Rayburn Clipper

New Orleans Barbecue Shrimp

We started by determining the best cooking method for our version of New Orleans Barbecue Shrimp; in this case, searing the shrimp first, then sautéing the aromatics before returning the shrimp to the skillet to gently finish cooking in the rich sauce proved best. Sautéing the aromatics with some tomato paste enriched the sauce—the paste also reinforced the “barbecue" color.

To thicken the sauce, we turned to a classic New Orleans technique for thickening: starting the sauce with a roux. A bit of flour added to the sautéing aromatics created a sauce that was thick enough to coat the shrimp. Instead of a time-consuming seafood stock, we used bottled clam juice as the base for our sauce. To round out the liquid, tasters preferred mellow beer to acidic wine.


Serves 4

Although authentic barbecue shrimp is always made with shell-on shrimp, peeled and deveined shrimp may be used. Light- or medium-bodied beers work best here. Serve with Tabasco sauce and French bread, if desired.

2  pounds extra-large shrimp (21-25 per pound, see note) 
1/2  teaspoon salt 
1/2  teaspoon cayenne pepper 
2  tablespoons vegetable oil 
6  tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces 
2  teaspoons all-purpose flour 
1  teaspoon tomato paste 
1  teaspoon minced fresh rosemary 
1  teaspoon minced fresh thyme 
1/2  teaspoon dried oregano 
3  garlic cloves, minced 
3/4  cup bottled clam juice 
1/2  cup beer 
1  tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 



1. Sear shrimp: Pat shrimp dry with paper towels and sprinkle with salt and cayenne. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Cook half of shrimp, without moving, until spotty brown on one side, about 1 minute; transfer to large plate. Repeat with remaining oil and shrimp.

2. Make Sauce: Melt 1 tablespoon butter in empty skillet over medium heat. Add flour, tomato paste, rosemary, thyme, oregano, and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in clam juice, beer, and Worcestershire, scraping up any browned bits, and bring to boil. Return shrimp and any accumulated juices to skillet. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until shrimp are cooked through, about 2 minutes. Off heat, stir in remaining butter until incorporated. Serve.

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