Thursday, June 23, 2011

Cajun Barbecue Shrimp

Inspiration for preparing food comes from all different places.  I spend a good amount of time reading recipes and methods in magazines, books, the internet, and the back of products.  TV provides endless programming and ideas with my favorites being Kitchen Nightmares and Man vs. Food.  Restaurant experiences and home dining, good and bad, have led me to create dishes.  Even poorly executed meals can provide inspiration if the underlying idea has value.

For as much as I research food, perhaps ten percent or less of all recipes or ideas make their way into the kitchen and onto my plate.  What is on hand and what is seasonal are always formidable considerations.  The weather drives some course decisions as well as dictating the cooking method.  As it is now summer time I have been doing more grilling.

A word about shrimp and ingredients in general:  the fresher and less processed they are the better they will taste - by orders of magnitude.    For this reason I typically get raw fresh or frozen shrimp in the shell.  Shelling and deveining shrimp takes time but is well worth the end result.  Similar story with garlic, freshly minced garlic tastes way better than minced garlic in a jar ever will.    

This Cajun barbecue shrimp recipe was inspired by the recipe on a bottle of Makers Mark barbecue sauce.  Deviations were made, which I feel were for the better.  It is a rare event for me to make something on a product label but this one was very well received by all my guests.  This recipe was an appetizer for a party of 15-20 people.

Combine in a large bowl and let marinate in the fridge for a couple of hours:

5 lbs shrimp, raw 16 – 20 Count in shell – deveined and shelled
2/3 cup Makers Mark Barbecue sauce
3/4 stick butter, melted
Juice from 2 lemons
Cayenne pepper to taste (2-4 tablespoons)
Fresh Garlic, 1 head, minced

Put the shrimp on skewers and grill (I prefer charcoal) until done.  I flipped these a few times while on the grill and kept a watchful eye.  I would say each skewer took a little less than 10 minutes total. 

Grilling is a much nuanced affair with many pitfalls.  I spent over a year failing at it before some good friends mentored me along.  I have learned a lot and continue to learn.  Mastering the basics such as patience, having a good bed of coals and a seasoned non-stick grate are all essential for peak barbecue success.   

Next time I make this recipe I will probably mix it up by adding some green in the way of fresh minced parsley.  I will also remember to take pictures for food posts going forward.  Chances are I will also be making a bourbon based barbecue sauce from scratch when the fresh garden tomatoes come in.

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