I have written before about the “Hoot in the Hills”, my annual camping, fishing, shooting, drinking and eating extravaganza with my old high school buddies up in the High Sierras. This year I had volunteered to do Carolina-style chopped/pulled pork, with bourbon mashed sweet potatoes and Carolina-style cole slaw. If you read the Hoot in the Hills cooking post above, you know the pressure to put on a good meal is extreme, and those who fail in any way are ridiculed for years. Since smoked pork butt is a notoriously tricky dish that can take much longer than expected, I knew I was in high danger of serving dinner much later than the guys would be ready to eat, even if I started cooking right after breakfast (which I did).
It occurred to me that a good way to keep the boys happy and avoid getting ripped to shreds while they waited for dinner was to serve an appetizer that would make them forget that they hadn’t had dinner yet. In previous years, I had made “Atomic Buffalo Turds” (grilled jalapeno halves with cream cheese and Lil’ Smokies wrapped in bacon) as an appetizer, and they were really, really good, but I wanted something different.
In the weeks before our trip, I was researching various options, and came across a Food Network article, “50 Things to Grill in Foil.” I love cooking in foil at home and especially while camping, as it reduces the number of dishes and pans to clean, and can be done in an oven, on a grill, a propane stove, a “greasy grate“, or even right in the coals of a campfire! I was already using my Dutch Oven on the propane stove for the sweet potatoes, and the bbq space was all going to be occupied with my pork butts, so something I could do on the greasy grate was perfect.
The jerk chicken wings on the “50 best” list appealed to me, as I’d done jerk chicken for the Hoot before, but when I saw the Garlic Shrimp recipe, I got excited. It reminded me of peel-and-eat shrimp I’d had in Cajun restaurants before, with crusty bread to soak up the juices. I wasn’t terribly impressed with the actual recipe in the article, but once I realized I could do shrimp in a foil packet like this, I looked for another “hot and spicy” or “Cajun Shrimp” recipe that I could convert into a foil packet appetizer. I quickly seized upon a recipe from one of our favorites, Paula Deen, and combined it with the other recipe to make a camping appetizer that the guys raved about! (PS: My dinner was served on time and was excellent)
Colleen was immediately jealous when I told her what I’d served for my buddies in the mountains, of course, so at the next possible opportunity I made it again here at home, using the foil packet on my propane grill, and it turned out great again! It’s a bit messy, and the butter isn’t exactly diet-friendly, but it is oh so worth the splurge!
- 1 LB unpeeled 16-20 sized (26-30 would also work) shrimp*
- 1 Stick unsalted butter
- 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 Lemons (1 juiced, one sliced thinly)
- ½ Tbsp ground pepper
- ½ Tbsp Louisiana hot sauce (more or less to taste)
- 2 Cloves garlic, minced
- ½ Tsp salt
- ½ Tsp red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)
- 1 Tsp dried parsley or ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
- French bread or sourdough baguette, for dipping
- XL Aluminum Foil, Heavy Duty
- Put butter, worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, pepper, hot sauce, garlic, salt, red pepper flakes, and parsley together in a bowl, measuring cup, or tupperware container (if you’re pre-mixing to do at camp or at a party).
- Heat container just enough to melt butter most of the way, and then stir to mix.
- Lay out an 18 X 18 inch (or larger) piece of aluminum foil, and pour shrimp (peeled or unpeeled, your call) in center.
- Bend edges of foil up enough to prevent juices from running off foil (I put foil on a plate to give a natural curvature) and drizzle butter mixture all over shrimp. If you think you have too much mixture for your foil, you don’t have to use it all.
- Layer thinly sliced lemons over top of shrimp.
- Seal foil together at top and sides, creating a sealed foil packet.
- Place on medium high grill or greasy grate over coals or in pre-heated oven at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes. You can’t really check the doneness of the shrimp, so I just ensure that I can hear it sizzling inside and let it go a couple minutes after that.
- While shrimp is cooking, warm bread in foil in oven or on grill.
- Slice open foil packet and serve–you can eat right out of the foil packet if you like it old school, put the foil packet in a large serving bowl if you want to prevent leakage of the juices (and oh, there will be juices!), or transfer shrimp to a serving plate or bowl.
- Distribute chunks or slices of bread/baguette to dip into the awesome juices!