Best-Ever BBQ Shrimp

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If you love shrimp and if you love BBQ, you are going to absolutely flip for this recipe.

Grilled shrimp is, of course, fabulous. But we have to say, our Homemade BBQ Sauce is what puts these incredible crustaceans on the culinary map! Perfect for entertaining or an easy weeknight dinner! Serve with Southern Baked Beans and Slow-Cooker Corn on the Cob!

An overhead view of a pile of BBQ shrimp sitting on a cutting board with a small white bowl filled with homemade BBQ sauce nearby.

How To Make the Best-Ever BBQ Shrimp

The great thing about this dish is that you can make the BBQ sauce ahead of time, and then grill the shrimp in a matter of minutes once you’re ready to eat.

The Cajun seasoning adds a nice bump of flavor and then the smoky flavor from the grill is the perfect combination. But just to be clear, New Orleans-style BBQ shrimp does NOT include BBQ sauce. This is a different version. 


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The Ingredients You Will Need

As you will see, once you get the BBQ sauce made, there aren’t a lot of ingredients required to make the best grilled shrimp in town.

Here’s What You’ll Need to Have on Hand

Shrimp – Raw, cleaned, and extra-large. Gulf shrimp is our favorite.
Olive oil – Or extra-olive oil, or even vegetable oil
Cajun seasoning – If you can’t find it, see our recipe for it in the Expert Tip below
BBQ SauceHomemade is definitely best, but in a pinch, use your favorite store-bought

EXPERT TIP: If you can’t find cajun seasoning, just get a large bowl, use this recipe to make your own. Keep extra in a jar with a tight-fitting lid.

Mix together 1 tbsp of the following:

  • Garlic powder
  • Italian seasoning
  • Paprika
  • Kosher salt

And then 1 tsp of the following:

  • Black pepper
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Ground thyme
  • Onion powder

A glass bowl of large uncooked shrimp that has been tossed with Cajun seasoning and olive oil.

Tips for Perfect BBQ Shrimp

Use Fresh, Large Shrimp – Fresh, large shrimp are ideal for grilling as they hold up well and have a sweet and succulent flavor. Be sure to clean and devein the shrimp before grilling.

Make Homemade BBQ Sauce – This is super important. Homemade BBQ Sauce is easy to make and tastes much better than store-bought versions. It can be made

Don’t Overcook the Shrimp – Overcooked shrimp will become tough and rubbery, so be sure to grill the shrimp until they are just cooked through, which should take only a few minutes per side. Grill over direct heat on your grill. Use heat-proof gloves to flip the shrimp, if possible.

EXPERT TIP: When you prepare the BBQ sauce, you can leave the sauteéd onions in the sauce for a more chunky sauce, or you can press the sauce through a sieve for a smooth, silky sauce. We prefer the smooth version, but that’s up to you.

A person using a wooden spatula to press homemade BBQ sauce through a mesh sieve into a glass bowl, leaving sauteéd onions behind.

How to Serve

Grilled BBQ Shrimp is messy. That’s part of the charm of it.

Be sure to have plenty of napkins on hand. A big roll of paper towels is perfect.

We love to pile the grilled shrimp on a large cutting board or on a platter with a pair of tongs. For a special touch, provide small bowls (plastic works great) for folks to have their own individual BBQ dipping sauce. No risk of double dipping!

EXPERT TIP: Apply the shrimp liberally with the BBQ sauce as it is grilling. The heat will cause the sugar in the sauce to caramelize and make an amazing crispness to the shrimp. It’s okay if the tails char a bit, it adds flavor and looks impressive.

A person using a large rubber brush to apply barbeque sauce onto a row of shrimp that has been skewered and it on the grate of a charcoal grill.

Other Amazing Grilled Recipes To Try

We love firing up the grill and here are some of our all-time favorite grilling recipes that we’re pretty certain you’ll love, too!

Grilled BBQ Pulled Pork Pizza
BBQ Beer Can Chicken
Best Grilled Chicken
Easy Grilled Chicken Wings with Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing
Best-Ever Gourmet Beef Sliders
Grilled Tri-Tip with Santa Maria Salsa
Amazing Lamb Chops
Grilled Oysters with Roasted Tomato Butter
Perfect Salmon Burger

These are incredible in their own right, but isn’t this shrimp catching your eye right about now?

A straight-on view of a pile of grilled BBQ shrimp on a cutting board with a kitchen brush nearby that has been dipped in BBQ sauce.

Barbecue is loved by Americans and folks all over the globe. There is something about that smoky, delicious ritual that makes so many people so happy. Learn about the Origins of Barbecue from The Smithsonian Magazine. It’s pretty amazing.

This shrimp is so deeply flavorful, that we have friends and family who aren’t even big fans of shrimp say they can’t get enough of this BBQ shrimp.

It’s perfect for serving guests for an outdoor BBQ. Make enough of the sauce so you’ll have extra on hand and can make this dish any time of the week! It’s great baked, too!

And remember, it’s a little messy, but that adds to the fun! Have plenty of napkins! Wet-naps are even better!

A person lifting a grilled BBQ shrimp out a small bowl filled with homemade BBQ sauce.

Ready to make the best shrimp on the “barbie” in town? Go for it!

And when you do, be sure to take a photo of it, post it on Instagram, and tag @HowToFeedaLoon and hashtag #HowToFeedaLoon!

An overhead view of a pile of BBQ shrimp sitting on a cutting board with a small white bowl filled with homemade BBQ sauce nearby.

Best-Ever BBQ Shrimp

This truly is the Best-Ever BBQ Shrimp.  It's so easy and so incredibly delicious.  The homemade BBQ sauce is the secret to putting these over the top.  The sauce can be made up to 5 days in advance.
Print Pin Rate
Course: Entree
Cuisine: BBQ / Southern
Keyword: easy BBQ sauce recipe, how to grill shrimp
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
BBQ Sauce Prep and Chill Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 516kcal


  • 1 Gas, charcoal, or electric grill
  • 4 skewers if wooden, soak them in water for 30 minutes


  • 1 lb extra large shrimp shells removed and deveined (leave the tails on, if desired)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Cajun seasoning
  • 3 cups BBQ Sauce (You'll need about 2 cups for basting, and another cup for serving)


Do Ahead

Prepare and Grill the Shrimp

  • Place the cleaned shrimp in a large bowl. Add the olive oil and Creole (or Cajun) seasoning. Stir to fully coat. Place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  • Fire up your grill.
  • Add 5 to 6 shrimp on each skewer.
  • Baste the shrimp on both sides. Carefully place the shrimp over direct heat on your grill. Grill for about 3 minutes per side, basting each side liberally with more BBQ sauce. The shrimp is done when it is pink and lightly charred.
  • Serve at once with reserved BBQ sauce on the side. 


See the video near the top of the blog post for visual guidance. If you liked the video, please subscribe to our YouTube channel
The BBQ sauce can be made up to 5 days in advance. This recipe uses about half of the BBQ sauce recipe.  The extra can be frozen for up to 2 months. 
The blog post for a Creole seasoning recipe, if you can't find any. Most Creole (or Cajun) seasonings have plenty of salt in them, so no need to add more salt, unless making your own. If you are making your own, add about 1 tsp of salt to the shrimp when coating with the oil. 
If baking, place in a heat-proof pan (or cast-iron skillet) and place in the middle of the oven with the broiler on HIGH for several minutes. Keep an eye on them, as broilers vary. Don't let them burn! They will be ready when pink, curled, and lightly charred. 


Calories: 516kcal | Carbohydrates: 89g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 143mg | Sodium: 2853mg | Potassium: 666mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 71g | Vitamin A: 1547IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 136mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe? Take a Picture!Mention @HowToFeedALoon or tag #HowToFeedALoon!

POST UPDATE: This recipe was originally published in July 2016, but was updated with improved tweaks to the recipe with new tips and photography and a fabulous new video in July 2023!


  • Hi, I loved every recipe I have tried. Ya’ll are so much fun. I am a born and raised New Orleans.( Cajun) I have been to Restaurants out side of La. and ordered BBQ Shrimp. My mouth dropped when they brought this to me. I am sure your recipe is great. But BBQ Shrimp recipe started here in N.O. It does not even have BBQ sauce on it. You don’t even peel the shrimp it comes in a great buttery sauce for dipping french bread. It’s so easy to make it can be done on stove top or oven. I would love to share the recipe with you.

  • Just found your recipe on and I have an electric smokeless indoor grill and will be making this recipe this week. You guys are too cute. Thanks!

    • Hi Martha!! Woo hoo!! Supercook is so cool! And we are so thrilled you found us!! Let us know if you make the BBQ shrimp and what you think! We love it!! Best, Kris & Wesley

    • Hi Lori! That is so wonderful to hear!! YES! We’ve got lots of recipes that we feel certain you’ll like just as well. Please stay in touch and thank you so much for letting us know! That means so much to us!! Best, Kris & Wesley

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