By: Duane Inglin
The Internet is littered with how to cure coon shrimp recipes. Some focus on recipes that are ready overnight, others take a few days, but the one I’ve been preaching for many years takes longer. I look for quality rather than a quick fix and something that will last for years when refrigerated. Recently, I tweaked it slightly and believe it’s better than ever.
If you are willing to put in a little time I guarantee you’ll be pleased with how they fish and how long they store. And, the trout, salmon and steelhead love them.
To begin you need quality coon shrimp. Good shrimp to cure have been blanched boiled and frozen. Allow them to thaw and sort through them. I like to separate the medium to large and use them for steelhead. The smaller ones are ideal for sockeye and trout. This also allows you to pick out the soft shrimp or ones with crushed heads. You can’t cure soft shrimp and expect them to perform.
Once sorted mix ingredients.
1 bottle of Pautzke Red Nectar
¼ cup non-iodized sea salt
¼ cup rock salt
¼ cup Red BorX O Fire
¼ cup refined white sugar
¼ cup raw washed sugar
1 or 2 heaping tablespoons Fire Power (krill powder)
With all the ingredients in a quart jar put the lid on and shake (to mix) the contents. Next add additional liquid ingredients.
1 tablespoon Red Fire Dye
1 tablespoon Organic Blue AGAVE for extra sweetness. You can choose to leave this out, but I believe it makes a difference.
Finally, add 10-15 drops of pure anise oil. Once again put the lid on and shake to mix the contents. Now it’s time to add the coon shrimp.
Depending on the size of shrimp, you can get 60-80 in a quart.
Top off the remaining space with an additional bottle of Nectar. It should take less than half a bottle. You can also use Red Fire Brine or distilled water. With all the ingredients and coon shrimp in the jar gently tumble it end over end.
For the first couple of weeks store the jar on its side. The salts and sugars are absorbed into the shrimp faster than if they are piled up on the bottom. A couple times a day gently tumble the jar, end over end to continue to mix the ingredients and shrimp. This ensures all shrimp are cured evenly.
Your coon shrimp will be ready to fish within a week. However, two weeks of cure time is much better. Ideally, let them sit in the bait fridge for a couple months before fishing. The longer they sit in the brine the more color they take on and tougher the shrimp get. The unique result of this curing process is the longevity and quality of coon shrimp it produces. Made with this recipe I have literally fished coon shrimp with confidence and success that are three years old.
Give this process a try and you’ll never cure coon shrimp any other way again.
Editor’s Note: Duane Inglin (Big D) is a Northwest based radio personality. He can be heard on Seattle’s sports radio KJR 950 & seen on Comcast SportsNet NW TV Saturday mornings from 6-8am.