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Key West Shrimp

Have You Tried Key West Pink Shrimp?

It’s no joke that some of the best seafood you’ll ever have will be in Key West. Whether trying Florida lobster for the first time, our delectable conch fritters, or Key West pink shrimp, you’re in for a real treat!

Let’s discuss the specifics of what exactly a Key West pink shrimp is and what’s so special about them. And ultimately let us prove, once and for all, that Key West Pink Shrimp are the best Pink Shrimp in the world!

Key West Pink Shrimp

Types of Shrimp in Key West

Everyone knows that shrimp are gross little water bug things, err…I mean delicious crustaceans. But you might not realize that there are many species of shrimp, and the shrimp that come from different areas vary in size, color, and taste. 

The two most common types of shrimp along the US East Coast are the pink and brown shrimp. Pink shrimp are pink, and the brown shrimp are, in fact, brown. If you see the two side by side in your fishmonger’s freezer, it’s very obvious. Once they’re cooked, however, they all kind of look the same.

There are also white shrimp and a few less common varieties like the New England Atlantic Northern Shrimp and the deep-water Royal Red shrimp that are so popular along the Gulf Coast.

According to NOAA Fisheries, pink and brown shrimp are sustainable seafood choices with healthy populations and a low risk of being overfished. It probably helps that female shrimp lay up to a million eggs at a time and have relatively short lives of two years or less.

Key West Shrimp

What Are Key West Pink Shrimp?

Key West Pink Shrimp are locally caught Pink Shrimp. Of course, ours are better than anyone else’s because ours hail from Key West, home of everything and everyone awesome. 

NOAA says 12.3 million pounds of pink shrimp were harvested in the United States in 2021. But what’s impressive is that 75 percent came from southwest Florida and the areas around Key West.

Florida pink shrimp spawn several times per year thanks to the warm waters. Our shallow water estuaries, like the backcountry and Florida Bay, provide the perfect habitat for baby shrimp to grow. Once larger, they head out to the clean waters around the reefs and coral sand flats offshore of the Florida Keys. There, they feast on their favorite things, like nasty little algae and plankton monsters.

Key West Shrimp

Key West Shrimp vs Gulf Shrimp

Marine biologists will quickly point out that there’s no difference between Key West Pink Shrimp and Pink Shrimp from other parts of the country. They are all Farfantepaeus duorarum, they say (and thank goodness they say that because I can’t!) Pink Shrimp are found from Chesapeake Bay down to the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico.

But those marine biologists, like George Costanza saving the whale from Kramer’s errant golf ball, are missing the point (unlike Kramer’s swing—an amazing hole-in-one.) Key West pink shrimp are better, and I will prove why. 

Ultimately, it’s all about how they taste, and Key West pink shrimp are the best pink shrimp in the world. 

Their diet of yummy plankton and algae makes them super shrimp! They don’t eat that mucky, disgusting city runoff from the Gulf Coast. No, they get fresh food delivered from the Caribbean Sea by way of the Gulf Stream current. And that makes them healthier—dare I say happier—shrimp. 

Everyone raves about grass-fed beef, free-range eggs; happy cows and chickens. Let me introduce you to the original Gulf Stream-fed, clean-water roaming, happy Key West pink shrimp. You can thank the island’s geography, our amazing shrimpers, our clean waters, or thank me. Whatever reason you choose and whoever you thank, Key West Pink Shrimp are the best pink shrimp

Yummy Recipes With Fresh Key West Pink Shrimp

Catching your own Key West Pinks isn’t really in the cards for most visitors. It takes equipment, and the shrimp are best caught during specific tides at certain times of the year. They’re also nocturnal, so night fishing on a boat during the coldest nights of the year isn’t for everyone. 

But luckily, you can find these little Pinkies pretty much everywhere. They’re on all the restaurant menus, and you can pick them up in Publix or at the local fishmonger’s. Just make sure they are Pink Shrimp caught here, not the cheap imported ones that spent hours on airplanes getting COVID and the flu. 

If you’re cooking up your own to make the ultimate Key West Pink Shrimp feast, it’s hard to go wrong with any of your favorite shrimp recipes. However, lean towards keeping things simple and not overdoing the spices or sauces. It doesn’t make much sense to get fresh, wild caught shrimp and then chop them up in a heavily dressed salad, for example. 

Key West pinks have a sweet and mild flavor. A great way to go is with steamed or grilled shrimp, served peel-and-eat style. Maybe even a classic low-country boil with lots of great veggies and finger foods. Couple it with a Key Lime dipping sauce, and you’ve got a happy crowd!

Best Seafood Restaurants Near Key West To Try Pink Shrimp

If you want to try the delicious recipes our local chefs come up with, there are some great spots around town to try them out. 

 You can’t go wrong at the Half Shell Raw Bar if you want to keep it simple. Their Key West peel-and-eat shrimp is a bargain, but you might also want to try their broiled garlic oysters, stone crab claws, or steamed clams.

Parting Shrimpy Thoughts from Key West

Of course, that pink color is good for other things. Not only do Key West pink shrimp celebrate breast cancer awareness month every month, but they also live in a Barbie-perfect world. But mostly, they’re just delicious. 

So, come on down to Key West and try our delicious wild caught shrimp. And since you can’t spend 24/7 eating shrimp, give me a call, and I’ll take you out on the Casual Monday for a little private sandbar charter or snorkeling tour.

One last thing to remember: Come to town for the shrimp, but don’t leave like one. Use that sunblock, everybody!

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