Shrimp is good, but have you ever had smoked shrimp?
Smoking shrimp adds an extra layer of flavor that makes each bite divine. The best part? It's not that difficult. Shrimp is one of the quickest and easiest foods to smoke — once you learn how to do it.
The key to smoking shrimp is not to overcook them. Unlike a thick cut of meat, shrimp is in and out of the smoker in 30 minutes or so and can be seasoned with nearly anything.
From butter and garlic to classic Old Bay seasoning, the options are endless. However, our favorite shrimp recipe is Creole smoked shrimp — southern style.
What Is Southern-Style Cooking?
Rich flavors, generous portions, and mesmerizing aromas that can travel miles, southern-style cooking is known for bringing friends and family together.
Here at Lillies Q, we're big fans of southern-style cooking. We love it so much that we've been serving up Southern BBQ that's true to regional traditions for years.
With every bite, you'll enjoy fresh flavors that are as authentic as the places they come from: spicy cayenne from Memphis, black pepper from northern Alabama, vinegar from eastern North Carolina, and tangy mustard from South Carolina.
Our founder, Chef Charlie McKenna, has multiple awards for creating some of the best BBQ on the planet. From tender meat to drool-worthy sauces bursting with flavor, Chef Charlie is a 2X World BBQ Champion with a passion for southern cooking and a commitment to the craft.
When it comes to southern-style cooking, the team at Lillie's Q knows a thing or two. But don't just take our word for it — try our delicious southern-style Creole smoked shrimp recipe and see for yourself.
Everything You Need To Know To Make Southern-Style Creole Smoked Shrimp
Creole shrimp is divine. Its deep, rich, spicy flavor combined with a beautiful blend of seasonings will take your taste buds to new heights.
Our southern-style Creole smoked shrimp recipe is simple. However, there are a few things you should know to make this dish just as good as we’re promising. Before you start, check out our tips below:
Tip #1: Choose the Right Wood
The wood you use can make all the difference in flavor when it comes to smoking food. While it boils down to preference, some flavors just don't marry as well.
For example, you wouldn't want to use mesquite wood to smoke Southern-style Creole shrimp. Mesquite is typically used for Texas-style barbecue. Additionally, it's the smokiest of the smoking woods and can quickly overpower more delicate Creole flavors.
Here are a few of our favorite woods for smoking Creole shrimp:
- Apple is one of the lightest smoking woods and has a mild, sweet profile. This type of wood provides just a hint of fruity sweetness — it's very subtle.
- Peach is our favorite. It has a mildly sweet flavor similar to hickory — but less intense. Peachwood pairs beautifully with Creole flavors and smells amazing when burning.
- Maple gives a more subtle, sweet, smoky flavor. If you decide to add a little more spice when seasoning the shrimp, maple wood can cut through the heat for a perfect balance of spicy and sweet.
- Cherry is mellow and sweet with a slight tartness. The flavor is mild, so this wood won't dominate or mask the rich Creole flavors.
Tip #2: Choose the Right Shrimp
The star of this dish is shrimp — so it's essential to choose the right shrimp.
Available year-round, fresh shrimp should smell the sea with no hint of ammonia. There should be no black spots or yellowing on the shells, and the shrimp shouldn't feel gritty or slimy.
We suggested sticking with jumbo or colossal shrimp.
Pro Tip: Unless you're 100% sure that the "fresh" shrimp at the store are fresh-off-the-boat, frozen shrimp are sometimes a better option. That’s because "fresh" shrimp at the grocer have most likely undergone an instant freezing process and then were thawed to appear fresh.
The "fresh" shrimp stacked on mountains of ice are getting less fresh every hour. However, the frozen shrimp have been frozen since they were caught or harvested. This preserves the fresh flavor until they are thawed.
Tip #3: Choose the Seasonings
Creole is a refined style of cooking that originates from Louisiana, blending influences from many different cultures. The essence of Creole is found in rich sauces, fresh local herbs, red tomatoes, and seafood — like shrimp.
Often mistaken for cajun seasoning, Creole seasoning primarily relies on herbs like oregano, basil, bay leaf, thyme, rosemary, paprika, and parsley. Cajun seasoning, on the other hand, depends on many different peppers, such as white and black pepper, cayenne peppers, and bell peppers.
If you're looking for heat, cajun seasoning is for you. If you want something with complex flavor, opt for Creole.
We recommend using our Creole Dirt seasoning in our smoked shrimp recipe below. Created to match our love of seafood, this blend of spices is perfect for shrimp and delicious on meats, poultry, and veggies.
The Recipe: Southern-Style Creole Smoked Shrimp
Let's dive into this Southern-style Creole smoked shrimp recipe.
- Lillie's Q Creole Dirt
Step 1: Begin by removing the heads from the shrimp, leaving the shells on.
Step 2: Then, place the shrimp on a rack in your smoker and smoke at 225 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes.
Step 3: Remove the shrimp from the smoker and let them chill in an ice bath to stop them from cooking further. Once cooled, pull the shrimp off the ice and drain.
Step 4: Grab the Lillie's Q Creole Dirt seasoning and cover the shrimp. Rotate the shrimp to ensure they are seasoned all the way around.
Step 5: Serve the smoked shrimp with cocktail sauce.
A Final Word
There you have it — everything you need to know to make Southern-style Creole smoked shrimp.
Here at Lillie's Q, we have a passion for serving Southern cooking that's true to regional traditions. Thanks to our founder, Chef Charlie McKenna's Grandma Lillie, a full family lineage of barbeque passion, and a commitment to craft, we believe we've mastered it.
Whether you're looking for authentic Southern barbecue or sauces and rubs that are second to none, you can count on us to deliver authentically crafted with all-natural ingredients. Once you taste our mouth-watering Southern cooking, you'll be hooked for life.
Check us out today and treat your taste buds to a divine Southern treat.