Shrimp: To devein or not?

My neighbor Bill and I got into a discussion recently about deveining shrimp. He will not eat shrimp with the vein intact. As for me, I have never bothered.


The black vein on the back side of the shrimp is called the “Sand Vein.” It is really the intestines of the shrimp. Sometimes one will look really black and full, and others will look almost translucent with black spots. (I guess that has something to do with shrimp’s last meal! Ugh!) Anyway, it seems that ingesting the Sand Vein is not a problem for our digestive tracks once the shrimp has been cooked. The issue is esthetics. The larger the shrimp, the bigger the vein. Now that I know that the vein will actually gross people out, I think that I will devein any shrimp larger than or equal to the 24 count. (24 count shrimp means that there are 24 shrimp to a pound. For 10 count shrimp, there would be 10 to a pound.) I hardly ever use shrimp smaller than 24 count, and I draw the line at cleaning those little guys.

There is a teeny tiny vein on the underside of the shrimp that all practical reasoning says to leave alone!!

Bill is making a couple of shrimp recipes this weekend, so he demonstrated his “deveining” skill for me. He uses a knife called “Quickso. (Be careful. I have linked to a site that sells it for $3.99. In my research, I found one place selling the exact knife for $11.99.)


He said the blade is important. Quickso has a blade that is ‘curvey.’ Others that have a straight blade he claims are harder to use.


Here he goes…From two views.


Bill is pretty adept at cleaning these little guys. I might have to get one of those knives!

Watch this video from Turner South showing the deveining process.

If you plan to devein tons of shrimp, this little

gadget I found may be of use. What will they think of next?

If you want some instructions you can print out, here is a link from


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