Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Barbecued Shrimp and Grits

I must be honest. I do not know why this dish is referred to as "barbecue." These shrimps go nowhere near a grill; nary a sweet and tangy sauce is applied. What it probably should be called is "Freaking Butter for Days Shrimp and Grits."

But I was taught this is barbecued shrimp and barbecued shrimp it shall remain.

I was first introduced to this recipe while working in a fine dining restaurant here on the Coast. Barbecued shrimp and grits is insanely good and impressive to company and it is SO easy to make. Don't be intimidated if you've always thought this was labor or time-intensive. Can you melt butter? Can you boil water? You can make shrimp and grits.

Barbecued Shrimp and Stone-Ground Grits
Recipe adapted from

Ingredients (Serves 4):
1/2 cup shrimp stock (chicken broth will do in a pinch) recipe below
20-24 large or extra large MS Gulf Coast Shrimp, bodies peeled and rinsed, heads and tails left on
1 1/2 sticks butter, divided
1 T Worcestershire
1 tsp minced garlic
1 small onion, diced
1/4 cup dark beer, at room temperature (like Lazy Magnolia Sweet Potato Cream Stout)
Seasoning Mix, below

Ingredients, Seasoning Mix
1/2 tsp Cayenne pepper
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
1/8 tsp dried oregano

First, make your shrimp stock. I mentioned above that you can use chicken if you have to, but seriously. This is the easiest thing ever. Especially if you're a food hoarder like me and you have some shrimp shells in your freezer from the last time you sautéed shrimp...

To 2 gallons of water add:
Shells from appx 2 lbs large shrimp
3-4 stalks of celery, leafy bits included
1 whole onion, unpeeled, cut into 8 wedges
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 bay leaf

Ideally you would boil this for 2 hours, but for our purposes it's good to use after 30 minutes. I dipped the liquid straight out of the pot for my 1/2 cup, and let the rest simmer while I cooked. Easy-peasy.

Combine the seasonings in a small bowl and set aside. 

In a large pan (I used my trusty cast-iron skillet) over medium-high heat, melt 8 T of butter. I know, it looks like enough to stop your heart. It probably is. 

Add onion, garlic, Worcestershire, and seasoning. Sauté for a few minutes, then add shrimp. Cook for approximately two minutes, shaking pan constantly to thwart burning. 

Thwart, even.

Add remaining 4 T of butter and stock and continue cook 'n' shake for about two more minutes. 

Add beer. Shake, shake, shake. For about another minute.

Drink remaining beer.

Shrimp are finished! Serve immediately over hot grits. I recommend you do this by taking a shrimp at a time out with tongs, and then spooning a bit of the juices (read: seasoned melted butter) over the grits afterward. Trust me, I love butter but you don't want to go dumping that whole pan on your food. Remember what I said about stopping your heart? Yeah.

I probably just saved your life.

If you were raised in the South, you don't need this next bit. You're probably amazed the instructions are even written down.

Otherwise, directions for making grits:

Boil 1 cup of grits in 2 cups of water, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until grits are soft. 
Seriously, that's it.

Normally I would add salt and butter to my grits, but there's plenty of that already in the shrimp so my grits are plain as can be.

I use stone ground grits that I buy locally in Mississippi and they are goooo-oood.

Arrange food artfully if that's your pleasure, get yourself a cold beer (or glass of tea), and set down. You have just made Barbecued Shrimp and Stone Ground Grits and they are awesome! Good job you!

Thanks for stopping by! Y'all come see me again sometime.


Barbara Bakes said...

Can you believe I've never had shrimp and grits. It looks like great comfort food.

Oh, the Humidity! said...

It definitely is! And so easy to make--though your guests don't have to know that ;) Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

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