Barbecue Shrimp: A Down-Home, Messy, Good Meal

September 22, 2012
3 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • Serves 6
Author Notes

This recipe has nothing to do with barbecue. These shrimp are cooked in a roasting pan, not in a smoker or on the grill. Cooked in their shells with more pepper, garlic, and butter than you are probably comfortable with, the shrimp come out ready for you to peel and eat. Sop up every drop of the sauce with good French bread and make sure you have extra napkins. —Waverly

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Waverly is a lawyer-turned-full-time-mom, wholesome meal advocate, and home cook.
WHAT: A fiery, messy shrimp dish that comes at you head-on. Literally.
HOW: Jumbo shrimp are roasted in a magical concoction that includes Tabasco, paprika, Worchestershire, oh, and lots of butter.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Waverly's final step says it all -- this recipe will leave behind "greasy hands and happy faces." —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 5 pounds large or jumbo shrimp, unpeeled (leave heads on as well if you can buy them that way. The heads add great flavor.)
  • 2 ounces coarse ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 1/4 ounces paprika (about 1/2 a can)
  • 2 pounds unsalted butter
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 12 ounces (1/2 bottle) chili sauce (Tabasco or the like)
  • 4 lemons, sliced into wedges for serving
  • French bread, sliced, for serving
  • 4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  1. PREP: Preheat the oven to 400° F. Divide the shrimp into two 9 x 13 roasting pans. Cover each pan of shrimp with half the ground pepper. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over MEDIUM heat. Remove the pan from the heat and add the paprika, garlic, chili sauce, and Worcestershire sauce and stir to combine. Pour half of this mixture into each of the roasting pans.
  2. ROAST: Place both roasting pans in the oven and cook until the shrimp are pink and cooked through, 15-20 minutes.
  3. SERVE Serve shrimp in soup bowls with plenty of the sauce, lemon wedges, and hunks of French bread on the side. Provide extra bowls for the discarded shells and heads. Provide extra napkins for greasy hands and happy faces. Eat up and don't waste a drop of the sauce.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • marynn
  • Brussels Sprouts for Breakfast
    Brussels Sprouts for Breakfast
  • Elle Rossi
    Elle Rossi
  • TheWimpyVegetarian
  • EmilyC
Waverly used to be a lawyer and is now a mother 24/7. She has made a commitment to cooking for her family and absolutely loves it even when her family does not. She is teaching them, one meal at a time, to enjoy wholesome homemade food. She abhors processed food but recognizes its insidious nature and accepts the fact that her children will occasionally get some Skittles, Doritos, or the like. Her philosophy and hope is that if she teaches them well at home, they will prefer wholesome healthy foods when they go out into the world without her.

21 Reviews

Sarah May 16, 2019
I'm not sure what you mean by chili sauce. In my foodie world, chili sauce is a mild condiment made by Heinz or some knock-off. Do you mean hot sauce?
charity February 10, 2024
It's great with a fruity hot sauce. Any kind you like will work though. I have made it repeatedly (whenever shrimp is on super sale). It's no fail because you can taste the sauce and adjust to your liking before smothering the shrimp.
Lauren B. February 24, 2014
Do you devein the shrimp prior to cooking?
Waverly February 26, 2014
There is no deveining here. The whole shrimp goes into the oven.
marynn January 28, 2014
Late to the party. Made this last night in defiance of the incontinent polar vortex that keeps leaking south into Minneapolis/St. Paul. *swoon* Simply fabulous.
Brussels S. September 11, 2013
Yum, looks fantastic!!
Elle R. November 18, 2012
My Mother made this dish for us growing up, and it is incredibly satisfying. You definitely earn your meal with the peeling, but once you start you won't stop til there is absolutely nothing left. I have hurt myself by not stopping when I should. Every seafood lover needs to try this dish.
TheWimpyVegetarian October 15, 2012
Congrats!! It's a wonderful recipe!!
EmilyC October 15, 2012
What an awesome recipe -- big congrats Waverly!
Midge October 12, 2012
Yay Waverly! So well-deserved.
fiveandspice October 12, 2012
Congrats on being a finalist Waverly, these look a-mazing. I want to slurp them up right off the screen!
Waverly October 12, 2012
Food52 photographs are beautiful - as are your shrimp. I am thrilled that you all enjoyed them! Thank you for selecting my recipe as a semifinalist.
cheese1227 October 11, 2012
Looks like a great recipe. I'm havin huge issues getting head on shrimp up here in the Northeast. All the suppliers say they are sold out!
Waverly October 12, 2012
Cheese 1227, don't let headless shrimp prevent you from making BBQ shrimp. Yes, the heads add great flavor, but you can enjoy this recipe with headless shell-on shrimp as well. For those of you who do not have access to fresh shrimp, try this recipe with frozen. It's great.
nannydeb October 11, 2012
Oh, wow! I'm drooling!
mrslarkin October 11, 2012
oh man, these sound great. Congrats Waverly!
gingerroot October 11, 2012
Congrats, Waverly! I'm a big fan of all your recipes and these sound amazing.
ashleychasesdinner October 11, 2012
Congrats Waverly! Love this recipe, but you always have a good one! Good luck!
TheWimpyVegetarian October 11, 2012
Congrats on being a finalist! I love all your recipes and will definitely be trying this!! Good luck!
Midge October 8, 2012
I've long made Mark Bittman's BBQ shrimp, which calls for a brief saute, but wow, these are like the technicolor version. And the roasting part is brilliant. We loved them!
Waverly October 9, 2012
I am so glad you enjoyed them, Midge. This is one of my favorite ways to eat shrimp!