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Gulf Shrimp Facts

I still call them Gulf Shrimp (aka Warm Water shrimp), although in recent years eight states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas) have started a marketing campaign called "Wild American Shrimp".

But you also have wild caught Mexican shrimp that come from Mexico on the Pacific coast as well as in the Gulf of Mexico. Many shrimp are also caught in other countries and imported to the U.S.

The thing to remember is that wild caught shrimp get their flavor from what they feed on and what they eat will depend on what part of the ocean they are caught in.

For instance brown shrimp from certain areas of the U.S. Coast feed on kelp, rich in iodine. These shrimp will have a more full iodine flavor than other brown shrimp caught in waters off the west coast of Mexico, where their food is different.

Being that gulf shrimp are what they call free swimmers the texture of them are usually firmer than pond raised shrimp.

Three Main Species of Gulf Shrimp

Gulf Shrimp are classified by the color of their shell, you have brown, white and pink.
  • White shrimp: Preferred by many Chefs, they have a sweet flavor, with a firm, slightly "crunchy texture. Although called white shrimp their shells will be a greenish-gray or blue gray in the raw, but will turn pink when cooked.
  • Brown Shrimp: Usually have a firmer texture and a fuller flavor, the cooked shrimp will have a slightly redder meat than the white shelled shrimp. Brown shrimp cooked in the shell will turn coral.
  • Pink Shrimp: The texture of the these shrimp is firm, with a mild flavor. When cooked, the shells will turn a deeper color of pink.The meat will be white with skin tones of pink. Most of the shrimp harvested in Florida are pink.

Less Known Gulf Shrimp Species

  • Rock Shrimp: Are found in deep waters (120 to 180 foot deep). Their shells are tough and rigid, almost looking like a mini lobster tail. They very seldom grow bigger than a 21 to 25 count per pound. The meat is firm and sweet, but cook much faster than other shrimp. Most of the Rock shrimp you might find will be already peeled and deveined.
  • Royal Reds: These shrimp are caught in deep water (2400 foot) and usually 40 to 60 miles off the shore. The shrimp have a very unique flavor of shrimp and lobster combined, a delicate texture and have a higher salt content than other shrimp. Royals are frozen on board the boats they are caught on.

Gulf Shrimp Tips

  • Expect to pay more for Gulf shrimp.
  • They maybe be harder to find in grocery stores or fish markets. But you can buy them online.
  • The flavor and texture of these shrimp are unbeatable. Treat yourself to them.


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