Easy Shrimp on the Barbie Recipe with Cocktail Sauce

Easy Shrimp on the Barbie Recipe with Cocktail Sauce

Fresh shrimp flavored with a blend of sweet and spicy herbs and seasoning and grilled on the barbecue is the perfect meal when you’re looking for easy, healthy and light.

A plate of grilled shrimp skewers

Toss peeled and deveined raw shrimp with my basic barbecue rub and thread them on skewers before placing them on a hot grill.

Grilled shrimp is a classic summer meal that is easy to make and simply delicious.

This delicious recipe reminds me of summers at the beach. 

And it’s so easy to make in under 30 minutes.

Shrimp skewers take just minutes to grill before they’re ready to be served. 

They are the perfect choice for a summer barbecue. 

They are so easy to make because they only require a few primary ingredients from the grocery store.

What is Shrimp on the Barbie

The saying “Shrimp on the Barbie” originated in Australia when actor Paul Hogan, also known as Crocodile Dundee, worked with the tourism board to promote the country as a tourist bucket trip destination to Americans.

While promoting fun a summer getaway to a US audience, the phrase “shrimp on the barbie” was born. 

The commercial became stuck in the minds of Americans and the Australian slang was repeated everywhere, along with “G’Day mate” and “the dingo’s got my baby.”

Of course, no Australian would be caught dead using the phrase. Afterall, shrimp are referred to as prawn there.

The phrase is cringe-worthy to most Australians today.

A plate of shrimp on the barbie on an orange plate with cocktail sauce

What kind of shrimp do I need for grilling

Any kind of shrimp can be used for shrimp on the barbie. Here are some suggestions:

Fresh shrimp is best if you are near the shore. Those of us in the Midwest are relegated to frozen since most “fresh” shrimp has been previously frozen.

Jumbo shrimp. Size matters especially if you want sweet delicious juicier shrimp.

Shell on or off. It’s really up to whether you want to do the work to peel and devein the shrimp before grilling. Read on for how to devein shrimp.

Raw shrimp.  Cooked shrimp is saved best for when you want to enjoy cooked shrimp cocktail.

What do I need to make this shrimp recipe

Large shrimp. Buy the shrimp fresh if you can. Otherwise purchase a frozen bag of large shrimp.

Barbecue rub. Any store bought rub will work but why not make up a big batch of homemade seasoning to use on chicken, shrimp and more. 

Olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil is the ideal coating for these shrimp.

Cocktail sauce. Make your own by mixing fresh horseradish into ketchup or pick up a bottle of your favorite brand.

Skewers. I prefer metal skewers to wood because there is no presoaking required.

A hot grill. We use our gas grill but a charcoal grill works just as great.

How to peel and devein shrimp

To peel shrimp with shell, pull off the legs and then crack open the shell along the underside and it peel off. 

Use your thumbs underneath the shell and crack it open and pry off the shell as it separates. 

Pull the shell away from the shrimp body grasping the tail to remove  it.

To devein shrimp, you can make a shallow cut along the back of the shrimp with a sharp paring knife. 

Then using your fingers or the tip of the knife, lift out the black vein.

Rinse each shrimp to remove any extra part of the remaining vein.

Discard the shells and veins and transfer the shrimp to a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to grill.

A spoonful of barbecue rub

What seasoning should I use on this easy recipe

I love to use a homemade sweet and spicy barbecue rub that is perfect on beer can chicken, ribs and more.

The seasoning is a mixture of brown sugar, sweet paprika, onion powder, cayenne pepper, black pepper and kosher salt.

I make enough to last several months. Click on the picture above for the recipe!

Old Bay seasoning, blackened, creole and Cajun spice blends are also delicious rubs or in marinades.

How to make Shrimp on the Barbie 

  1. Preheat the grill to medium heat, about 400 degrees F.
  2. Place the peeled and deveined shrimp in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil.
  3. Sprinkle the barbecue seasoning over the shrimp and toss to make sure all the shrimp are evenly coated.
  4. Thread shrimp onto skewers and place the shrimp on the hot grill and grill for 3-5 minutes per side until pink and cooked through.
  5. Transfer the shrimp to a platter and garnish as desired.
A hand dipping a grilled shrimp into cocktail sauce

Prefer a sweeter shrimp recipe?

Be sure to check out my mint & honey Hawaiian shrimp skewers. These are a favorite that has been featured on the Whole Foods website.

If you like it spicy then stick to this recipe!

Shrimp on the barbie pairs deliciously with my sweet grilled fruit kebabs or serve it with my tomatoes caprese salad.

Two plates of shrimp skewers on a tabletop

What to serve with Shrimp on the Barbie

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Easy Shrimp on the Barbie Recipe with Cocktail Sauce

Ali Randall
Fresh shrimp flavored with a blend of sweet and spicy herbs and seasoning and grilled on the barbecue is the perfect meal when you’re looking for easy, healthy and light.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 2


  • 1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tablespoon basic barbecue rub See NOTES for recipe
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Cocktail sauce
  • Wooden or metal skewers
  • Fresh lime or lemon wedges


  • Preheat the grill to medium heat.
  • If using wooden skewers, soak them in cold water for 30 minutes before using.
  • Pat dry the peeled and deveined shrimp with a paper towel. Drizzle with about a teaspoon of olive oil.
  • Toss the raw shrimp with the basic barbecue rub so all the shrimp is well coated.
  • Thread shrimp on skewers in one direction making sure to thread the skewer through two parts of the shrimp.
  • You can also use two skewers, threading one skewer through the heads of the shrimp and the other skewer through the tails.
  • Grill on each side until pink for a total of 3 to 5 minutes time. 
  • Line platter or plates with parchment and serve with lime or lemon wedges, cocktail sauce or melted butter.
  • Store any extra shrimp in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for one day.
Keyword Shrimp on the Barbie, Spicy Grilled Shrimp Skewers
Grilled spicy shrimp skewers on the barbecue are the perfect midweek meal when you

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