Grilled Shrimp with Smoky Barbecue Rub

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Photo Ben Gebo Photography

Ben Gebo Photography

STRATEGY SESSION: By featuring shrimp in this recipe, I automatically keep total fat, saturated fat, and calories low. Because, in my opinion, the flavor of olive oil would not be compatible with this dish, I use macadamia nut oil, the healthiest of all neutral culinary oils.

The holidays exhaust me. The weather in New England becomes a challenge and everything bogs down. The stores are crowded, the lines long; everyone seems grouchy. Cooking obligations multiply and quantities escalate. Prep-work and clean-up balloon and threaten to overwhelm.

As I slog through the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, I notice that an increasing number of self-conversations begin “When this is over…” or “After the first of the year…”. These preambles generally lead into fantasies about simplifying life-especially my cooking life.

At such times, I rely on recipes that require no thought and little effort. These dishes often involve advance preparation of a single component that has the power to transform good ingredients into something great. Marinara sauce is one example, and this smoky barbecue rub is another. They’ll both keep in the freezer for up to 6 months, and — during that time- they give real meaning to the phrase “I’m there for you.”

I get two kinds of satisfaction from this practice. First, I feel comforted by the knowledge that my frozen friends are available at a moment’s notice. And then, when I actually put one of them to use, I feel as though someone has taken care of me. That I’ve done it myself is beside the point.

Serving Suggestions: Without a doubt, my favorite accompaniment is black beans in almost any form. (Try Amazing Black Beans with a Sofrito.) Cole slaw would be another excellent choice.

Note: This recipe is now exclusively available on Trufflehead, my healthy cooking app for iPhone and iPad. It has been on Apple’s New and Noteworthy, Top 25 Lifestyle, and What’s Hot featured iPhone app lists (January 2012). You can click the ad below to read about Trufflehead on iTunes and you can see it in action in the accompanying video.

For a free taste of Trufflehead, you can download Trufflehead Starter


Trufflehead iPhone and iPad Cooking App

Trufflehead is now available for the iPhone and iPad in the App Store. For more content, check out the Trufflehead food blog at

I’m now producing high-quality, low-cost cooking apps for fellow food bloggers. If you are a food blogger, and you’re interested in turning your recipes into an iOS app, I invite you to visit the Mobile Skillet website.


  • January 11 2010, 11:44 AM
    Georgie Fear

    This looks and sounds delicious - and I just bought smoked paprika and have been wanting to find a use for it! Magnificent timing :)
    I especially enjoyed your thoughts at the beginning of this post - I bet a lot of us feel the same way, and it is so true - having some backup foods frozen or stored makes life so much easier when you need it most, and keeps us from resorting to less-healthy convenience foods.

    Great post Deborah!

    Georgie Fear RD

  • January 11 2010, 1:39 PM

    Thanks so much for your comment. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed in this recipe. It’s really tasty and SO QUICK AND EASY- even if you don’t have it in your freezer. Only the thyme takes time (!)- and not too much either. Be sure to try it on salmon as well.

  • January 11 2010, 5:34 PM


    I just picked up some shrimp to make for dinner and was wondering what I was going to do with it instead of my usual which is very basic-little bit of olive oil, S&P in a fry pan to go on top of my spinach salad. This sounds like a fun alternative to my usual. Thanks so much! Perfect timing for your post. :)

    Hope you are well!

  • January 11 2010, 7:48 PM

    Hey, Suzanne. What a happy coincidence. I hope you have smoked paprika in your pantry. The rub isn’t nearly as tasty without it…

  • January 12 2010, 12:10 AM
    Mrs Ergül

    What lovely shrimps!

  • January 12 2010, 8:06 AM

    Thank you so much!! My photographer and I worked very hard to get them to sit up on the foil so that the viewer could really get close to them. (They’re very tasty too!)
    Deb orah

  • January 12 2010, 1:21 PM
    chocolate shavings

    BBQ shrimp is delicious, and it gives that wonderful reddish tint to the dish - beautiful!

  • January 12 2010, 3:39 PM

    Thanks very much! I’m glad you like the photo.

  • January 12 2010, 6:57 PM

    My mouth is watering. I usually cook shrimp in Italian pasta dishes but I need to try this recipe. Bookmarking!

  • January 12 2010, 7:34 PM

    I’m SO happy that you like the look of the shrimp. They really are delicious. I hope you’ll try them and let me know how you like them.

    BTW, I do a little Italian cooking myself. You might check out my version of my father’s Shrimp Marinara. In addition, you might like Fennel with Garlic and Parsley, 4-in-1 Broccoli Rabe with Roasted Tomatoes and Peppers, and Zuppa di Pesce.

  • January 12 2010, 11:35 PM
    [email protected]

    I never knew about macadamia nut oil… just that it had a short shelf life… must try it!!

  • January 13 2010, 4:39 AM
    Lucy Chen

    This looks beautiful! They look so good!

  • January 13 2010, 8:03 AM

    Hey, Deana. I’m not aware that macadamia nut oil has a short shelf life unless left open to the air. I will investigate and get back to you.

  • January 13 2010, 8:04 AM

    If you like the way they look, Lucy, you really must give them a try. They’re so easy and totally yummy!

  • January 14 2010, 11:53 PM

    Found you shrimp photo from Tastespotting. It looks delicious. Thanks for sharing!

  • January 15 2010, 8:02 AM

    How nice of you to respond. If you try them, please let me know how you like them.

  • January 18 2010, 6:26 PM

    Here’s the follow-up on the oil’s shelf life. Oils of Aloha claims an 18-month shelf life for its oil and considers that a conservative estimate. I have no information on the shelf life of other oils, but perhaps you do. If so, it would be good to know how 18 months stacks up against the competition.

  • October 5 2011, 7:18 PM

    I really want to make this but cant seem to find the recipe.

  • October 5 2011, 8:37 PM

    Hi, Cortney. The recipe is on Trufflehead, my healthy cooking app for iPhone and iPad. If you have an iOS device, I’ll be happy to send you a free download.

  • November 5 2011, 4:16 AM

    This looks tasty, but I don’t have an iAnything.

  • December 7 2011, 1:54 PM

    Where is the actual recipe?

  • December 7 2011, 2:00 PM

    Hello, Kajo. The recipe is now exclusively available on the Trufflehead app for iPhone and iPad.

    Best wishes,

  • December 7 2011, 4:26 PM
    Heather Barrie

    Hello! I would love to make these beautiful shrimp for an upcoming Christmas party. Are there any free downloads left for the Trufflehead app? I do have an iphone and would love to get this recipe, and probable many others! :)

  • December 7 2011, 4:34 PM

    I’ll email you directly and we’ll try to work something out. I think there are a couple of downloads left.

  • December 13 2011, 7:16 PM

    Hi, I was so looking forward to making this, went to my pin, and it was gone! Why pin something and then remove it, changing it to a “restricted” website?

  • December 13 2011, 7:40 PM

    I am sorry that you are disappointed, but A Doctor’s Kitchen is not a “restricted” website. This recipe was published in January 2010 and remained available to the public for 20 months. Links to it appeared onTastespotting, Foodgawker, and Foodbuzz. Because people still click on those links, I have left the post even though the recipe itself is now only available on the Trufflehead app. If I gave the app’s content away for nothing, it would not be fair to people who have paid for it. In fact, no one would have a reason to buy it because it would have no independent value. Websites cost money to develop and maintain. I thought I would be able to cover my costs through my online store, but that was overly optimistic. In order to continue doing what I love, I have to find a way to support myself, and the app is an attempt to do that. If it is successful, then I’ll be able to post more recipes for free. I hope you understand. Thanks.

  • January 21 2012, 4:25 PM

    Looks very good and would love to try. Sad though, not good enough to pay $3.99 for the app:(

  • January 21 2012, 4:28 PM

    You’re certainly entitled to your opinion, and $3.99 may be outrageous for 1 recipe, but it’s not very much for 270 recipes, 170 technique demos, and over 400 ingredient and equipment IDs, not to mention 2 years of work. (For comparison: a venti at Starbucks is $3.57.)Trufflehead has received fantastic reviews on iTunes, has a 5-star rating, and has been on Apple’s New and Noteworthy, Top 25 Lifestyle, and What’s Hot featured app lists. It seems like a pretty good value to me, but I suppose I would feel that way because I put in the 2 years of work. I’m also the sort of person who considers a cookbook worth buying if I get 1 great recipe from it that I make again and again. Maybe I’m just weird.

    Best wishes,

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