shrimp

If you’ve ever wondered what the numbers on a package of or a sign for shrimp meant, read on. This buyers guide to shrimp will help take away the confusion about shrimp sizes.

Sizing Numbers and the “U” Designation

Shrimp are sold by their count per pound. 16/20 means that there are 16 to 20 shrimp in a pound. The “U” in count number designates how many shrimp it would take to make up a pound; the “U” stands for ‘under’. Therefore, U12 (colossal size shrimp) means it takes 12 shrimp or less of that size to make up a pound – or 12 shrimp or under in a pound. Some processors use a different numbering system for their shrimp, but most use a standard sizing chart (for example: Zirlotts counts 16/20 as Extra Large while the Cajun Grocer calls them Jumbo). 

Market Shrimp Sizing Guide

Market Name

Shrimp Count Per Pound

Extra Colossal U10
Colossal U12
Colossal U15
Extra Jumbo 16/20
Jumbo 21/25
Extra Large 26/30
Large 31/35
Medium Large 36/40
Medium 41/50
Small 51/60
Extra Small 61/70
Tiny Over 70

 

Shrimp Processing Terminology

  • Head On: Shrimp has shells, head, and tails still on.
  • Headless / Shell On: Processed to remove the head only.
  • Tail On: Deveined shrimp with the tails still on.
  • Tail Off: Deveined shrimp with the tails removed.
  • Tail On CPD: Shrimp that is cooked, peeled, deveined, with the tail segment left on.
  • P&D: Shrimp peeled and deveined.
  • PUD: Shrimp that is peeled, but NOT deveined (undeveined).
  • Butterfied: Shrimp peeled and deveined, and deeply split along the back but not deeply enough to cut into to two separate pieces. This makes the shrimp flatter and quicker to cook if they are bigger shrimp, and makes them look larger if they are smaller ones. The last part of the shell is often left on, and whole, making it easy to prep in the kitchen.
  • IQF: Individually quick frozen.
John’s motto is ‘release it unharmed or do it justice on the plate.’ Executive Chef, photographer, and surfer, John photographs ocean marine life when he’s out fishing, and creates masterpieces in the kitchen with what he keeps on deck. His photo works have been used in OEHHA Fish Advisories, National Geographic presentations, and nonprofit marine life groups. When he’s not fishing, he’s making great BBQ. Visit him at johnsheltondesigns.com, and send him a message using the contact form using the link above.