This savory New Orleans-Style BBQ Shrimp with Grits is a cozy Southern recipe that I love to make around the holidays. It's perfect for a New Year's Eve dinner party!
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One of my favorite holiday meals that my Granny used to fix with New Orleans-style barbecue shrimp. She would make a huge pan of it - at least enough for 15 people - and we would have a feast! It was so delicious. It's been years since I've had barbecue shrimp, so I figured it was time to try it myself and add it to my collection of recipes inspired by my Southern heritage. Whenever I make a recipe we enjoyed growing up, I always try to lighten it up a bit (that usually means cutting back on some butter) so that it's more in line with our health and nutrition goals these days. I don't alter a recipe so heavily that we wish for the "old version;" just enough to make me feel better about eating it!
This recipe for New Orleans-Style Shrimp mixes a traditional creole recipe with a bit of low-country by serving the shrimp over grits. I love the cozy combination and think it's perfect for serving with a simple salad and some fresh crusty bread for dipping in all of the delicious juice from the sauce! Let's talk about the recipe specifics and make some shrimp!
Ingredients for New Orleans-Style Barbecue Shrimp with Grits
- Jumbo shrimp - you can use fresh or frozen. If using frozen, thaw them overnight in the refrigerator. I like to buy the deveined E Z peel shrimp to make things easier on myself!
- Grits - stone-ground slow-cooking grits are my favorite to use because of their hearty texture. I buy mine at Trader Joe's! Quick-cooking grits will do in a pinch if you can't find stone-ground.
- Liquid ingredients - milk for the grits (I use 1%), white wine, Worcestershire sauce, Louisiana hot sauce, and fresh lemon juice for the shrimp. Olive oil and butter will be used for flavor and sauteeing.
- Dry ingredients - we want lots of flavor in this recipe! Any all-purpose Creole seasoning will work (I use Tony Chachere's), smoked sweet paprika, dried oregano, and a bay leaf. We will also put some nutty Parmesan cheese in the grits for flavor.
- Fresh ingredients - freshly-minced garlic and some fresh parsley add a nice aromatic flavor to the dish and give some color to it as well!
Complete ingredient list in the recipe below.
How to Make New Orleans-Style Barbecue Shrimp and Grits
- Peel the shrimp - you will put the peels in one bowl and the shrimp in another! The shrimp get lightly seasoned with some of the hot sauce and Creole seasoning and placed in the fridge to hang out until we need them again. Save those shells - we will use them in the next step!
- Make a "barbecue" sauce - next, we are going to use those reserved shrimp shells to infuse some flavor from the sea into our barbecue sauce. Traditional Creole barbecue shrimp sauce relies heavily on Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice for flavor. After those ingredients, Creole seasoning, garlic, wine, sweet paprika, bay leaf, and oregano will round out the flavor. Once everything is in the pan, we reduce it down by half and then strain the shells out.
- Make some grits - while the barbecue sauce is reducing, I like to make the grits. They take about 20-30 minutes to cook, which ensures they will be done right as the shrimp are ready to serve!
- Saute the shrimp - this will only take a few minutes! Use the same skillet you made the sauce in, then cook the shrimp for about a minute on each side. Next, add the sauce and simmer for about 2 minutes until everything is heated through.
- Serve and enjoy - add some freshly-chopped parsley to the shrimp. Next, serve the shrimp and sauce over the warm cheese grits. YUM!
Full recipe instructions are found below.
Possible Recipe Modifications:
- Make it gluten-free: everything in this recipe is naturally gluten-free. Lea and Perrins brand Worcestershire sauce is the best gluten-free option. Always read labels to ensure products are certified gluten-free if contamination during processing is a concern.
- Make it dairy-free: you can easily use dairy-free milk in the grits and dairy-free butter, such as Earth Balance. Omit the Parmesan and substitute with 1 tablespoon of white miso paste in the grits to get that nutty umami flavor.
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New Orleans-Style Barbecue Shrimp and Grits
For the cheese grits:
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup stone-ground grits (if using quick-cooking grits, follow package directions for cooking time)
- ½ teaspoons salt
- 1 cup 1% milk, plus more as needed
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
For the shrimp:
- 1 ½ pounds EZ peel jumbo shrimp
- 3 teaspoons Creole seasoning, divided
- 2 tablespoons Louisiana hot sauce, divided
- Olive oil
- 3 whole garlic cloves, finely chopped
- ¾ teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
- ¾ teaspoon ground oregano
- 1 cup white wine
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice
- 1 whole bay leaf
- 3 tablespoons butter, cut into small chunks
- 2 tablespoons freshly-chopped parsley
For the grits:
- Bring the water to boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in the grits and salt. Reduce heat to low until the grits come to a slow simmer. Place the lid on top and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often. Add the milk, and simmer for 10-15 minutes more, stirring as needed to keep the grits from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Once the grits are cooked and tender, stir in the cheese and butter until incorporated and melted. Keep warm on the stovetop, adding in extra milk as needed if the grits get too thick.
For the shrimp:
- Remove the peels from shrimp and set them aside. Place the peeled shrimp in a bowl, along with 1 ½ teaspoon of the creole seasoning and 1 tablespoon of hot sauce. Cover and refrigerate.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the shrimp shells and stir to heat through. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the remaining 1 ½ teaspoons of Creole seasoning, 1 tablespoon of hot sauce, paprika, and oregano. Toss to combine. Add the wine, water, Worcestershire, lemon juice, and bay leaf. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the mixture has reduced by half, about 15 minutes (I like to cook the grits during this step). Strain the sauce into a bowl and discard the shells. Place the strained sauce next to the stovetop (or you can do this step the day before and store the strained sauce in the fridge until you are ready to cook the shrimp).
- Wipe the skillet clean and return to medium heat. Remove the prepared shrimp from the refrigerator. Add two tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet. Sear the shrimp for about a minute on each side. Add the reserved sauce to the pan and stir to heat through, about 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the butter one piece at a time until it is fully incorporated. Stir in the fresh parsley. Serve over hot cheese grits and enjoy!
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