Surf ‘n turf has been around for quite a long time. Lobster and a great steak to celebrate a special occasion but the price of said combination is a bit steeper nowadays given the rise in beef pricing. Here’s a Grillin’ Fool’s twist on an affordable, tasty substitute in appetizer form, Surf ‘n Swine.
I’ll take the simple ingredients shown: sausage, shrimp, sweet chili sauce, and a dry rub and transform them into an interesting combination of flavors and textures.
Now for the sausage, you can never have too much sausage, but a very special sausage from Circle B Ranch located in Seymour, Missouri in Ozark country:
Circle B Ranch is owned and operated by Marina and John Backes who raise, naturally and humanely, 100% Heritage pork including Berkshire and Red Wattle hogs. They also produce many other products including Marina’s Tomato Sauce, Cranberry Chutney, Big John’s Homemade Barbeque Sauce, Meatballs, and Nitrite Free Bacon to name a few. Learn more about these good folks, their products, and ranch at circlebranchpork.com.
Check out the label from the kielbasa links. I’m using the fully cooked product since I’m pairing it with shrimp which have a short cooking/grilling time:
Next we have 10 fresh Gulf shrimp waiting for me to peel and devein them:
I ran out of my usual stash of shrimp from Skinner’s Seafood on Dauphin Island, Alabama so I headed over to Bob’s Seafood in St. Louis where the staff takes real good care of the Grillin’ Fools whenever we visit. Why 10 shrimp? Reason will be revealed a bit later in the post.
The only other ingredients in this recipe, sweet chili sauce and a spicy dry rub (Code 3 Spices Backdraft Rub):
I chose the spicy rub for two reasons. The Kielbasa sausage is mild, had I chosen chorizo or any spicy sausage I would’ve gone with a milder rub and the heat from the rub will counter the sweetness of the chili sauce. The sweet chili sauce will be served as a dipping sauce for the surfin’ pork.
Once the shrimp are peeled and deveined make sure they are dried thoroughly then placed on a baking sheet or cutting board to receive the dry rub:
Thoroughly coat one side then flip over and dust the other:
Cut a link of the Circle B Ranch kielbasa into ½ to ¾ inch slices or match the thickness of the shrimp:
I’ve noticed that my sausage, even when sliced, casts a long shadow. It worked out that one link of sausage yielded 10 slices to perfectly match the 10 shrimp. Take another peek at the sliced kielbasa. Notice how lean the meat is-no shrinking sausage here!
Place the sausage slices next to the shrimp then cover both sides with the rub:
Insert a 4 inch skewer through the tail of the shrimp, through the sausage, then through the other end of the shrimp:
Notice how the thickness of the sausage matches the thickness of the shrimp?
The next layer of flavor is applewood smoke from the grill/smoker. For a short cook such as shrimp I would suggest a handful of wood chips rather than chunks:
Time to fire up the cardinal red Grill Dome so I can taste this combo:
The Grill Dome is set up with half-moon deflector so the shrimp and kielbasa can be smoked indirectly then seared later. I’ve cooked this recipe 4 times and the best method seems to be approximately 10 minutes indirect smoking at 300 degrees followed by a brief sear on both sides:
Once the shrimp is cooked that’s it—the sausage was already cooked remember? The sear simply adds a bit of caramelization(is that a word?) and char that is oh so flavorful!
The money shot! What great smoky flavor combined with the sweet and the heat from the sauce and rub! There were no leftovers!
And a bonus plated shot:
The great thing about this appetizer is that it can be prepared the day before so all I have to do is grill it for the party, event, or gathering. The Code 3 Spices rub does magical things overnight to the shrimp and kielbasa sausage—everything sort of melds, melts, and mellows resulting in a great trip to flavortown! Our recent effort was a hit at the Busch Mansion on Grant’s Farm in St. Louis. What a toast to a great evening with Billy Busch and company:
If you have any questions about this surf n swine recipe or would like to leave a comment, do so below or shoot me an email.
- 10 shrimp
- 2 kielbasa links
- BBQ rub
- Thai chili sauce
- Devein, remove the tail and wash the shrimp
- Slice the kielbasa into 10 disks the same thickness as the shrimp
- Coat the shrimp and sausage with the rub
- Wrap each shrimp around a sausage disk and skewer with the toothpick
- Smoke on the grill at 300 for 10-15 minutes, depending on the heat of the grill
- Sear for about a minute on each side to get some nice grill marks
- Serve with the Thai chili sauce