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New Orleans-Inspired BBQ Shrimp

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This sautéed barbecue shrimp in a Worcestershire-spiked butter sauce is one of those dishes you can throw together at a moment’s notice.

New Orleans BBQ shrimp has actually very little to do with barbecue. The Louisiana dish refers to sautéed shrimp in a garlicky, Worcestershire-spiked butter sauce. Typically made with copious amounts of butter, the shrimp are cooked and served with the shell on and then peeled at the table. It’s a rich and delicious dish but not very practical for a weeknight family dinner. This is my super-simple, easy-to-eat version. Butter is still the main ingredient in the sauce but I’ve scaled the amount way back, and the shrimp are peeled before cooking. If you keep shrimp in your freezer, it’s one of those dishes you can throw together at a moment’s notice. Bonus: kids love it!

What you’ll need to make New Orleans-Inspired BBQ shrimp

bbq shrimp ingredientsBefore we get started, a few words on buying shrimp. While fresh seafood is obviously superior to frozen, I always buy frozen shrimp. Fact is, unless you live on the coast, it’s near impossible to find truly fresh shrimp. The “fresh” shrimp you see in the seafood case at the supermarket is typically thawed frozen shrimp, and you never know how long it’s been sitting out.

Almost all shrimp are cleaned and flash frozen shortly after being caught, so for the freshest shrimp, you’re better off buying frozen and defrosting it yourself.  For this recipe, I buy extra-large frozen shrimp labeled “shell split and deveined.” Come dinnertime, all I have to do is run the shrimp under warm water to quickly defrost and then peel.

Step-by-step instructions

To begin, add the paprika, ancho chili powder, cumin, salt, and sugar to a bowl. Note that ancho chili powder is not the same as regular chili powder. Chili powder is a blend of spices, while ancho chili powder is a pure chili powder made from ground ancho peppers with deep rich flavor and mild to medium heat.

spices

Mix to blend.

mixed spices

Toss the shrimp with the spices until evenly coated.

tossing shrimp with spices

Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet.

melting butter in skillet

Add the minced garlic and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, for about a minute. Do not brown.

sautéing garlic

Add the shrimp.

adding shrimp to skillet

Continue cooking until almost done but still opaque in spots. Keep the heat at medium so the shrimp cook gently; if shrimp are cooked over high heat, they can seize up and become tough. Add the Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and a few tablespoons of water.

partially cooked shrimp

Continue cooking for a few minutes more until the shrimp are cooked, then scatter the thinly sliced scallions over top.

cooked bbq shrimp with scallions

Serve with buttered rice or toasted baguette slices.

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New Orleans-Inspired BBQ Shrimp

This sautéed barbecue shrimp in a Worcestershire-spiked butter sauce is one of those dishes you can throw together at a moment’s notice.

Servings: 4 - 6
Total Time: 20 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 2 pounds extra large or jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined, thawed if frozen
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, from 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 scallions, dark green parts, thinly sliced

Instructions

  1. Mix the paprika, ancho chili powder, cumin, sugar and salt together in a large bowl. Add the shrimp to the spices and toss to coat evenly. Set aside.
  2. Melt the butter over medium heat in a 12-inch skillet. Add the garlic and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, for one minute. Do not brown. Add the shrimp and continue cooking over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the shrimp are almost cooked but still opaque in spots, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and water and cook until shrimp are done, 1 to 2 minutes more. Scatter the scallions over top and serve.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (6 servings)
  • Calories: 209
  • Fat: 11 g
  • Saturated fat: 7 g
  • Carbohydrates: 5 g
  • Sugar: 2 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 21 g
  • Sodium: 928 mg
  • Cholesterol: 216 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Comments

  • Absolutely fantastic, follow the recipe and you can’t go wrong. I did this as an appetizer for a high level dinner, everyone wanted more. Don’t forget the french bread. I like to tear into bite size chunks to soak up the leftover sauce. Some recipes tell you to leave shells on but this works fantastic and can be eaten cleanly with toothpicks. Don’t bypass the Ancho Chili Pepper, it’s a key ingredient and get the biggest wild caught shrimp possible. This will compare to any you find in New Orleans.

    • — Doug on May 28, 2022
    • Reply
  • This is the best recipe out there, my opinion. I make a bit more sauce, and add some smoke flavor, because I serve it over cheesy grits. So thanks for posting this. It is similar to the hickory butter shrimp at the Maple Tree Inn, one of my favorite Chicago south side restaurants.

    • — Leslie on March 12, 2022
    • Reply
    • I used smoked paprika. I serve with cheesy grits/polenta too I really love Bob’s Red Mill grits/polenta. I work for years in a mill and we were famous for our grits but they’re not as good as Bob’s!

      • — Ginger Molldrem on September 6, 2022
      • Reply
  • This recipe was great! I made the sauce a day ahead of time so the flavors had time to meld. Made this for Christmas Eve as part of a “7 Fishes” dinner. Guests raved. I’ll definitely make it again.

    • — Juli Clifford on December 26, 2021
    • Reply
  • I’ve always made bbq shrimp with shells on, but I have a pound of peeled & deveined jumbo shrimp in the freezer that I don’t know what else to do with. I’ll try your method. My version is more basic — butter, a little olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne, S&P, fresh rosemary and fresh thyme. Serve with French bread to sop up all the juice.

    • — Cindy Macolini on September 23, 2021
    • Reply
  • This turned out fantastic! Definitely going to keep in rotation. Delicious!!!

    • — Jason McCoy on June 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • I made this last night for 2. So I halved the recipe. It was absolutely one of the best and fastest shrimp dishes I’ve ever made! I made a cold, lemony orzo filled with fresh veggies and dill. That saucy goodness ran underneath the orzo and it was lip smackin’ good! Served it with a chenin blanc wine. Highly recommend just as written. Thank you!

    • — Cathy Jean on May 12, 2021
    • Reply
    • I was drooling reading your review. Thanks

      • — Deborah Ross on August 9, 2021
      • Reply
  • Made recipe as written and it was awesome! Will definitely make again often.

    • — E on March 17, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,

    OMG – this is so simple, so good!!!!
    I made this last night for dinner, huge hit!!! I was out of rice, so I served the shrimp over pasta, w/ a lemon wedge, and finely chopped flat leaf parsley on top. The “sauce” created through the cooking process was enough to lightly toss the pasta in- this definitely is a new favorite at home.
    Thank you!!!

    • — Lisa on March 5, 2021
    • Reply
  • I will be making this for Fat Tuesday!! Every recipe I’ve tried from your website has been amazing – I’m sure this will be the same. Thank you!

    • — An on January 28, 2021
    • Reply

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