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Cookin' ATVS Style: New Orleans-Style Barbecue Shrimp Pastalaya

It might not be a monster, but here’s an experiment for your tailgating pleasure this fall.

Billy Gomila

It's become a summer ritual for me to experiment with some new tailgating dishes for the impending fall. It's yielded us two straight summers of Jambalayathan, but I really wanted to try something new this year. Barbecue shrimp has always been one of my favorite dishes and one that I haven't tried too often.

So I had the idea to work it into a one-pot type of dish with the use of a pasta that works really well at absorbing flavorful liquid: orzo.


2 lbs shrimp (21-25 count, or as preferred), peeled and deveined
1 cup (2 sticks) of butter, room temperature
1 tbsp olive oil
2 16-oz packages, orzo pasta
1 12-oz bottle Abita Turbodog, or similar beer
1/4 cup Worcestshire Sauce
2 14.5 cans chicken stock (if you have seafood stock, go for it, I worked with what I had)
Juice of 2 lemons
1 pod garlic, chopped
3 shallots, diced
2 red bell peppers, diced
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
Hot sauce to taste

Seasoning Mix

1 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
1 tsp red chili flakes
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp dried thyme leaves
2 tsp granulated garlic
1 tbsp onion powder
3 tbsp fresh chopped rosemary

Note: I only used about half of the thyme and rosemary here, but trust me on doubling it. It'll make a difference.

Everybody knows barbecue shrimp needs some sort of starch to soak up all that garlic-y, rich love in the sauce, and French bread is always great for that. But you can always combine it. I've seen it served over rice before, or even some gnocchi. But I thought orzo might offer the best of all worlds.

Typically, barbecue shrimp is always better with nice, big jumbo shrimp with the heads and shells still on to get that extra flavor in the sauce, but again, we were going for a one-pot, on-bowl dish here for tailgating purposes.


1.       Combine your seasoning mix ingredients in a small bowl. Take about half of the mixture and toss your shrimp in it and set aside.

BBQ Shrimp Pastalaya

BBQ Shrimp Pastalaya

2.       Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over about medium to medium-high heat, and add the diced shallots, and start sautéing. I gave shallots a try here just to see if it maybe added a little extra flavor. I think if I were doing this for an actual tailgate I might just go with regular onions. Still, it came out pretty good.

BBQ Shrimp Pastalaya

3.       You'll want to start adding the butter in chips, one or two pieces at a time. The goal here is to melt the butter without burning. That's why I added in the olive oil. Raises the smoke point a little bit.

BBQ Shrimp Pastalaya

4.       Once the shallots are translucent, add the bell pepper and garlic. I went with red here for the color. Go as the spirit moves you there.

BBQ Shrimp Pastalaya

5.       Once all the butter is melted and the onions/pepper/garlic are good and wilted, add the remaining seasoning mix. Stir well and cook for another 2 minutes or so to let the flavors marry.

6.       Add the lemon juice, worcestshire, beer and hot sauce. Bring to a boil, lower the temperature to simmer, and reduce the mixture by about half, stirring frequently to make sure nothing burns or gets too sticky. This will take a while, maybe 20 minutes, and the idea here is to reduce this mixture down to more of a base that will keep its potency when you add the stock.

BBQ Shrimp Pastalaya

7.       Once the base is reduced, stir in your stock. Bring to a boil for about a minute, then add your orzo, again, stirring frequently. The pasta will start absorbing everything really quick. If you think you need a little extra liquid, feel free to add some extra stock or a little water.

BBQ Shrimp Pastalaya

8.       The orzo will puff up and be cooked in just a few minutes. From there, fold in your shrimp, stir well and cook until they turn pink and curl up. Toss in the green onions, stir and serve.

BBQ Shrimp Pastalaya

BBQ Shrimp Pastalaya

This recipe will feed 6-8.