How to Make a New Orleans BBQ Shrimp Recipe for Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, the day before one of the most popular sick days of the year: whatever you call it, it’s a day to treat yourself. Marked by lavish parades, heavy drinking and lots of risky behavior (you gotta have those pearls!), the bawdy celebration takes place on March 1 this year and, in many places, marks the end of weeks Carnival festivities.

Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday, a name that reflects the long tradition of feasting on decadent, fatty foods before Ash Wednesday and the religious season of Lent – a six-week period of fasting and moderation observed by Christians before Easter – arrive. So while take-out cups and regrettable choices are the current customs we associate with Mardi Gras, it began with the practice of gorging on one’s little heart.

Festival season is celebrated in cities around the world, but when Americans think of Mardi Gras, they tend to think of New Orleans. The holiday’s connection to the city of Louisiana dates back to 1699, when French-Canadian explorers Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville and Sieur de Bienville arrived south of New Orleans and named a piece of land “Pointe du Mardi Gras “after realizing it. was the day before the holidays.

So this Mardi Gras, it’s only fitting to celebrate with indulgent New Orleans cuisine, namely New Orleans BBQ Shrimp, a popular local dish that’s shareable, simple to make, and includes a sauce. appetizing butter in Worcestershire.

Below, New Orleans-based author and baker Joy Wilson (perhaps better known by her online nickname Joy the Baker) shares her recipe for New Orleans BBQ Shrimp. She tells InsideHook that it was passed on to her by Suzonne Stirling, one of Wilson’s first new friends after moving to New Orleans.

“She made it for me when I first went to her house and shared the recipe with me. I didn’t make any changes to it because it’s perfect,” Wilson says.

Unfortunately, if you were looking to break the grill, BBQ Shrimp in New Orleans doesn’t involve barbecuing.

“This recipe is called barbecue shrimp, but it actually has nothing to do with barbecue. It’s flavorful, smoky, creamy and it’s actually really easy to make, but it’s not barbecued,” she explains. “This dish can be put together in one pot, so there’s no need to worry about it much. You can just shake the pan on the stove as you cook it. If you’re a multi-tasker and drink with your guests while entertaining, this is the perfect dish to whip up.

Pair it with lots of bread and towels.

Joy Wilson

The dish combines a myriad of spices and herbs, clam juice, that special butter sauce, a mug of beer, and large shrimp – the star of this Southern dish.

“If you’re down south, you can enjoy Gulf shrimp, which we’re very proud of,” Wilson notes. “The prawns are the main part of this dish, so it’s good if you can get nice big fresh prawns. We have access to good shrimp here in New Orleans, so it’s easy. If you don’t have access to fresh shrimp, I would buy the biggest shrimp you can from your grocer, with the shells on.

If you’re looking to serve New Orleans barbecue shrimp at your next gathering, Wilson explains that you’ll need to make the recipe twice, or the number of batches needed to feed your guests.

“If you want to double this recipe, do it twice. This recipe does not double well and the sauce separates. Do it in batches.

Oh, and make sure you have a boatload of towels handy.

“I like to cover the table with butcher paper and have plenty of napkins and wet wipes available,” adds Wilson. “Serve it with bread and eat it with your fingers. It’s messy, but so much fun and good.

Just like Mardi Gras should be.

New Orleans BBQ Shrimp


  • 1 lb large or extra-large shrimp (preferably with the head on, but at least with the shell)
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup clam juice
  • 1/4 cup beer, room temperature
  • 1/4 lb + 5 tbsp unsalted butter (melted)


  1. Rinse the prawns and drain them. Pinch off the tops if you prefer and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the dried herbs, salt and pepper.
  3. Combine 1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, garlic, Worcestershire and seasoning mix in a large skillet over high heat. When the butter is melted, add the prawns.
  4. Cook for 2 minutes, shaking the pan (instead of stirring).
  5. Add remaining 5 tablespoons melted butter and clam juice; cook and shake the pan for 2 more minutes until the mixture is emulsified.
  6. Add the beer and cook and shake the pan for 1 minute more. Remove from fire.
  7. Serve immediately in bowls with plenty of French bread or rice.

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