A few years ago, I remember eating barbecue shrimp as a band played and a pianist worked the keyboard of an old, upright piano in the corner of a house-turned restaurant. I vaguely remember the festive music, but definitely can’t forget the shells-on shrimp appetizer. Because I always ate this dish at that restaurant, I associate these spicy, buttery shrimp with happy music and hard-working musicians.
This recipe for barbecue shrimp is not cooked on a grill or brushed with a sweet barbecue sauce. Instead, it is a New Orleans-style barbecue recipe with butter, seasonings, and spices. Traditionally, this dish was made with a lot of butter, but many health-conscious recipes omit more than half of the butter, as does this one.
This recipe also removes the shells from the shrimp before cooking. The shells will create a very flavorful dish, but there is the inconvenience of peeling shells from sauce-covered shrimp. I removed the shells in this recipe just to make it easier to eat.
Perhaps the best thing about this dish, other than its delicious taste, is that it is unexpectedly easy to prepare. It is a one-pan recipe that cooks very quickly so any accompanying side dishes need to be prepared first.
You can serve it as an appetizer or as a main dish served with rice. Either way, be sure to have plenty of sliced French bread for soaking up the sauce!