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"Ain't No Love In The Heart Of The City" New Orleans Style barbecue shrimp

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New Orleans style bbq shrimp appetizer cooked in beer-based glaze.

Despite the confusing name, this barbecue shrimp recipe is neither grilled nor does it contain barbecue sauce. There is nothing about it that says barbecue, but it is as delicious as all get out, and will make you forget about such details.

These fat, juicy shrimp with butter, garlic, spices, beer, and Worcestershire sauce glistening all over their bodies were an instant classic in my house when I served them.

platter of barbecue shrimp piled high


I had my first plate of barbecue shrimp during one of my early adult trips to the Big Easy city of New Orleans. I had driven down with my Uncle Rick, who only carried two cassettes - Bobby Bland and The O'Jays. We listened to Bobby on the way there and The O'Jays on the way back.

I learned all the lyrics to Ain't No Love In The Heart Of The City and can now imitate the famous Bobby Bland snorting sound. We stopped at this hole in the wall shack for some grub and I had my first taste of barbecue shrimp.


  • Large shrimp
  • Lager style beer
  • Creole Seasoning
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Butter
  • Garlic cloves
  • Lemons
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • Fresh parsley


Remove the intestinal vein from the shrimp by cutting along the spine from the head to the tail and pulling the black vein from the shrimp.

Season the shrimp with parts of the creole spice mix

Heat a skillet large enough to cook all the shrimp at one time. Add beer and cook on high heat for about 3 minutes. Beer should be bubbling and reduced slightly.

Add the shrimp, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, and garlic, then cook over moderately high heat for 2-3 minutes.
Reduce heat to low and add cubes of butter, stirring constantly.
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. Stir every 5 minutes or so. To serve, plate the shrimp, then top with sauce. Garnish with the parsley and serve with warm french bread.


Season as you go. Season the shrimp ahead of time, season the liquid mix, season at the end.

Choose as large a shrimp as available to you. Larger shrimp will hold up to the cooking without drying out. Larger shrimp also provide more surface area for the sauce

Your call on whether to keep the shells, heads, and tails intact. I typically remove the heads and use to make a homemade shrimp stock. I like to keep the shells on as they protect the shrimp from drying out and they contain a bunch of flavor. But keep in mind peeling barbecue shrimp can be a messy endeavor. At minimum remove everything except for the tail.

If keeping the shells on, make sure to keep a roll of napkins on hand. As you peel the juicy shrimp, don't sweat the sauce rolling off the shrimp from your fingers down your forearms. It's just part of the deal. The best part is the finishing move. Make sure you have some white crusty French bread on hand to sop up that sauce that's also laced with butter, lemon, and beer.


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making this recipe

If you make this tasty barbecue shrimp recipe, please come back and leave me a comment below with your feedback. Definitely take a photo of the dish and be sure to tag #foodfidelity so that I can see them. 

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platter of barbecue shrimp piled high

New Orleans Style Barbecue Shrimp

New Orleans style barbecue shrimp featuring shrimp in the shells cooking a rich buttery sauce made with garlic, beer, creole seasonings, lemon, and Worcestershire sauce.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Cajun
Servings: 4 people
Author: Marwin Brown


  • 2 pounds large gulf shrimp head and tail on, unpeeled
  • 1 lager style bottle of beer
  • 3 tablespoon of creole seasoning
  • ½ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup of butter
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic
  • 2 lemons juiced
  • ½ tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons of ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley chopped
  • 1 loaf French bread


  • Heat large skillet on medium high heat beer for 3 minutes. Beer should be bubbling.
  • Add shrimp, spices, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, and garlic and cook over moderately high heat for 2-3 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to low and add cubes of butter, stirring constantly and adding more cubes after each additional cube has melted.
  • 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. To serve plate shrimp and pour the sauce over the top. Serve with warm French bread.


  • Warm the bread and serve heated
  • To emulsify the sauce, be sure to add a little butter at a time while stirring rapidly.
  • Don’t overcook the shrimp or they’ll become tough and hard to peel.


Serving: 0g | Carbohydrates: 0g | Protein: 0g | Fat: 0g | Saturated Fat: 0g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0g | Trans Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 0mg | Potassium: 0mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 0g | Vitamin A: 0IU | Vitamin C: 0mg | Calcium: 0mg | Iron: 0mg
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