Louisiana Barbecued Shrimp


This recipe popped up from the Food 52 website, and once again, it was the photo that caught my attention. This is Louisiana barbecued shrimp, by Julia Gartland, slightly adapted from the book “Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African American Cooking“, by Toni Tipton-Martin, published in 2019.

I definitely like spicy, and I’ve always loved the spicy dishes of Cajun and Creole cuisines, so I just couldn’t resist making this dish.

Louisiana barbecued shrimp is that sort of magical dish that’s intensely flavored, easy to cook, and perfect for entertaining. But don’t let the name fool you.

As cookbook author Toni Tipton-Martin writes, “You won’t find any barbecue sauce in this dish of shrimp in spiced butter sauce. Barbecued shrimp is just the name Louisiana Creole cooks assigned to shrimp braised in wine, beer, or a garlic-butter sauce.

Ironically, a very similar recipe was on Laura’s fabulous blog recently, called Hummingbird Thyme, although called New Orleans BBQ shrimp! I say ironically, because I’ve never before come across this shrimp recipe, and now I have twice. It’s an omen!

Louisiana Barbecued Shrimp

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon paprika
2 bay leaves, crushed
4 tablespoons (1/2) stick butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup fish or chicken stock
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 pound shell-on shrimp
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
Hot crusty French bread, for serving

In a small bowl, combine the cayenne, black pepper, salt, red pepper flakes, thyme, oregano, paprika and bay leaves. In a large cast-iron skillet, heat the butter over medium-high until melted and sizzling. Add the garlic, spices, wine, stock, lemon juice, and Worcestershire sauce.

Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce thickens enough to lightly coat a spoon, about 5 – 7 minutes; shake the pan as it cooks to help bring the sauce together. Add the shrimp, reduce the heat to low, and cook, turning once, until the shrimp turn pink and firm, about 3 – 5 minutes.

Sprinkle the shrimp with parsley and serve immediately from the skillet with hot French bread to soak up the sauce.

This might be my new way to serve shrimp as an appetizer.

Although it could certainly be a meal as well.

I could also see doubling this delicious spicy sauce, and dribbling the shrimp over linguine.

The recipe is perfect just the way it is. I typically tweak everything, but besides adding some cayenne pepper flakes before serving plus some fresh thyme leaves, I left the recipe alone.

Just maybe pulverize the bay leaves more than just crush them, or you’ll be spitting out bay leaf pieces all day!

49 thoughts on “Louisiana Barbecued Shrimp

    • I was really glad I had company the night I made these, or I would have eaten them all by myself! (Husband doesn’t eat shrimp 😳0

  1. What a fabulous meal! And such an easy recipe! Dinner on the table nice and quick – then my husband and I can keep an eye out to make sure one doesn’t get more than the other!! :))
    Can’t wait to make this even though we can only buy frozen prawns.

    • Mine were as well. I live in Oklahoma! sometimes I order them but shipping is so costly. I’ve found some at my local grocery store that I can buy frozen, so they’ve never been thawed. I’ve never had a problem with them, fortunately. Great recipe!

    • Oh yes, you definitely need to! It definitely could have been the same. I used his cookbooks ages ago, but probably didn’t make this because my husband doesn’t eat shrimp. I know. Crazy.

  2. Oh, I absolutely love all things Cajun and Creole! New Orleans BBQ shrimp is a classic, and we love making it here. But it is a bit of a misnomer – no BBQ sauce anywhere. Like Ron says, pop open a cold Abita beer and serve up a plate of these shrimp. That’s heaven for me right there!

  3. What a terrific dish! This is a main for me, not an appetizer. If you are ever in New Orleans, you have to go to Pascal’s Manale restaurant (yup, that’s how it’s spelled) and order this dish — they originated it. Although in truth, the flavor of theirs is pretty similar to the way yours looks to be. Good stuff — thanks.

  4. This looks amazing… but one thing… I cannot stand shelling shrimp at the table. I know, I am way too prissy, but no. No crab, either. Lobster? Well, I can make an exception but only because it is only steamed and it isn’t covered with sauce. But I will make these without the shells… It is cheating, but I am a cheater. :)

    • Just the tails, Ron, they’re shelled. Personally all of the shells would be off, but i wanted to follow this more-or-less traditional recipe! I dont like having stinky seafood fingers either!

      • I think the only reason to leave the tails on is to be able to grab them with your fingers? But your fingers still get soiled, so next time I’d definitely shell them completely and use a fork!

  5. I should not be looking at your recipes when I’m hungry. I want this so badly right now! LOVE the spices. Food 52 always does have those food photos that lure me right in. And yours are just as pretty. :-) ~Valentina

  6. Mimi, talk about omens… third time’s a charm! The “shrimp guy” is coming to Eufaula this weekend with fresh-caught jumbo shrimp from Louisiana. (I asked him to give me a heads up and he did, God bless him.) Guess you know what I’ll be making! Thanks for your tip about the bay leaves, too. :)

  7. That looks amazing! And i happen to have some shrimp! I know what i’ll be making. Thanks for the awesome recipe!

  8. Lynne and I love spicy prawns. What a great recipe for me to use my bothers chillie flakes that he makes from the chillies in his greenhouse! I love that you’ve accompanied this with some hot crusty French bread too, Mimi. Ideal for mopping up every last drop!

    • Oh, how lucky you are! There is bread in the photos, but I had to buy it. With my thumb surgeries it will be another month before i can knead bread again! You’ll love this recipe. And you can make it as spicy as you want.

  9. This looks really yummy. Reminds me that a visit to New Orleans has been on my bucket list for many years. And now who knows when I’ll be able to cross it off that list… argh!

    • Oh, I know. This is really terrible for those of us who love traveling. We finally made it to Montana last month, but most of the time we were in the wilderness. It’s a different kind of wilderness in New Orleans!

  10. Wow! Literally made my mouth water just seeing the photos. Remembering life in Lafayette Louisiana and the amazing culinary experience that was. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

    • Aww, thanks Elena. I didn’t know you lived there. Glad it was a good foodie town! I don’t remember much else going for it, but I only visited once.

    • I’m so glad I saw this on your blog! I remember how beautiful your photos were as well. You could tell how good the shrimp were!

  11. I have been obsessed with southern cooking recently and this Louisiana BBQ shrimp looks heavenly Mimi. The best part would be licking the sauce off your fingers while peeling the shrimp

  12. That first photo is great and makes you want to go shopping for shrimp right away. Years ago we ate the shrimp at Pascal’s Manale Restaurant, the originator of this dish, and they were very good but messy. They gave you a bib to wear as you had to peel them at the table. Your version is much easier to eat.

    • It’s bad enough people shrimp when you’re cleaning them! I don’t want to be doing that at the dinner table, for sure. But thanks for the compliment. I think shrimp are very photogenic!

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