Succulent Shrimp and Spicy Cocktail Sauce

Succulent Shrimp and Spicy Cocktail Sauce
There are boiled shrimp…and then there are really good boiled shrimp. The trick is to flavor up the water and taste it before you drop the critters into the hot tub.


The other make or break factor is the texture. Be sure not to over cook them – no one wants to bite into a rubber shrimp!

This is a simple recipe for a timeless appetizer, but if you want to achieve that “wowie” factor, buy jumbo shrimp (21-25 count to the lb.). For a nice impact, buy large shrimp (31-35 count to the lb.) or if quantity is what you’re focused on, buy medium shrimp (41-50 count to the lb.).

  • Serving jumbo shrimp: 1 lb. figure 3-4 shrimp to 7-8 people
  • Serving large shrimp: 1 lb. figure 3-4 shrimp to 11-12 people
  • Serving medium shrimp: 1 lb. figure 3-4 shrimp to 15-16 people

Serves 8 

[ingredients title=”Equipment”]

  • Large stock pot with lid
  • Citrus juicer
  • Microplane or zester
  • Measuring spoons and cups
  • Colander
  • Large serving bowl or platter
  • Tongs to serve with
  • Small serving bowl for cocktail sauce


[ingredients title=”Ingredients”]

  • 4 qt. water *
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 t. salt
  • 3 smashed garlic cloves
  • 1/2 t. cayenne
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh dill, plus a few more for garnish
  • 2 T. Louisiana or Zatarain’s concentrated shrimp boil *
  • 2 lemons, juice and zest, and 1 lemon to slice for garnish
  • 2 lb. jumbo shrimp (21-25 ct.), peeled and deveined
  • 2 C. ketchup
  • 2 t. horseradish
  • 2 t. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 T. lemon juice
  • 1/2 t. minced garlic
  • Tabasco to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Chef Gerrie’s Notes:

* Water: Be sure to taste the seasoned water before you drop the shrimp. This is when you can adjust the seasoning. I have also added white wine or pale ale to the water.

* Concentrated shrimp boil: You can also substitute Old Bay Seasoning for the concentrate: 1/2 cup to 4 quarts of water.

[directions title=”Directions”]

  1. Season water with bay leaves, salt, garlic, cayenne, dill, shrimp boil concentrate, and lemons. Bring to a rolling boil, but taste the water before it gets too hot. Continue boiling for 5 minutes to let all that goodness develop.
  2. Drop shrimp and give ’em a big stir. Cover and turn off heat. Let the pot rest right on the burner for 15-20 minutes. Check for doneness. The shrimp should be a beautiful shrimp coral color, tender, and bursting with flavor. They will continue to slowly cook or steep in the hot seasoned water so be sure you don’t let them sit for too long.
  3. Make cocktail sauce by combining ketchup, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, minced garlic, tabasco, and salt and pepper.
  4. Drain and cool shrimp in a colander. Remove dill sprigs. Transfer to a container with a lid and refrigerate until ready to serve in serving bowl or platter.
  5. Garnish shrimp with dill and lemon slices or wedges and serve with your spicy red cocktail sauce.

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