Tailgate Shrimp – A Little Spice Is Nice

Shrimp-CookedToothpick

Spicy Tailgate Shrimp tastes good even when you’re not standing in a parking lot. You don’t even need a plate – a toothpick works just great!

It’s been almost 24 hours since I watched my Oregon Ducks facepalm at the College Football National Championship. There’s always next year, right? Sigh.

The night started out with high hopes and lots of yummy food at my friend’s house. My contribution to the spread was Spicy Tailgate Shrimp. It’s a make-ahead dish that is portable, cooks quickly and is a crowd pleaser.

My first taste of this shrimp was several years ago at one of the Chargers home games, where the tailgate was often the highlight of the day. A dear friend came up with this recipe and quickly rattled off a list of ingredients which I promptly forgot (I’ll blame the beer) and then tried to remember much later when I made the dish.

This is a perfect dish to make for the upcoming Superbowl or any other pot-luck type event. It would also be delicious over linguine or rice for a main dish.

The shrimp can be cooked on a barbecue, in the oven or on the stove top so pick your poison. It’s versatile.

After a few variations on ingredients, I’m finally satisfied with the recipe listed below.

Warning: here comes my “know your food” rant…Let’s talk shrimp. Or actually not. I get really grossed out when I think about foreign shrimp farms. Read this article if you want to know more. This is a more helpful article that breaks down what type of shrimp to buy. I buy wild caught shrimp from the U.S. and rarely eat shrimp when I’m at a restaurant unless I know its origin.

Back to my delicious recipe now that you’re thoroughly grossed out.

Shrimp-Shells

I prefer shell-on shrimp but if you want to make this recipe even quicker, get peeled and deveined shrimp. Don’t buy the pre-cooked ones!

Clean your shrimp if you buy them with the shell on. If they are already shell-less and deveined rinse them under cold water and let them drain while you prepare the other ingredients. I buy 26/30s or 31/40s. We’re going for a hefty bite-size here. Any bigger and it’s awkward and any smaller is just silly. WTF am I talking about? Read this for shrimp sizing because jumbo shrimp is just an oxymoron and you can’t eat those.

Chop a crap load of fresh garlic and gather up your olive oil and dried seasonings. There are a lot so make sure you have them all: cayenne, red pepper flakes, paprika, old bay, onion powder, salt and pepper. Yep, that’s it for prep. Told ya it’s quick.

Put your clean shrimp in a bowl and add all of the ingredients on top. Now, if you like less heat, decrease the cayenne by half. Add more cayenne if you like it hotter. The amount I’ve included in this recipe was consumed by a room full of white people so you can guess that it’s got just a little kick but not that much.

Shrimp-Spices

Stir it up.Shrimp-Stirred

Dump it into a zip top bag and refrigerate for at least two hours or up to 24 hours. I set mine in the 8 x 8 foil pan that I’ll use to cook the shrimp.Shrimp-Baggy

When you’re ready to cook the shrimp you have several options as I mentioned. Regardless of the method, remember that shrimp cook quickly!  It will take roughly 10 minutes for any method. They have their own built in thermometers so once they are opaque (not see through) then they’re done. If you’re taking this to a tailgate, put the “shrimp on the barbie” (in the foil pan) on medium low heat. Put them in a 425°F oven or on medium heat if using a stove top (put them in a saute pan, not the foil pan). After a few minutes, check on them and stir them to ensure even cooking.

Once cooked, squeeze fresh lemon juice over the top and dig in. I’ve always eaten them with a toothpick

Shrimp-Cooked

 

Spicy Tailgate Shrimp
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A quick and easy make-ahead appetizer for tailgating, summer barbecues or any party!
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8 - 10 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs wild-caught shrimp, cleaned
  • ⅓ to ½ cup organic olive oil (use your judgement...if the shrimp look dry use more)
  • 3 tbsp chopped organic garlic (about 6 cloves) - or more if you like garlic
  • 1 tbsp old bay seasoning
  • 1 tsp organic paprika
  • ½ tsp organic onion powder
  • ½ tsp organic red pepper flakes (add more or less to adjust intensity)
  • ¼ tsp organic cayenne (add more or less to adjust intensity)
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¾ tsp organic black pepper
  • 1 organic lemon, juiced
Directions
  1. Clean and rinse shrimp.
  2. Add shrimp and all ingredients except the lemon to a bowl.
  3. Stir thoroughly and add olive oil if it looks dry.
  4. Refrigerate for 2 - 24 hours.
  5. Cook in a foil pan on the barbecue or in the oven. Use a saute pan if cooking on the stove.
  6. Add lemon juice to the shrimp after they are cooked.

 

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