Peel-and-Eat Shrimp

Peel-and-Eat Seasoned Shrimp

Michael Grayson

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 5 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 2 servings

When I was a kid growing up in Knoxville, Tennessee fresh shrimp was as rare as, well, shrimp teeth. But now and then some aspiring entrepreneur would hire a truck down on the Gulf coast, load it up with shrimp fresh off the boat and packed in ice chests, and drive up here overnight. Then they'd set up in a parking lot somewhere and sell out of the truck. Whenever my mother spotted one of these trucks, she'd stop and buy three to five pounds, and boil them up in beer and Old Bay seasoning. She'd make up some cocktail sauce, butter and lemon, tartar sauce, and make a salad. It was such a fun meal because she would spread newspapers on the living room floor and we'd have a picnic. We would simply discard the shells right on the newspapers.​


  • For the Cocktail Sauce:
  • 1/4 cup chili sauce (homemade or store bought)
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons horseradish sauce 
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1/4 lemon (juiced)
  • For the Butter and Lemon:
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter
  • For the Tatar Sauce:
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • 2 tablespoons sweet pickle (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon capers (chopped)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh parsley (chopped)
  • For the Shrimp:
  • 2 bottles lager beer (choose something with real depth of flavor)
  • 1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning (available in spice aisle)
  • 1 whole lemon
  • 1 pound (21 –25 count) shrimp (raw and unpeeled, double if heads on)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh parsley (chopped)
  • 1/4 of a yellow onion (thinly sliced)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Steps to Make It

Cocktail Sauce

  1. Thoroughly combine all ingredients. Adjust horseradish and lemon juice to taste. You may want a pinch of salt

Butter and Lemon

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat and warm until butter is thoroughly melted.​


  1. Add beer and 1 cup water to a large saucepan. Squeeze in the lemon juice and then add the lemon shells. Stir in Old Bay and bring to a boil over high heat.

  2. Add shrimp and cook 3 to 4 minutes, no longer, then drain shrimp in a colander.

  3. In a frying pan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Toss in the onions and sauté for a minute and then add the lemon juice. Drizzle over shrimp and toss in parsley. 

  4. Peel-and-eat shrimp are as good cold as warm. A green salad with a vinaigrette is perfect on the side.


  • Shrimp is extremely easy to overcook and can go from perfectly done and tender to over-cooked in 30 seconds.