3 cups water
½ cup kosher salt
½ cup packed brown sugar
3 bay leaves
2 tablespoons white peppercorns
8 giant (U4) shrimp, 3 to 4 ounces each
1½ medium carrots, peeled and cut into ¼-inch dice
1½ ribs celery, cut into ¼-inch dice
1 medium onion, cut into ¼-inch dice
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup mayonnaise
Zest of 4 lemons
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
1 cup (panko or bread crumbs
2 cups lump crabmeat
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
IQUE hollandaise sauce
2 cups water
3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce
1 tablespoon dry barbecue rub, plus more for garnish
For the brine: In a large saucepan over high heat, bring the water, salt, sugar, bay leaves and peppercorns to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and cool until it reaches a temperature lower than 41°F (5°C).
Remove the shells of the shrimp, leaving the tail on, and devein them from the belly side. Place the shrimp in the brine with 2 cups ice and keep cold. Brine for 25 minutes. Drain and pat dry.
For the sauce: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the water to a boil. Lower heat and reduce to a simmer. In a metal mixing bowl large enough to sit over the saucepan, whisk yolks and lemon juice until yolks lighten in color, 2 to 3 minutes. Place the bowl over the saucepan, and whisk constantly until mixture thickens, 3 to 5 minutes (it should coat the back of a spoon). Remove from heat and, whisking constantly, add butter, one cube at a time, making sure each one is blended in before adding another. When all the butter is incorporated, whisk in Tabasco sauce and dry rub. Reserve until shrimp are ready.
For the stuffing: In a saute pan over medium-low heat, cook carrots, celery, onion and garlic in the butter until tender, 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Transfer to a bowl and stir in mayonnaise, lemon zest, thyme, parsley, Old Bay Seasoning, and panko. Gently fold in the crabmeat, trying to keep the chunks intact (we like to really see the crab). Season with salt and pepper.
Prepare smoker and bring temperature to 300 degrees.
While the smoker is heating, stuff the shrimp. Place about ½ cup of stuffing in your hands and shape into an oval. Position inside a shrimp, wrapping the tail up and over it. Repeat with remaining shrimp.
Place the shrimp in a buttered 9-by-12-inch baking dish or sheet pan, or directly on the smoker grate, and smoke for 8-10 minutes, until the shrimp are pink and no longer translucent, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the meat of the shrimp registers 145 degrees. Remove from the smoker.
Arrange shrimp on a serving platter, drizzle with hollandaise sauce, and sprinkle with extra dry rub.
Cook's note: You will probably have extra stuffing, which makes delicious crabcakes, mixes well with scrambled eggs, and is delicious on toast, for a variation on shrimp toasts.
"Wicked Good Barbecue" by Andy Husbands and Chris Hart (Fair Winds Press, 2012)