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Ingredients (14)

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Dash of hot pepper sauce
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 3 pounds large shrimp with heads on
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Since these tangy, buttery shrimp are neither cooked on a barbecue grill nor with barbecue sauce, the name may mislead the uninitiated. It’s the same way New Orleans natives call the median of a boulevard “neutral ground.”

The shrimp fat from the head and the flavor from the shells add to this signature Crescent City dish. Eating the shrimp is a funky proposition involving removing the heads with a pinch and sucking out the buttery sauce. This technique is best accomplished accompanied by the haunting tunes of Dr. John and his Medicine Show, with your sleeves rolled up above the elbow and with lots of French bread for sopping.


  1. 1Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. 2In a large ovenproof skillet over low heat, melt the butter with the olive oil. Add the Worcestershire sauce, garlic, salt, black and cayenne peppers, bay leaf, thyme, rosemary, oregano, hot sauce, and lemon slices. Add the shrimp and stir to coat well with the sauce.
  3. 3Place in the oven and bake, basting with the sauce occasionally, for 20 minutes, or until the shrimp are pink and the tails just slightly curved.
  4. 4Remove the skillet from the oven. Remove the bay leaf from the sauce, then spoon the shrimp and sauce into bowls, and serve.
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