountering shortages. So chances are that stuff that appears to be fresh is really just defrosted. Some states require it to be labeled as such.

Further to the second point, shrimpers stay out anywhere from one to five days, stowing their catch on ice until they dock. The concept of freshness under such conditions must allow for some flexibility. Add a day or two to ship unfrozen product to a market like New York and you're looking at a shrimp that could easily be a week old.

The above info is only valid for in-shore and close to the coast shrimp trawling in the Gulf of Mexico. Big, offshore trawlers fish year-round, and those boats certainly stay out for more than 5 days. (The kinds of shrimp caught vary with the season, depth of water, etc) Large trawlers have on-boat IQF operations...the just-caught shrimp are dropped into a tank of ultra-cold brine, where they're frozen whole. Yep, right on the boat.

I adore BBQ shrimp, but I only make the dish when I get very fresh, head-on shrimp (preferably brown and not white). Frozen (whether peeled or not, IQF or home-frozen) just doesn't cut it for me, and as for using headless shrimp for NOLA BBQ shrimp, well, what's the point? All of the good shrimpy flavor is in the head.


Edited by HungryC (log)

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