Australian Shrimp on the Barbie

Australian shrimp on the barbie recipe

​The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck 

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 5 mins
Total: 20 mins
Servings: 4 servings

Use this recipe for the traditional Australian method for grilling shrimp. It is simple and perfect for just about any occasion.

In Australia, they don't say shrimp—they say prawns—as they have an abundance of freshwater prawns rather than saltwater shrimp. But, the tourism ad mentioned below used the term more familiar to Americans. You are likely to get some well-seasoned curse words thrown your way if you call them shrimp when talking to an Aussie. But it's fine to use shrimp rather than prawns if that's what you find at your market.

Australians often grill prawns for Christmas, which arrives with summer in the Southern Hemisphere. They enjoy a picnic in the park or beach with a portable grill or use the one provided in those venues. Beyond prawns, sausages, lamb, pork, and beef you may even see some kangaroo and emu on the grill.

Barbie is Australian slang for barbecue, which usually refers to grilling in Australia. In an Australian tourism ad of the 1980s, actor Paul Hogan (who later starred in "Crocodile Dundee") invited Americans to come to the land down under, and he'd "slip an extra shrimp on the barbie for you."


  • 1 1/2 pounds large shrimp
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon shallot (minced)
  • 3 large garlic cloves (crushed)
  • 1/2 cup butter (melted)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice (fresh)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Black pepper (to taste)
  • Garnish: spinach leaves
  • Garnish: lemon slices

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Australian shrimp on the barbie

    ​The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck 

  2. Peel and devein the shrimp, leaving the tails intact.

    Peel and devein shrimp

    ​The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck 

  3. Mince the fresh parsley, thyme, cilantro, and shallots. Crush the garlic cloves.

    mince parsley, thyme, cilantro

    ​The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck 

  4. Combine the melted butter, olive oil, parsley, thyme, cilantro, lemon juice, cloves, shallots, salt, and black pepper in a large bowl.

    Combine melted butter, olive oil, parlsey

    ​The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck 

  5. Mix in the shrimp. Marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes or in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Discard the marinade after the 30 minutes, as it will not be safe to reuse due to contact with the raw shrimp.

    Mix in shrimp and marinate

    ​The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck 

  6. Prepare the barbecue with medium-hot coals.

    Prepare bbq

    ​The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck 

  7. Thread the shrimp on narrow skewers. Grill until just opaque (or pink in color and firm to touch), about 2 minutes per side.

    Thread shrimp
    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck  
  8. Line a platter with fresh spinach leaves. Arrange the skewers on the platter. Garnish with lemon.

    Arrange skewers on spinach leaves

    ​The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck 

  9. Serve and enjoy!

    Serve Australian Shrimp on the Barbie

    ​The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck 


  • Do not marinate longer than 15 to 30 minutes, as the shrimp will become mushy.

Serving Suggestions

The sides to serve with Australian-style grilled shrimp are similar to what you would see in America.

  • Grilled vegetable skewers are easy to prepare at the same time you are grilling the shrimp.
  • A fresh green salad is always welcome in the heat of summer.
  • Fruit salad makes a great accompaniment for a picnic as well.
  • Beer or chilled Australian white wine are common Australian beverages with your grilled meal.