Quick Southern Barbecue (Style) Shrimp

There hasn’t been much cooking this week – there have been late nights and early mornings and an emergency dentist visit. I’ve been simultaneously catching up from being away in Austin and getting stuff done before we leave for California. Feel free to hate me – I might.

We’re leaving Sunday, all of us, Ben included, and the boys are nearly beside themselves with excitement over going to Disneyland. It’s a requisite visit, isn’t it? For all parents of kids under ten?
We go to San Francisco first, which I’m nearly beside myself with excitement over. (Note to self: wear sandals. No wool.)

I’ve been on the afternoon show on CBC all week too, which means being in the studio until 6, with not much motivation to cook by the time I get home. On one of those nights-I’m not sure I can distinguish which-I ran some raw, tail-on shrimp from the freezer under warm water in a colander to thaw them while I got changed out of my work clothes, and had almost the same barbecue shrimp we always order at Memphis Blues in Vancouver. It turns out all they do is saute them in plenty (plenty!) of butter (I was a little more stingy) and a good shake of their all-purpose dry barbecue rub. They serve them in shallow bowls, swimming in salty butter, with wedges of cornbread, and they are divine. It’s a good thing Vancouver is so far away.

You could of course use any spice rub – the same you might use for ribs, brisket, pulled pork and the like – or a curry or tandoori blend. Heat a generous pat of butter in a heavy skillet, add a drizzle of olive or canola oil and when the foam subsides, throw in as many raw, peeled, tail-on shrimp as you want to cook. Add a generous shake of the rub. Toss them about in the pan for a couple minutes, just until they turn opaque – don’t overcook them, or they will curl up tight and end up tough – pour into a shallow bowl and serve with cornbread or crusty bread, for mopping.

And then, while the boys are at grandma’s for a sleepover, crawl into bed before midnight for crying out loud.


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20 comments on “Quick Southern Barbecue (Style) Shrimp

  1. Avery
    June 11, 2011 at 12:18 am

    I love dinners like these. Easy peasy. Yummy.

  2. colesangel
    June 11, 2011 at 12:39 am


  3. Carolyn
    June 11, 2011 at 4:54 am

    Hope you love San Fran! It’s one of my favourite cities. I’m sure you already know this, but if you have a chance, get to the Ferry Terminal Market. Still salivating whenever I think of the sour dough bread. Diets be damned! I’m off to Paris today, and after just being there a few minths ago, it’s the food I’m most looking forward to!

  4. ladyloo
    June 11, 2011 at 5:27 am

    Seconding the sourdough bread in San Fran!

  5. Sue
    June 11, 2011 at 5:53 am

    San Francisco is fun but watch out for the weather this time of year. There’s a funny microclimate in the city itself that makes it very chilly in the summer. Proximity to the ocean makes for dampness. High of 60F tomorrow, for instance. Everywhere else in the area is in the 70’s. So don’t wear shorts there and take a sweater — or freeze! Apparently the best time to visit is in October when it’s warm! Go figure!

  6. Kalyn
    June 11, 2011 at 7:59 am

    I love spicy shrimp cooked like this. Ugh, sorry about the dentist visit; that is never fun. I hope you have a great time in California. I’m still not feeling caught up; hope you are doing better at it than I am!

  7. sam
    June 11, 2011 at 8:14 am

    I second Sue on the weather in San Fran. I was just talking to someone who was there recently and they said they were in fleeces the whole time. And Disney is soooo much fun. We went in Feb with a 4 year old and a 7 year old and they had a fantastic time (the 7 year old went on eery single ride – even the Tower of Terror!). Have fun!

  8. Fiona
    June 11, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    A friend who lives in San Fran told me you can always spot the tourists there, because they’re the ones who are dressed for “California” but have to buy a fleece because they’re freezing their butts off.

  9. Anonymous
    June 11, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    I live in Oakland, across the Bay from SF. It’s usually a few degrees warmer over here, and I have definitely not broken out any sandals yet this year. It’s been a cold, wet spring! Even today, with sunny weather, there’s still some marine layer chill in the air.

  10. bev
    June 11, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    Despite our disdain for Disney before we had kids, we had the BEST, most fun time ever with our boys when we finally went. It is totally a great family vacation and our boys, at 14 and 17, would dearly love to go yet again! Make sure to see the shows, and have a wonderful time. I am planning your shrimp for next week!

  11. Corinne
    June 11, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    Have a great time Julie. The shrimp is going on our summer menu ‘bucket list’, along with sticky chicken (turkey maybe) and naan and many more of your recipes.I am pretty excited to try naan from scratch. Have loads of fun in San Francisco and Disneyland.

  12. Jen
    June 12, 2011 at 9:40 am

    We ate our way through San Fran last October. It is such a delicious city!! We ticked off many things on this list: http://www.7×7.com/eat-drink/2010-big-eat-sf-100-things-try-you-die . Gingersnaps at Miette in the Ferry Terminal Building are some of the best ever – they use 3 kinds of ginger so are very “snappy”. Oh…and oysters, baked & raw, at Hog Island Oyster Company, so delicious. Their clam chowder is awesome, too. I could go on & on!! Have fun!!!

  13. molly
    June 12, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    one of the first things i ever learned to cook was a heap of shrimp cooked briefly in lime, fresh ginger, and lots (lots!) of butter. one of the silver palates. so, so good. so yes, shrimp and butter are made for each other. and me.

  14. Jess`
    June 12, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    Gosh do those look good. The big thing that really sets aside a home cook from a professional cook, I think, is how the home cooks seem to be more afriad to use larger amounts of butter and salt.

  15. stacey
    June 12, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    I heart San Fran! Don’t forget that they have their very own exclusive color of Le Creuset (it’s green)….that’d make a forever-remember souvenir! Also, if you can pop into Boudin’s while you’re there, the bread bowl full of chowda is to die for. We were at the one in Union Square, and that chowda after a day of shopping in all the fun stores in that district, was the perfect finish. Yum.

  16. Michele
    June 13, 2011 at 6:29 am

    Julie – that photo not only looks deliciously appetizing, but it is beautiful enough to frame!

  17. Krista
    June 13, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    Hey Julie,

    I happen to be reading this post from my hotel room in San Francisco.(Visiting from B.C.) Couldn’t help but notice your comment about the sandals. The wind here is bitter at night and even when the sun is out, you often need a sweater. My advice…bring a fall type jacket and at least one pair of closed toed shoes! I’m cursing myself for packing nothing but summer stuff.

    It’s great fun, though! You’ll love it…

    • JulieVR
      June 13, 2011 at 11:04 pm

      Hilarious! you don’t happen to be at the Westin on Union Square, do you? great city – and great advice to bring something warm! it’s far chillier than I thought it would be. But gorgeous!

  18. Krista
    June 14, 2011 at 8:34 am

    No not at the Westin. We’re at the Hyatt on Embarcadero across from the Ferry Terminal. Jen was right about the food there. We had an amazing grilled breakfast sandwich at the creamery by the front door. I’m heading over there right now for an early coffee at Peet’s. I will be sure to pick up some gingersnaps at Miette..
    Have a great holiday, Julie. I will say ‘hi’ if I see you milling about at any of the touristy locales!

  19. Kitchen Witch Jenny
    June 14, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    I just made up a batch of pulled pork rub with smoked paprika for my Cafe today! I’ll sneak some out tomorrow and make this.

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