How to Cook Conch on the Grill
Conch, commonly known as lambi, is a type of meat popular in the Bahamas and other Caribbean countries like Jamaica. There are various ways to cook conch meat. Some people prefer eating it as a salad or making curries from it. Grilling conch doesn’t take much of your time, as it is easy to prepare. You don’t have to take a trip to fancy hotels to enjoy the taste of grilled conch when you can make it yourself. Here’s how to prepare and cook conch from scratch;
Things you will need
- Heavy-duty aluminum foil
- Meat mallet
Prepare conch for grilling
Prepare a conch takes a lot of time while cooking takes much less time. Most times, you will find people doing all that for you, but you can do it alone. Remove the snail from its shell if you collected it by yourself, and it's still fresh. Conch shells are not edible and, therefore, won’t be of use when grilling. A fresh conch should have no grey color or smell fishy.
Taking it out from the opening and when it seems stuck, drill small holes in the upper part of the shell. They have another inner shell on their bodies called the operculum, which is removable by hands. The dark vein at the sides of the conch is the intestine, and this too needs to be removed. You can cut it out with a knife.
Soak the meat on salty water for some time, rinsing it with less salty water. Soaking it in water will take several hours, and it is better to buy a conch that is already pre-made and ready for cooking.
The final rinse should be clean water with no salt in it. Lime water or lemon juice can also be an option to clean the conch. It adds acidity and flavor to it. Another method would be to soak it in a mixture of papaya leaves and fresh orange juice. Leave it overnight before cooking.
Use a meat mallet to tenderize the conch to the desired thickness before placing it on the grill. You can also pound it with a rolling pin if you don’t own a meat mallet. If you skip the tenderizing step, you will end up with chewy conch, and no one prefers that.
Alternatively, boil it a little to make it harder but takes some time about an hour. Cut into desirable pieces before placing it on the grill. Season the slices with salt and pepper or any other ingredient you desire. The same way you would to any other meat.
1. Preheat the grill
Preheat the grill to high heat before placing the conch meat on the grates. Let the grill heat for about 15 minutes. Preheating makes the food you are cooking not to stick on racks. Nothing is annoying, like taking off stuck meat from grids. Lubricate it with a thin coat of cooking oil when it’s hot to avoid sticking when flipping over the conch.
2. Tenderize the conch meat
Tenderize the conch meat with a meat mullet to the thickness of your choice. Tenderizing it makes it less rubbery when preparing it. Use any ingredients of your choice to season the conch meat such as salt, pepper among others. Let it sit for some time to marinade. It adds flavor to the conch and makes it tastier.
3. Start Cooking
Oil the grates and lay the conch on the hot grill to start cooking. Use a pair of tongs or spatula to flip them over until all sides are well prepared. It takes a minute to get one side cooked before turning the other part. The idea is to get the grill marks on the conch, and they should be flipped over once. Flipping it over one time will ensure the conch is not overcooked and does not end up tough. When both sides are well cooked, place them on a plate, and allow to them to cool.
4. Use aluminum foil
Cut the desired amount of aluminum foil and lay the conch inside. It helps distribute an even amount of food to the food and leaves a clean grate after cooking. Place them at the center of every foil paper and wrap it nicely. Aluminum foil locks in the flavors inside and moisture and keeps them from escaping to the air. For tastier conch, add vegetables of your choice to the conch. Chop and mix them in a bowl and then add small amounts inside the foil.
Place each piece of conch with vegetables at the center of the cut aluminum foil. Sprinkle lime juice and one tablespoon of butter to the mixture and warp everything together. It ensures no water leaks out of the aluminum foil. Repeat the same process with all the remaining conch and vegetables.
5. Place the conch on hot grill
Arrange the wrapped aluminum foils with conch inside and place them on a hot grill until well cooked. You know they are ready to serve when they become tender. A metal skewer helps determine whether the conch is set to be removed from the grill, or it still needs a little cooking. Insert it through the wrapped foils, and if it becomes hot, the conch is ready to remove and serve.
6. Remove the foil & serve the dish
When you are satisfied with the cooked conch, remove the foil and rest for a few minutes. Open the packages, remove the meat with all the toppings, and discard the foils. Serve your conch with your favorite sauce. It can be eaten with lots of other foods, and you can’t run out of options.
You don't need to live in the Bahamas or the Caribbean or go on fancy restaurants to enjoy the taste of grilled conch. All you need is a grill, conch, and a recipe to keep you going. It can be eaten raw or cooked, and grilling is the quickest way to do it. You do not need to go on vacation to enjoy the taste of BBQ conch when you have a grill right at the comfort of your home.