New Orleans Barbecue Shrimp

New Orleans Barbecue Shrimp

One of the most notable things about New Orleans-style barbecue shrimp is that it isn’t grilled. Rather, this decadent Crescent City classic is sautéed in a flavor-packed sauce. In many restaurants, New Orleans-style barbecue shrimp is served with the shrimp heads and shells left on, which further enhances the almost-hedonistic experience.

Butter—and lots of it—forms the basis for the silky, luxurious sauce, and layers of flavor are added with rosemary, garlic, hot sauce, Worcestershire, and beer. The result is bright and spicy, herbaceous and deeply savory, and with one taste, you’ll be hooked.

Invented at Pascal’s Manale—the 100-year-old Uptown New Orleans institution—New Orleans-style barbecue shrimp has grown in popularity to a point where it can be found on many of the city’s best menus. The spices and preparations will vary a bit depending on the chef ’s preferences, but the dish always delivers.

New Orleans Barbecue Shrimp
Serves 4
A New Orleans classic.
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  1. 2 pounds jumbo or colossal fresh shrimp, heads on
  2. 7 cups cold water
  3. 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  4. 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  5. 1½ teaspoons ground black pepper
  6. 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  7. 2 shallots, minced
  8. 4 cloves garlic, minced
  9. ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
  10. ¼ cup hot sauce
  11. 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  12. ½ cup dark or amber beer*
  13. 2 loaves French bread, for serving
  1. Peel shrimp and devein, leaving tails on and reserving the heads and shells. Refrigerate shrimp.
  2. In a small Dutch oven, add shrimp heads and shells, and cover with 7 cups cold water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Skim any froth as it rises to the surface. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, and set aside. Reserve 1 cup shrimp stock. Remaining stock can be refrigerated up to 1 week or frozen up to 3 months.
  3. In a large skillet, melt 5 tablespoons butter over high heat. Add rosemary, pepper, Cajun seasoning, shallot, and garlic. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add reserved stock, Worcestershire, hot sauce, and lemon juice. Add shrimp, and cook just until pink and firm.
  4. Add beer, and cook 2 to 3 minutes more. Decrease heat to low, and add remaining 7 tablespoons butter. Gently stir as the butter melts into the sauce and the sauce is emulsified. Serve immediately with French bread.
  1. *For testing purposes, we used Abita Amber.
Louisiana Cookin


  1. I think that is too many minutes under heat which will yield a shrimp you can not peel. Depending on the size of your shrimp the sec second process if boiling shrimp would be sufficient. Simply look for the gap between the neat and shell. Then it is done. Chill with ice to not overcook. Seasoning looks good though.

    • That is a very good point, because overcooked shrimp can be very difficult to peel. However, in this recipe, the shrimp are peeled first, and it’s just the heads and shells that are boiled to make the stock. The meat itself is only cooked 4 or 5 minutes (or until pink and firm) at the very end.

  2. Read the other two comments, the recipe call for you to peel the shrimp first and using the heads and shells to make a stock. Shrimps are raw when added to the frypan!! Going to make these for our Muskoka trip this fall. They will go great with chessy Grits, Roasted Asparagus and Buttermilk Biscuits!!


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