What Is The Largest Size Shrimp You Can Buy?

While not everyone loves seafood delicacies like caviar or sea urchin, shrimp seems to have more mass appeal. Many people who don't generally like seafood, might make an exception for a crunchy, fried popcorn shrimp. After all, shrimp is the most popular seafood in America, with the average person consuming almost one pound of it every year, according to Ocean Box. If you don't love a fishy taste, you may still like dishes like classic shrimp fried rice, old-fashioned shrimp and grits, or panko fried shrimp, which mask the shrimpy taste to an extent. But true seafood lovers can chow down on shrimp in coconut-lime shrimp ceviche, classic shrimp cocktail, and more.

Because there are so many varieties of shrimp recipes out there, it's important to note that they don't all use the same type of shrimp. In fact, there are a whopping 2,000 species of shrimp, although pink, white, brown, brown rock, and royal red shrimp are the ones we eat the most, according to Wild American Shrimp. Some types of shrimp, like brown rock, work well in almost any shrimp recipe, while others, like brown shrimp, are best suited to strongly flavored dishes. But if all you care about is finding the biggest shrimp money can buy, you'll want to look for this variety in particular.

Super colossal shrimp are the biggest you can buy

Aptly named super colossal shrimp, this variety is the largest size you can buy, and can require as long as 15 minutes to cook, according to Fulton Fish Market. Most people don't buy the super colossal type because their size makes them too big for many recipes like shrimp salad or popcorn shrimp. According to Crowd Cow, they're typically used by restaurants for dishes centered around shrimp, like shrimp scampi or shrimp cocktail, and they are beloved for a buttery, crispy taste.

Since standardized sizing for shrimp doesn't exist, they're usually measured by how many make up a pound. For example, a pound of mini shrimp can pack in as many as 71 shrimp, according to Lobster Anywhere, while a pound of super colossal shrimp will only hold fewer than 12. And while super colossal shrimp can be delicious, Sun Shrimp explains that the bigger a shrimp is, the older it is, which means a chewier texture and less sweetness.

Phoenix restaurant Steak 44 may disagree, as they serve a super colossal shrimp cocktail, which the Phoenix New Times called "plump and sweet beyond expectation" when placing it on their list of the best Phoenix dishes of 2015. At least in this dish's case, it sounds like bigger really is better.