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Barbecue Shrimp and Grits

55 mins
15 mins
4 to 6

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55 mins
15 mins
4 to 6


For the shrimp:
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine ground fennel seed
  • 3/4 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 pound jumbo shrimp, head-on, peeled and deveined
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temp
For the grits:
  • 5 cups whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups stone ground grits
  • 1 loaf of French bread, for serving
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
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Chef notes

Who doesn’t love a good serving of shrimp and grits? In New Orleans, we love barbecue shrimp and, no, it’s not just slathered with some barbecue sauce. This is a traditional NOLA dish made with a lot of seasoning, herbs and damn good grits. Head-on shrimp are coated in a rich and buttery sauce loaded with Creole spice, that, when you plate up is best ladled over the dish so that there's plenty to get mopped up with a loaf of soft, crusty French bread.

If you're wary of a two-starch dish, don't be! The soppin' bread may just be the most important part of this and your tastebuds will thank you for it.

Related: Get more shoppable recipes from TODAY chefs 

Technique tip: Try your best to get top quality fresh shrimp with the heads on. It makes all the difference. 

Use stone ground grits. When they're done cooking, they should be a little loose in texture.

Swap option: You can substitute coconut milk for whole milk. 


For the Shrimp:

  1. In a large bowl, combine pepper, fennel and salt and toss shrimp in the spice blend until well coated. Set aside.
  2. Heat a large sauté pan with oil over medium heat.
  3. When oil just starts to smoke, add shrimp and cook for one minute. Flip shrimp and cook another minute.
  4. Add garlic and sweat for 30 seconds.
  5. Add Worcestershire, cream, lemon juice and hot sauce to pan. Reduce sauce to double the cream's consistency, about one minute.
  6. Remove pan from heat and add butter, shaking pan to emulsify.

For the Grits:

  1. In a large thick bottomed sauce pan bring milk and salt to a low simmer.
  2. Add grits and continue cooking for 45 minutes. Make sure to stir frequently. If grits become too thick, add a little water.
  3. Stir in butter.
  4. To plate, divide grits among 4 to 6 bowls and spoon shrimp and sauce over. Serve with toasted French bread (aka, soppin bread).
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