"Mom, feel like cooking some shrimp?"

Did Justin Wilson ever say “Gare – on – tee”?

Did Paul Prudhomme create blackened red fish?

Did Emeril Lagasse say “BAM” enough to make you sick?

Is John Besh cute? Did John Besh write a cookbook?

The short answer to all of the above is Y – E – S !

ME:  “Yes, son, how would you like them cooked?”

SON NO. 2:  “How about I peel them and you fry them and we have poboys?  I can pick up the poboy buns, lettuce, tomato.  What else do you need?”

ME:  “Sounds good to me son. Do you mind if I use a few to make a recipe for my blog friends?”

SON NO. 2:  “Sure, Mom.  No problem.  Whatcha making?”

ME:  “Louisiana Fish Fry’s Barbecue Shrimp Mix.”

SON NO. 2:  “Okay, sounds good.”

On the predetermined day, my second son, Danno, brought in two bags of frozen, but beautiful, nice-sized shrimp.  He peeled them and I cut them down the middle of the back, which we call “butterflying” them.  Working on boats out in the oil field (which encompasses all of southern Louisiana), has its perks.

Just last week, before he got off the boat, they were anchored out near Pass des Isles and he put a hurting on the red fish from the back deck of the tug boat.  Good thing they cleaned them and ate them on the spot, because it is against fisheries regulations to have filleted fish on the boat.  Did you know that?  Well, maybe it doesn’t apply to commercial oil industry vessels and maybe it just applies to sport fishing boats (I’ll have to find out).

Another perk of working out on the water is fresh seafood.  These shrimp came straight off a shrimp boat.  It is perfectly legal to flag down a commercial fishing vessel and offer to buy shrimp or oysters or crab right off the boat.  That is where these shrimp came from.

Most of the nation fail to realize that there exists a unique symbiotic relationship between the oil industry, which has contributed to wetland loss, and the fishermen, who need those injured wetlands for their livelihoods.

The relationship?

They share the same waters.

Is it a love/hate relationship?

Yes, sometimes it is.

However, when a young man grows up on the bayou as a second, third, or fourth generation fisherman who has been on boats of one kind or another since conception, it is not a big leap from running a shrimp boat to running a boat for the oil industry.

The Captain worked on shrimp boats with his father as a young man.  Back from Viet Nam, fresh out of the army and not sure what was next, he did what came natural–he jumped back on shrimp boats.  However, as the oil boom hit in the seventies, the dollar signs offered by the crew boat companies to locals was hard to resist.

Going to “captain’s school” and getting a U.S. Coast Guard Captain’s license back then was not quite as rigorous as it is today.  Many a young man made the switch from shrimp boat to supply boat during the seventies and early eighties.  The Captain included.

I’m proud to tell you that Son No. 2 now has his U.S. Coast Guard Captain’s license and is several months into his eighteen-month training that will earn him a towing endorsement.  Then he will be a “tugboat captain” in his own right and will stop doing the dangerous work he does now of filling and discharging flammable liquids in the barges they push with the tugs.

And now, on with the recipe.

Louisiana Fish Fry BBQ Shrimp

WARNING:  The bag instructions call for 5 pounds of shrimp and about four sticks of butter.  I divided the mix into fourths, and only did that much.  You will also need water.

First, follow the directions to make the sauce in a sauce pan with melted butter, mix, and water.

I have made this recipe with great success in the past, using a baking dish as they direct on the package.  However, because I was only doing a small portion this time, I decided to do something different.

I put the shrimp in individual ramekins.  Since they were large, about four per ramekin.  I put them on a tray and into the oven.  Note that the shrimp are not peeled.  More on that later.

Into the 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.

They look appetizing, don’t they?

Well, this was a flop.  The shrimp were not completely cooked.  Next time, I will cook them in a baking dish as recommended.  Next time, I will PEEL them, because it is very, very messy trying to peel these hot shrimp and eat them while still hot.   I’m not sure why they suggest leaving them unshelled.  Anyone know?

Again, this is a very good recipe if you make it according to directions.  The sauce has a very delicious flavor–it’s just messy!

Bon apetit!


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  1. I think I’ll give them a try, they look good. I’ll leave the shell on though. I tried another brand using peeled shrimp and the shrimp were too dry (even cutting down on the cooking time) and the flavor was very intense. Besidesthat, I get a break…Hubby will have to peel his own if he wants to eat. LOL

    1. I am very proud of him, Sue, and it’s interesting that I was thinking of you as I composed the part about him . . . with continued healing thoughts for you. Blessings.

  2. If they were not completely cooked, you just had BBQ sushi. I am one of those strange few which will enjoy the occasional raw piece of seafood, I just don’t care for most of those expensive fish they use for sushi. I mean, who is going to count the little shrimpers anyway.

    When you are talking about a towing endorsement, is that specific to a region or a class or weight requirement? Is a Workboat Captain off shore the same as a Tugboat Captain on a river or intercoastal? Is a Pilot required to be a Captain first? Is there still the same animosity towards Pilots as there was years ago by the boat skippers because of the inability for a non-family member to become one?

    Wow I didn’t realize I had so many Skipper questions, Skipper.

    PS Please don’t tell me that a boat Skipper is no longer called a Skipper. I wonder where that comes from, Hmmmmm?

    Inquiring mind this morning.

    1. PS:: There used to be a little place called “Pilot Island” down on the lower Mississippi river which was basically that, where the river pilots hung out awaiting pickups, is that still there? I don’t remember any way to it except by boat but I could be wrong. heck by now they would probably have heliports.

    2. Oh, and BTW I always assumed (there is that word), that the shells were left on BBQ shrimp because when BBQ’ing on a grill, they held in the juices to keep the shrimp from becoming dry and hard, as shrimp can quickly become. When it was brought inside and Faux BBQ’d (Oven BBQ’d), the shell was left on for the appearance. If you get BBQ sauce on the shell, and peel the shrimp, you get sauce on your hands and hence on the shrimp. Sort of like the Boil seasoning that people use on the crawfish after its been boiled in water.

      Course what do I know, I like shrimp raw too!

      1. What you say about leaving shells on to grill them makes sense. Guess that’s why we resorted to peeling them and then wrapping them in back to put them on the grill YUM.

    3. All I know is that there are different grades of licenses depending on the tonnage of vessels worked. A towing endorsement goes along with a 100-Ton license and is required in order to “tow barges”, which is what tugboats do. A workboat captain, tugboat captain, and crewboat captain ALL start with the same basic 100-Ton license. However, most workboat captains soon upgrade to 200, 300, 500, 1600, or unlimited tonnage according to the size of the boat they want to run AND can prove sea time worked upon vessels of same tonnage. As far as river pilots, I don’t think it’s animosity as much as jealousy. And Pilottown, LA still exists, as far as I know. The term skipper is still used, but it’s used more by dispatchers referring to captains, than captains referring to themselves!

  3. More coffee please, LOL

    If you like BBQ’d shrimps, you should try BBQ’d oysters!

    Ok, I am leaving now….. I promise.

      1. I prefer my oysters raw and on the half shell with a squeeze of lemon juice and a bit of cocktail sauce spiced w/minced horseradish.

        Or else wrapped w/a shrimp and then a piece of bacon, skewered and grilled.

  4. The BBQ’d shrimp look terrific, and my appetite’s whetted now – spent a whole afternoon down in San Leon with fresh-shucked oysters, cold boiled shrimp and coconut shrimp. Oh – and a little Landshark, too. Now I’ll have to give these a try.

    Speaking of pilots, if you want to see some of the best photos ever from one of the nicest Houston ship pilots ever, check out OneEighteen’s photostream on Flickr. If you ever need such a photo for one of your articles, he’s willing to share his work, gratis. As I said, very nice man. 😉

      1. Yes, ma’am, I eat raw oysters. Well, as long as I know where they come from – and down at the Topwater every one of those babies comes with an address and a birth certificate! LOL

        Oh – and there are people who bring them in tote sacks. You can trust somebody with a burlap tote sack. 🙂

  5. All the talk of seafood is making me so jealous and hungry! You would think I’d learn by now to eat before I read your blog!

  6. It got to me so bad that I had to pick up some shrimp yesterday! And they were from LA per the package label. I have been craving some of BWs Redneck Gumbo! I love that stuff!

  7. Hubby pulled his back out so, he wanted stuffed shrimp and I pampered him. I had found a package at Sams club and pulled them from the freezer and fixed those for him. They were pretty decent, a bit spicy and I managed to overcook them a bit but, all in all, not too bad. I guess I’ll get the gumbo this coming Sunday.

  8. I have a recipe for BBQ shrimp that is very similar to this, and it also recommends you leave the peeling on. When we eat them, we suck the juices out before peeling them…..kinda like “sucking the head” on crawfish! So yummy!!

  9. Delivering a message for BW! Her computer has crashed, so she will only be online sporadically until she finds another tether to the cyber world. Patience!