Barbecue Shrimp, New Orleans Style

Curious name, as it's cooked on a stove, not outside over charcoal. But definitely one of NOLA's signature dishes, consisting of tender, sweet shrimp cooked in a richly reduced buttery sauce. I looked at several recipes, all confirming they were mostly variants of the same thing. However I made several tweaks.

First, clam juice was out. Since I was cooking shrimp that I'd peel, shrimp stock was in. I peeled the 1# of jumbo shrimp I bought and boiled the shells and legs with a couple of cups of water. After thirty minutes, I strained out the shells and then further boiled the two cups of shrimp stock down to one flavorful cup.

Next, garlic powder? Onion powder? Not even sure I know what these are. To beef up the heat and flavor I finely chopped a big garlic clove and added it to my shrimp marinade. I had a couple of green onions so I sliced them up and added them too.

Finally: Cajun seasoning is basically salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika and dried herbs, so I assembled my own to marinate the shrimp in-- adding freshly chopped garlic and lots of freshly ground pepper. I used smoked, not hot, paprika. Also a little tumeric, as I like the color and it's allegedly good for your aching joints.

That is more or less it. The recipe below provided the template. I marinated the shrimp for about 5 hours and there was plenty of flavor. I also halved the recipe, and there are leftovers. Instead of the traditional rice, I served it with polenta. I'd seen Jacques Pepin preparing it the night before on TV and I'm so bloody suggestible...

This was delicious: mildly spicy, slightly acidic, but packed with fresh shellfish flavor, rich, and umami-ish.

    • 2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
    • 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
    • 2 tablespoons canola oil
    • 6 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
    • One 12-ounce light-bodied beer
    • Juice of 1 lemon
    • One 8-ounce bottle clam juice
    • 1/4 cup hot sauce, preferably Tabasco
    • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
    • 2 tablespoons apple-cider vinegar
    • 2 dried bay leaves
    • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
    • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold butter, cut into cubes
    • 1 crusty French baguette


  • Toss the shrimp with the Cajun seasoning in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  • Heat the canola oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Once it's hot, toss in the garlic, and sauté until golden, about 3 or 4 minutes. Add the shrimp to the pan, and cook until they turn bright pink, about 1 minute more. Remove the shrimp from the pan with a slotted spoon, and set aside on a plate. Pour in the beer, lemon juice, clam juice, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, apple-cider vinegar, bay leaves, and peppercorns; bring to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes, until the liquid is slightly thickened.
  • Whisk the cubes of butter into the sauce, and once it's melted, add the shrimp to finish cooking, about 2 minutes more. Serve the shrimp and sauce in bowls with loads of crusty bread for dipping, or over rice or be like Darly and use polenta.