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New Orleans Style "Barbequed" Shrimp


Smokehowze
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New Orleans Style BBQ Shrimp

 

New Orleans style BBQ shrimp is not a BBQ in the sense we normally think about with regard to the cooking method.  It is a very rich dish with deep flavor that is actually oven baked.  Personally, I think the BBQ moniker really originates from the ingredients and the seasoning flavors coming together especially the Worcestershire sauce addition.

 

I grew up eating this dish - my mother could make this dish better than anybody and even though I have cooked it for years I still think hers was magical.  I  was never really sure of the recipe as my mom mostly cooked by sight, smell, and taste.  I think the version I have made all these years comes close to what I remember,  Thanks mom!

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Normally you cook this in a regular oven.  This time I decided to cook it in Big (Red) Joe and add a touch of smoke to the dish using pecan wood.  I  set-up for indirect cooking at 350 on the dome thermo.  Cook time for this “overfull” pan was about 45 minutes.  I am not really sure we could tell any major smoke impact but all agreed this was an excellent batch - so maybe the smoke did add some kiss of flavor.  I would not go for a heavy smoke component, however.

 

Here are the photos. A basic “well you get the idea” recipe follows below the pictures.

 

Plated and ready to eat.  Just add the warm French Bread which was heating in Big (Red) Joe:

0-JustAddFrenchBread_zpse3e6379b.jpg

 

 

Ingredients in the baking dish  and ready to head to Big (Red) Joe:

1-SeasonedandReadytoCook_zpsc479f6d0.jpg

 

 

Starting the Cook:

2-OnBigJoe_zpsba022062.jpg

 

 

Cooking Nicely – about half way done:

4-CookingNicely_zpsbfd96aae.jpg

 

 

Ready for the table:

3-Done_zps0e0f6731.jpg

 

 

THE RECIPE:

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Basic ingredients (adjust amounts as desired):

 

For best results use head-on unpeeled shrimp.  The head and shell contributes to the flavor and the sauce development.  It can be done with headless or even peeled shrimp – the cooking time in those cases is much faster and the final flavor may not have quite the same depth but it will still be good. 
  • 3 lbs Head On Shrimp in the shell – the fresher the better
  • 2 + 1/2  sticks unsalted butter
  • 1/4  cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • A good handful of peeled garlic – some fine chopped, most in ¼ or half pieces
  • 1 small onion sliced thin
  • Some green onions chopped coarse
  • Some fresh parsley chopped
  • A stalk of celery cut into coarse pieces
  • 2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (this is a key flavor element – it may even take a bit more ..)
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3  teaspoons Louisiana-style hot pepper sauce (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika (smoked works good)
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
     
  • 1 lemon halved and sliced into thin rings to add to baking dish (adjust to your taste)
  • Squeeze of lemon juice into the butter/olive oil mix
  • Salt, to taste

You can play with the ratios of the Cajun seasoning, cayenne pepper, black pepper and hot sauce to your preference.  I really never measure any of the ingredients for this dish and just do what is "right" as I make it. 

 

Melt the 2 sticks of the butter and add the olive oil.  Add seasonings and all remaining ingredients (except the shrimp and lemon slices) and mix.  Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.  You want a rich and deeply-seasoned sauce that will meld together as it cooks.  Note the flavor of the sauce will mellow some when cooked with the shrimp as the shrimp juices come out .

 

Put rinsed and drained shrimp along with lemon slices in large greased baking dish (like 9 x 13).  Add all remaining ingredients into the baking dish.  Pour on the seasoned butter and olive oil + ingredients mixture.  Toss gently to coat well.  Add the remaining half-stick of butter as slices on the top.

 

It is better to have a larger pan and let the shrimp not have too many layers but, as you can see in the photos, the 3 lbs+ of shrimp in a 9 x 13  works if you mix gently during the cook to get them evenly cooked.

 

Bake at 325-350 degrees for about 30 to 45 minutes.  It depends if you have a single layer of shrimp (cooks faster) or a bunch of shrimp stacked up.     -   Stir shrimp gently about every 10-15 minutes. 

 

Check after 30 minutes for doneness of the shrimp and the flavor of the sauce to have developed and infused the shrimp.  DO NOT OVER COOK – Shrimp will get tough and hard to peel. After 30 minutes I would try a “test shrimp” about every 10 minutes (and every 5 minutes when very near the end time) when also gently stirring.

 

Serve the shrimp with a generous amount of the pan sauce for dipping.

 

To eat -  Warning - this is a finger food meal!  Remove the head and peel the shrimp and enjoy!  Add some good warm French bread for dipping in the pan sauce. 

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Let me start by saying Thanks Mama Smokehowze for passing on your tradition thru your son. And thank you Smokehowze for sharing a family tradition with us. I feel so many memorable family moments are spent around sharing a meal together. I look back at times watching my mom in the kitchen and my dad around the grill with great fondness. Smokehowze my mother cooked the same as yours. Sight, smell, and taste. That's how the best cooks do. By the way that magic you refer to ...... It's called love.

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"Awwww Man, those shrimps looook goood". I would love to sit down to that plate with a cold beer and a broken crust of fresh baked bread. Truly looks delicious. Great meal, great tradition. Thanks for sharing. To say you like this, has to be the understatement of the year. 

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