All hail Alabama’s Royal Reds, the huge crimson shrimp that tastes just like lobster and scallops – it really is the crown jewel of Gulf shrimp!
Fishermen must venture far and deep to find this prize shrimp known as Royal Reds. Their range stretches from Massachusetts all the way to French Guiana, but sweet spots run along the Gulf Coast from the Florida Panhandle to the Mississippi coast.
Royal Red season lasts from late summer to late autumn, but peaks in September. However, because the shrimp are found up to 60 miles offshore, fisherman (only the select few that are licensed to harvest Royal Reds) often flash-freeze their catches immediately, which captures the fresh-off-the-boat flavour and texture in its peak form, and means they’re more readily available all year round.
You can use Reds in any shrimp recipe, but the best way is to showcase them in their naturally briny flavour and rich, buttery meat that’s comparable to lobster and scallops. Connoisseurs say that the best way to enjoy these robust shrimp is steamed or grilled in their shells, accompanied by nothing more than melted butter (Or even better…..garlic butter), with a big stack of napkins and a side portion of icy cold beverages.
Don’t be shy about asking for Royal Reds in Gulf Coast restaurants that might serve them in season— they don’t necessarily always say so on the menu.
There’s very few people beyond coastal Alabama that had heard of Royal Reds just 20 years ago, but today savvy tourists will time their annual Flora-Bama stops and Gulf Shores holidays to coincide with peak harvest….and we recommend you do too! Word of these deep water delicacies continues to spread among seafood devotees who just can’t get enough of the South’s outstanding fresh, local, world-class shellfish—are you hungry now?