BBQ Cooking: Grilled Scallops

grilled scallops photo by avlxyz

Seafood is wonderful for BBQ cooking, but you have to be careful not to overcook the delicate flesh. This is especially true of scallops. They need to be cooked over direct heat for a very short amount of time. By grilling scallops, you can have a gourmet dish in less than five minutes!

Pay close attention when you’re shopping for scallops. You want large ones for grilling – NOT bay scallops or calico scallops. Buy sea scallops, jumbo scallops, or diver scallops. Many scallops are sold as “wet packed.” This means that they’ve been treated with sodium tripolyphosphate, or STPP, to make them absorb liquid. Why? So the scallops will weigh more. The STPP also makes the scallops whiter. Look for “dry packed” or “chemical free” scallops – scallops that have not been treated with liquid-absorbing STPP. Sometimes these are hard to find. If the scallops contain too much liquid, you won’t get that nice crusty caramelization on the outside.

When you get your scallops home, press them with several thicknesses of paper towels to remove any liquid. Once they’re dry, let them sit at room temperature for about fifteen minutes before grilling. Just before they go on the grill, and right before you brush them with oil, give the scallops a final paper-towel blotting.

Once the scallops have rested at room temperature and have received their final drying, brush or rub them all over with olive oil, including the sides. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and paprika. Make sure your grill grate is perfectly clean, then oil the grate.  Grill scallops over direct heat for about two minutes per side. Turn them carefully with tongs. Remove from grill and drizzle with lime juice.