New Orleans-Style BBQ Shrimp
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I’m so excited to share this recipe for New Orleans-Style BBQ Shrimp. It may not be the first thing you think of when you think of barbecue, but it’s so good that it might be your new go-to. Instead of being grilled and tossed in a sweet, smoky sauce, New Orleans-style BBQ shrimp are sautéed in a rich, buttery sauce flavored with black pepper and Worcestershire sauce. It’s such an easy recipe to master, and I’m sure that once you try it, you’ll be enjoying it for years to come!
I’ve been to New Orleans a handful of times now, but I’m always up for a trip there! It’s by far my favorite city to visit, and I have to admit that the biggest reason is the amazing food and drink culture there. I’ve had more unbelievable seafood, fried chicken, po-boys, desserts, cocktails, and beignets than I can count! Especially cocktails…
But before this turns into a travel blog, let me just get on with telling you about this New Orleans-Style BBQ Shrimp. Suffice it to say that this is one of many amazing meals I’ve had in NOLA, and I can’t wait to get back there to have more!
As I mentioned, the recipe for New Orleans-Style BBQ Shrimp involves a buttery, savory sauce. The idea for this dish, according to legend, originated in Chicago, believe it or not! In 1953, a regular of the historic New Orleans restaurant, Pascal’s Manale, came to New Orleans from a business trip to Chicago. Upon his return, he raved about a shrimp dish he’d had in Chicago involving butter and black pepper. The head chef of Pascal’s Manale, Jake Radosta, attempted to recreate it based on the description, and in the end it wasn’t quite the same — it was better!
These days, Pascal’s Manale serves barbecue shrimp as a sandwich at lunch, or with bibs at dinner — the buttery sauce can be messy, and you need to use your hands to peel the shrimp!
The recipe, which has spread throughout the restaurants of New Orleans, generally contains large head-on shrimp, butter, Worcestershire sauce, spices, black pepper, and white wine. It’s often served with crusty French bread to soak up the delicious sauce, but in New Orleans you can also find this barbecue shrimp as part of a po-boy sandwich, or served with grits or rice.
There are, as with any historic dish, so many variations and debates as to what “traditional” New Orleans-style barbecue shrimp is like, and how it’s made. Opinions vary about how it should be cooked (stovetop or oven), what type of shrimp should be used (head-on or headless), and what spices and flavors should be included in the sauce. What all these variations have in common, though, is that they are delicious, and deeply rooted in the culinary traditions and culture of New Orleans. I’m so excited to share my own variation on this time-honored recipe with you today! I hope you enjoy it, and that it because a tradition with your family as well!
This recipe is SO easy. It comes together with just a few ingredients, and can cook in just 5-10 minutes. With just a skillet and a spatula or wooden spoon you can make this delicious shrimp dish! Here’s what you’ll need:
- shrimp – you’ll need a pound of raw shrimp, with the shells and tails on — I use the “ez-peel” variety. If you can find some with the heads on, even better!
- olive oil – to sauté your garlic!
- Worcestershire sauce – The biggest flavor boost for the sauce. It gives this shrimp its distinctive flavor.
- fresh lemon juice – brightens up the sauce a bit and adds more flavor.
- beer – this is my variation on the white wine that is traditionally included in the sauce. It adds complexity to the flavors in the sauce.
- black pepper – crucial! It should be freshly cracked for the most flavor. I use Tellicherry peppercorns.
- Creole seasoning – I use Tony Chachere’s Creole seasoning, but you can use any Creole or Cajun seasoning blend you like, or make your own!
- cold butter – makes this sauce rich and buttery. I use salted butter because I find that it adds just enough salt to make the sauce flavorful, but you can definitely use unsalted butter and if necessary, adjust the salt in the recipe to your liking.
- Tabasco sauce – for serving, I typically use Crystal hot sauce, but Tabasco is more traditional.
- Optional French bread and lemon wedges to serve! The bread is perfect to sop up all that extra buttery sauce. And I have to have lemon wedges whenever I have seafood!
Once you have those ingredients ready, you’re ready to get started on this quick recipe!
Step by Step
This recipe takes about ten minutes from start to finish. I would recommend getting it started once you’re fully ready to eat! I made this recipe on my Instagram Live recently, and even with all my chit chatting, the whole video was over in 15 minutes!
- In a large sauté pan or cast-iron skillet, sauté your garlic in a little olive oil until it gets fragrant.
- Add in your Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, beer, black pepper, and Creole seasoning.
- Let the sauce cook down until it reduces by about half.
- Add in your shrimp and cook about a minute per side, stirring constantly.
- Stir in butter in small batches and let it melt. Once shrimp are cooked (don’t overcook them– they should be ready once they’re pink), remove the skillet from the heat and let the flavors meld together for a few minutes.
- Enjoy! Serve with French bread, rice, cauliflower rice, or cheese grits.
If you like this recipe, first of all you should probably go to New Orleans because you’ll love the food there! But you also might like my Spicy Creamy Shrimp Pasta Salad for another easy shrimp dish! You can also try my Black Olive & Parmesan Focaccia or my Cast-Iron Skillet Blueberry Cobbler for some more great cast-iron skillet recipes!
Equipment you may need
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves fresh garlic – minced
- ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- ⅓ cup beer – I used a lager
- 2 teaspoons fresh cracked black pepper
- 2 teaspoons Creole seasoning – I used Tony Chachere's
- 1 pound jumbo, extra jumbo, or colossal raw shrimp – peel on, thawed if frozen
- 1 cups salted butter – cold, cubed (2 sticks)
- Tabasco sauce – optional
- French bread and Lemon wedges – for serving, optional
- In a large skillet or saute pan, heat olive oil on medium-high heat. Toss in garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant.
- Add Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, beer, cracked pepper, and Creole seasoning, and stir. Cook while stirring until sauce slightly thickens.
- Add shrimp and toss to coat with the sauce. Continue to stir and flip the shrimp in the sauce for 1 minute on each side.
- Turn heat down to low. Continue to stir and add cubed butter, a couple of tablespoons at a time, allowing to melt after each addition.
- Once shrimp is just finished cooking, remove from heat, cover, and let sit in sauce for up to 5 minutes.
- Serve hot with Tabasco sauce, lemon wedges, and French bread.
- Peel the shrimp and serve it with the sauce on French bread as a sandwich.
- Serve on top of savory cheese grits and garnish with sliced green onions.
- Serve with rice, or cauliflower rice for a low-carb option.
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