The Best Shrimp Cocktail

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*Note: The shrimp and sauce may be made up to 24 hours in advance and refrigerate. If you can't find shrimp that are deveined, simply cut through the top of the shell along the vein line (leaving the shell on the shrimp), and remove and discard the vein.

*Serves 6 to 8



2 pounds deveined, shell-on jumbo shrimp (16 to 20 per pound)

2 1/2 tablespoons salt

10 sprigs fresh thyme

2 teaspoons peppercorns

3 bay leaves

1/2 teaspoon celery seed

8 (2-inch) strips lemon peel plus 1/4 cup juice, from 2 lemons (reserve the lemon halves that have been juiced)

8 cups ice

Cocktail Sauce:

1 cup ketchup

1/4 cup prepared horseradish

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper


Combine the shrimp, 4 cups cold water, salt, thyme, peppercorns, bay leaves and celery seeds in a large pot. Cook the mixture over medium-high heat, stirring every so often, until the water registers 170 degrees and the shrimp are just beginning to turn pink, 5 to 7 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat and add the lemon peels, juice and lemon halves that have already been juiced. Cover the pot and let the mixture sit until the shrimp are completely pink and firm, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir the ice into the pot and let the shrimp cool completely, about 5 minutes. Drain the water and peel the shrimp, leaving the tails intact. Refrigerate the shrimp up to 24 hours until ready to serve.

For the cocktail sauce, whisk all the ingredients together until combined. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve with the shrimp.