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Mexican Barbecue Shrimp

Cook Time:
40 mins
Prep Time:
30 mins

Chef notes

I'm in New Orleans, so we like to find any way possible to use the beautiful Gulf shrimp. This dish takes a staple New Orleans ingredient but adds the flavors of my Mexican culture.

Technique tip: Shrimp cook quickly to be sure to keep watch. Don't crowd the pan.

Swap option: Instead of anchovies, you can use capers or olives (keeping the same procedure) in the butter.

For more on the Aaron Sanchez Impact Fund, head to their website here.


Aaron's Adobo Seasoning (makes about 1½ cups)
  • 1/4 cup cumin seeds
  • 1/4 cup coriander seeds
  • 1/4 cup fennel seeds
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 pasilla chiles, stemmed, seeded, deveined, and torn into small pieces
  • 2 ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded, deveined, and torn into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup dried whole oregano (preferably Mexican)
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup Spanish paprika (pimento), preferably sweet or hot
Barbecue Shrimp Sauce
  • 1 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup roasted garlic, smashed into paste
  • 5 cups shrimp stock
Ancho-Anchovy Butter
  • 1-2 ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded and deveined
  • 1-2 anchovies
  • 1 tablespoon roasted garlic
  • 1 stick butter, at room temperature
  • 1 pound U-10 shrimp, head-on, tail-on, peeled and deveined
  • salt
  • 1/4 cup Aaron's Adobo Seasoning (recipe above)
  • vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup roasted poblano, peeled and cut into strips
  • 1 cup Barbecue Shrimp Sauce (recipe above)
  • 2 tablespoons Mexican oregano
  • 1/4 cup Ancho-Anchovy Butter (recipe above)
  • 2 lemons, for squeezing
  • chopped cilantro or micro cilantro, for garnish
  • sliced French or ciabatta bread, toasted, for serving


For Aaron's adobo seasoning:


Heat a dry skillet over medium-low heat. Pour in the cumin, coriander, fennel and mustard seeds along with the pieces of pasilla and ancho chiles. Toast, stirring constantly, until it's very aromatic and just beings to smoke, about 3 minutes.


Dump the mixture onto a plate and let it cool to room temperature. Grind it to a fine powder in a spice grinder or clean coffee grinder.


Put the powder in a large bowl and add the oregano, onion powder, garlic powder and paprika. Stir them really well to combine.


Store the adobo in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag in a cool, dark place for up to a month.

For the Barbecue Shrimp Sauce:

In a sauce pot, add the Worcestershire sauce and bring to a simmer and let reduce by about half.

Add the garlic and the shrimp stock and continue to reduce again by half. Skim the surface of any impurities and then strain.

For the Ancho-Anchovy Butter:


Take the ancho chiles and steep in boiling water for about 20 minutes, until rehydrated.


In a blender, add the anchovies, garlic and the rehydrated chiles; puree into a paste. Whip the paste into the softened butter until evenly mixed.


Roll up the butter in plastic wrap or parchment paper and refrigerate (optional).

For the shrimp:


Season the shrimp with salt and Aaron's Adobo Seasoning. Heat a large sauté pan with vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and cook on both sides until a nice sear is achieved but the shrimp are not cooked all the way. Don't crowd the pan; you should do this in small batches.


Remove the shrimp from the pan and rest on a sheet tray.


Add the roasted poblano strips and sauté for a minute or two. Deglaze with the Barbecue Shrimp Sauce and let come to a simmer. Let the sauce simmer for about 2 minutes and add the shrimp back to the pan.


Add the Mexican oregano and the Ancho-Anchovy Butter to the pan, and stir in.

To serve:

Once the butter is emulsified and the shrimp are finished cooking, plate the shrimp in an entrée-sized bowl, topped with lots of the sauce, and garnish with a nice squeeze of lemon and cilantro. Serve with the toasted bread.