First things first, let's get this straight: barbecue shrimp is not barbecue in the low-heat, wood-smoked, or whole-hog sense of the term. Barbecue shrimp requires only quick stove-top cooking with no grill in sight. But what it does have in common with barbecue is the spicy, saucy mess than ensues when sitting down to a big bowl of the stuff.
The version in Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart's Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking is a fine example of the New Orleans delicacy. Large, head-on shrimp are quickly sauteed in garlic and rosemary-infused oil before being doused (seriously, doused) in hot sauce, Worcestershire, lemon juice, beer, and more butter than you'll think can fit in the pan. But it does melt its way into the sauce and plays an important role in taming the heat. Also, butter just makes everything taste better, right?
Why I picked this recipe: Shrimp, butter, and hot sauce. Can't go wrong.
What worked: Spicy and buttery with whiffs of the sea, this sauce is reminiscent of good ol' buffalo wings sauce. But the addition of Creole spices, a whole head of garlic, and fresh herbs takes this finger-licking sauce to a whole 'nother level.
What didn't: No problems here.
Suggested tweaks: While this recipe works best with large, head-on shrimp, you can still make it with smaller, headless shrimp if that's what you can get. Keep the shell on and cook the shrimp a little less than the time directed.
Reprinted with permission from Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking by Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart. Copyright 2012. Published by Gibbs Smith. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.
- 2 pounds large head-on shrimp
- 2 tablespoons Creole Seasoning or commercial seafood seasoning, divided
- 1 tablespoon oil, cook’s preference
- 1 large garlic head, cloves chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 3 tablespoons hot sauce
- 1 lemon, quartered (juice removed and reserved)
- 1/3 cup beer
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
- Crusty bread, for serving
Sprinkle shrimp with 1 tablespoon of seasoning. (This may be done up to an hour ahead).
Preheat a large skillet over high heat; add the oil and heat briefly. Add the garlic and rosemary to the pan and stir to lightly brown garlic, watching carefully to prevent burning.
Add the shrimp, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and lemon juice and quarters. Lightly stir the shrimp and the ingredients, just enough to mix.
Pour in the beer, stirring to release any bits clinging to the bottom of the skillet, and boil the mixture to reduce while shaking the pan. Cook shrimp 2 to 2 1/2 minutes, depending on size, and add remaining seafood seasoning and salt and pepper to taste. When shrimp are finished cooking, the liquid should have a sauce consistency.
Quickly whisk in the butter, turning the heat down as necessary, until it is melted into the sauce, leaving it thick and emulsified. Taste and add salt and pepper if desired. Remove lemon quarters. Serve with crusty bread, lots of napkins, and fingerbowls. Garnish each serving with a lemon piece.