Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Barbecue Shrimp

One of my absolute favorite dinners is this barbecue shrimp. It's perfect for eating outside on a screen porch with plenty of paper towels and cold adult beverages. In fact, this was the first meal my brother-in-law ate with my family. Which in retrospect was a little...mean. It's hard to be charming and graceful sucking juice out of a shrimp shell. That's kind of mandatory too. You can't just peel the shells and eat the shrimp. First, you suck the juice out of the shell, then you peel it, then you dip it back in the sauce and eat. The leftover sauce on the plate gets sopped up with buttery french bread.

The sauce is pretty simple: Olive oil, worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, chili sauce, liquid smoke, parsley flakes, paprika, red pepper flakes, garlic, cayenne, oregano, lemons, and butter. I know it sounds like a lot, but most of it is in your pantry already.
 Slice your lemons...
And roughly chop the garlic.  Seriously, that's the extent of the prep work.
Everything gets tossed in a saucepan over medium-low heat to melt the butter. If you want the butter to melt faster, cut it up before you put it in the pot. Juice another lemon over the pan. As soon as the butter is melted take the pan off the heat and let it cool a bit.
Spread your shrimp in a large baking dish.
Pour the sauce over the shrimp and toss it around to coat the shrimps. Cover the dish with foil and let it marinate for a few hours in the fridge. Every hour or so give the shrimp a toss, just to be sure they all get a fair shot at getting coated.
Several hours later, this is how it looks. Not much different. Bake it at 350º for 30-40 minutes or until the shrimp are just cooked through. Be sure to stir and toss the shrimp about halfway through so it all cooks evenly.
Juicy. Spicy. Tangy.
 Y'know, when you put it in the oven the sauce doesn't look like it'll be much. I'm always surprised by what a little oven time does to it. The shrimp juices mix with the marinade, and it all becomes one buttery, briny sauce.
 If you have seashell plates, now is the time to use them.
 My grandmother makes delicious cole slaw. It's pretty scrumptious alongside the shrimp.
Carnage. If I'd had another piece of bread there wouldn't be any sauce left on the plate, I can tell you that much. This is such a great dinner for a Friday night. Put it together in the morning and bake it when it's time for dinner. Invite a few friends over and unwind. There's really no better way to connect than with spicy, smoky shrimp and sticky, saucy fingers.

Barbecue Shrimp (serves 6-8)

1 c extra-virgin olive oil
1 stick unsalted butter
1 (12 oz) bottle chili sauce
3 lemons, 2 sliced and 1 for juicing
4-5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
3 tbs worcestershire sauce
3 tsp liquid smoke
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp dried parsley flakes
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
Hot sauce, to taste
3-4 lbs large shrimp

  • Combine the first thirteen ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir and cook until butter has melted. Let it cool before you pour over the shrimp.
  • Spread the shrimp in a large baking dish. Pour the sauce over the shrimp and cover with foil. Refrigerate at least 4 hours, tossing every couple of hours to evenly marinate. 
  • Heat oven to 350º and bake 30-40 minutes, stirring shrimp halfway through to ensure even cooking. Remove when shrimp are just cooked. Serve with crusty, buttered French bread.

No comments:

Post a Comment