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New Orleans–Style BBQ Shrimp

Scott Phillips

Servings: 4

Huge, juicy shrimp dripping with butter, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and spices, this dish is a Crescent City classic. Leave it to eccentric New Orleans; despite the name, there’s no barbecue sauce or grill involved (if that’s what you’re after, see our basic Grilled Shrimp recipe). Serve with lots of hot, crusty bread for mopping up the sauce, and plenty of bibs and napkins to keep everyone tidy as they peel and eat the shrimp with their hands. In New Orleans, head-on, shell-on shrimp are standard; see cajungrocer.com for an online source, or use headless, shell-on shrimp.


  • 1 medium lemon
  • 8 oz. (1 cup) unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbs. chopped garlic
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp. sweet paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 oz. kosher salt (1 Tbs. if using Diamond Crystal, 1/2 Tbs. if using Morton’s)
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
  • 24 colossal shrimp (12 to 15 per lb.), unshelled, preferably domestic wild-caught and head-on

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 670
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 440
  • Fat (g): 50
  • Saturated Fat (g): 30
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3.5
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 13
  • Cholesterol (mg): 465
  • Sodium (mg): 1270
  • Carbohydrates (g): 8
  • Fiber (g): 2
  • Protein (g): 47


  • Cut the lemon in half crosswise, and juice it. Press each half flat on a cutting board, and then cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips.
  • Melt the butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and add the lemon juice and peel, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, bay leaves, paprika, cayenne, salt, ground pepper, and cracked pepper. Stir and simmer for about 5 minutes to blend the flavors, being careful not to let the garlic brown.
  • Add the shrimp and increase the heat to medium. Cook, turning with tongs, until all the shrimp are beginning to turn pink, 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Cover the skillet and remove it from the heat. Let sit for 15 minutes so that the shrimp can absorb the flavors and finish cooking, stirring every 5 minutes or so. Serve.


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Reviews (4 reviews)

  • Wanderer1999 | 05/19/2018

    This is the real deal! I used fresh Louisiana Gulf shrimp with heads on. All it needs is garlic cheese grits and its a match for the shrimp and grits at Tableau on Jackson Square in New Orleans. I used a little less than a stick of butter and only had a little lemon juice (leftover from our lemon tree). This was a super simple recipe. Thank you, Poppy Tooker. You know how Louisiana eats!

  • drwho | 01/07/2017

    Very Good.. I wouldn't raise the pepper levels any higher. A nice bite to the shrimp. I added an extra T of worcestershire.Would make again.

  • Anyuta | 01/24/2015

    Very delicious and perfect for a quick weekday dinner. I am using half of the suggested amount of butter and adding white wine in the sauce, as the original recipe is too rich for my taste.

  • yayabiki | 04/07/2014

    Amazing! I used large shrimp without the heads, and it couldn't have been easier. The flavors were complex; smokey from the shell, and the lemon, butter and spices rounded out the flavor. Lots of bread needed to soak up that sauce. BTW, it's supposed to feed four, and my friend and I managed to consume the entire thing!! Yum!

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