The Spicy, Saucy, Very Buttery BBQ Shrimp I Make Over & Over

August 23, 2018

Every so often, we scour the site for cool recipes from our community that we then test, photograph, and feature. This one comes by way of Food52er Waverly. Your shrimp can thank her later.

Let’s not beat around the bush. This recipe has 2 pounds of butter—and it serves 6 people. That’s 1/3 pound of butter per person. But so what? Is that wrong? And if it is, do we even want to be right? I don’t.

I stumbled upon this spicy, saucy—and, yes, buttery—shrimp recipe during what I like to call The Most Magical Summer. I had just started running and meditating, and I felt happy, like so happy, like I was falling in love with my own life.

Photo by Rocky Luten

In retrospect, I wonder if it was all the butter I was eating. Because that summer, my family and I made this recipe a lot, maybe more than anyone should make any one recipe. (“More times than I could count” is how my mom remembers it.) But it was just so good.

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When I reached out to its creator, Waverly, she shared that same sentiment: “It’s so easy and so good.”

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Top Comment:
“We had a shrimp dish in Jekyll Island that was half butter and half Frank’s hot sauce. We called it buffalo shrimp. Served with a cold beer on a hot night, it was pretty much heaven. But, butter! ”
— Sue

After she contributed her recipe to Food52 in 2012, it went on to become a finalist in our Best Shellfish recipe contest.


And when Waverly says “so easy,” she means it. Basically, you melt some butter and add your pantry’s punchiest ingredients: garlic, paprika, hot sauce, and Worcestershire. Pour this over heavily peppered, shell-on shrimp. And roast. That’s it. Serve with lemon wedges and lots of crusty bread.

Pascal's Manale in New Orleans invented the dish in 1953. Accordingly, many might peg BBQ shrimp to The Big Easy, but Waverly told me it can be “found up and down the Gulf Coast from Texas to Florida and beyond.” She now lives in Houston where BBQ shrimp are “just part of the region.”

Lucky for us, now that she’s shared her version, it can be part of wherever you—and you and you—are. Just don’t skimp on that butter. And don’t forget the bread!

What's your favorite shrimp recipe? Tell us about it in the comments!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • purbanik
  • Sue
  • lailabondi
  • Sara Elizabeth
    Sara Elizabeth
  • Steve Wichman
    Steve Wichman
Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.


purbanik June 7, 2020
The recipe, as written, sounds intriguing, but needs clarification. Black pepper and paprika—are they measured as dry ounces or fluid ounces. Thank goodness I’m a retired chef and rather depend on exact measurements, I judged amounts by sight and taste. BTW, why is there no salt listed in the ingredients? Hot and spicy but bland without salt.
Sue May 16, 2019
Of course your cat’s name is butter. Ha. We had a shrimp dish in Jekyll Island that was half butter and half Frank’s hot sauce. We called it buffalo shrimp. Served with a cold beer on a hot night, it was pretty much heaven. But, butter!
lailabondi August 29, 2018
I'm from New Orleans and this is not BBQ shrimp. Looks great, but paprika and hot sauce? I never. Lots of butter, garlic, rosemary, Worcestershire and a few glugs of beer.
Sara E. August 24, 2018
Shame on you. "Waverly" did not create this recipe. Barbecue shrimp was invented in New Orleans at Pascal's Manale restaurant, and has become a traditional recipe of the city. For all the ridiculous and inauthentic bastardizations of New Orleans cuisine in the world, how dare you take what looks like a pretty legit recipe and misattributed it. Shame.
Emma L. August 24, 2018
Hi Sara, thanks for your message and I’m sorry that you took the piece this way. We appreciated Waverly’s note about the dish’s popularity beyond New Orleans because it explains how people find it in other restaurants—and home kitchens—in different regions. She never claimed to invent the dish, nor did we mean to imply that. That said, Pascal’s Manale is important to credit in its history, and we’ve added that into the copy per your feedback.
Steve W. August 23, 2018
Beer, melted butter, garlic, and harissa poured on shrimp and broiled. Killer!
Emma L. August 24, 2018
Yum! Must try that.
Steve W. August 24, 2018
Emma, basically you make a "beer-blanc", add the harissa and sop up with a good crusty rye bread.
Emma L. August 24, 2018
Beer-blanc! I love it.
Big P. August 23, 2018
From an owner of Paul Prudhomme's "Louisiana Kitchen," now you're cooking! I've cooked from LK, but have I always pulled back on the full butter? I think so.