Smoked Shrimp with Three Dipping Sauces

Smoking shrimp with a stovetop smoker creates a thrillingly addictive, fun-to-eat cocktail-hour food that’s also a great appetizer.

“Wait! What?”

Yes, there is such a thing as a stovetop smoker. If you don’t already own one (Athena, Camerons, and Nordic Ware are top brands), you can make one in a pinch as long as you have a stainless steel or aluminum roasting pan and a flat wire roasting rack that fits inside it. The smoking chips that you use in a stovetop smoker are like coarse sawdust. They’re made from a variety of hardwoods—apple, cherry, and hickory are common—and you can buy them at stores such as Target or from cookware retailers such as Williams-Sonoma. Learning your way around a stovetop smoker (see Notes on Successful Stovetop Smoking, below) adds a new vector of creative exploration to your repertoire.

Serve these smoked shrimp with one or all three dipping sauces.–Matt Lee and Ted Lee

LC To Smoke or Not to Smoke Note

As lovely and easy as stovetop smoking is, we feel the real oomph in this starter is the assortment of not one but three (three!) dipping sauces. Don’t get us wrong, the smoking part is nice, though not essential—not by a long shot, not when you have dipping sauces this swell. Instead simply grill or steam your shrimp and set them out with the dipping sauces—whether one, two, or all three.

That said, we love our stovetop smoker and use it for all manner of things. We can tell you from experience that you can also find smokers and their chips online and at hardware stores. Another thing we learned firsthand? A darn good ventilation system is essential unless you want all your worldly belongings to be perfumed with apple, hickory, or oak smoke.

Shrimp with Three Dipping Sauces Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 30 M
  • 30 M
  • Serves 4 to 8


  • For the shrimp
  • 1 pound large shell-on shrimp, smoked*, grilled, or steamed
  • For the Garlic Buttermilk Dip
  • 1/4 cup whole or lowfat buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
  • 1/4 large clove garlic, grated
  • For the Lemon Chive Mayo Dip
  • 1/2 cup store-bought mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped or snipped fresh chives
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • For the Sriracha Buttermilk Dip
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk (nonfat, low-fat, or full-fat)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons Thai chili sauce (sriracha) storebought or homemade, plus more to taste


  • 1. Prepare the shrimp any way you see fit.
  • 2. Prepare any or all of the dipping sauces by whisking the ingredients together in a small bowl.
  • 3. When the shrimp are done, you can either serve them immediately, warm from the smoker or grill or steaming basket, or let them cool to room temperature and then refrigerate them until ready to serve. Serve the dipping sauces alongside. (The cooked shrimp and sauces can be refrigerated for up to a day.)
Hungry for more? Chow down on these:

Testers Choice

Testers Choice
Testers Choice
Melissa Maedgen

Aug 28, 2011

Thunderstorms thwarted my plans to cook these shrimp outdoors, so I had to adapt to the situation. I broiled them for three minutes instead of smoking. So my review focuses mainly on the three sauces. I made all three — why not? They're easy enough. They were all good and went well with the shrimp. I guess I should confess here that I am a person who prefers tartar sauce over cocktail sauce on shrimp or other seafood. The Lemon Chive Mayo Dip was the unanimous favorite at my house, largely due to its texture, which was like tartar sauce and clung to the shrimp. This sauce would be good as an alternative anywhere you would normally use tartar sauce. The other two sauces were also very good, but were a bit runnier (more sauce-like) in consistency. I thought the Garlic Buttermilk Dip was a tad too salty (easy to fix next time). The amount of garlic was plenty, assuming you grate it as instructed. The Sriracha Buttermilk Dip, on the other hand, needed a pinch of salt. That may be because I was using a homemade sriracha, which might be less salty than the bottled variety. If you make all three sauces, you'll have a lot more than you need for a pound of shrimp. Which isn't necessarily a bad could use the leftovers as a dip for veggies, crackers, potato chips...the thinner dips could even be used as a salad dressing. If you make only one sauce, the amount is probably spot on for the amount of shrimp.

Testers Choice
Bev B.

Aug 28, 2011

I made the grilled shrimp on a hickory plank and did not use the procedure in the recipe. For the sauces, I made the Garlic Buttermilk Dip and the Lemon Chive Mayo Dip. Both came together easily and were just great. After the sauces were made, they seemed a bit salty; I even checked the measuring spoon to see if I’d used the wrong spoon. However, as a dipping sauce with the shrimp, used as the recipe was intended, the sauces were just fine and not at all salty. Both were delicious, but we both seemed to be dipping more into the Garlic Buttermilk Dip. I intend to use the leftover sauce for chicken tonight.

Testers Choice
Bette Fraser

Aug 28, 2011

We grilled large shrimp and enjoyed the Sriracha Buttermilk Dip. The dip had just enough zing to add some excitement to the shrimp.

Testers Choice
Joan Osborne

Aug 28, 2011

I opted to boil my shrimp and make all three dipping sauces. Boy, I’m sure glad I did. I enjoyed all three sauces, but the lemon chive mayo was my absolute favorite. It went so well with the shrimp, and I bet it’d be great with fish. My second favorite was the garlic buttermilk. Not only was it good on the shrimp, it was also delicious on my baked potato and as a dipping sauce for baby carrots. I liked the sriracha buttermilk dip too, but only after I added a bit more sriracha than the two teaspoons called for. The siracha was hubby’s favorite after adding about triple the amount called for. He loves spice. He also liked the garlic buttermilk, but didn’t care for the lemon chive mayo. These three just got added to my dipping sauce favorites to make again and again.

  1. I will have to check out the stove top smokers…very nice! And I love all three of these dipping sauces, flavorful and delicious!

    • Dan Kraan, LC Community Moderator says:

      I made the shrimp in my stove top smoker, Magic of Spice. Easy as can be! The sauces really are quite nice. I don’t have great ventilation, but I don’t mind the smoke essence lingering for a day or two – especially in the cooler months.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      I have a Cameron’s smoker, Magic of Spice, and my husband and I can’t imagine life without it. Even though their form is slender, you can do larger chunks of meat–such as pork butt–on them by fashioning an ad-hoc lid with several sheets of heavy duty aluminum foil. Works like a charm.

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