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 smoked shrimp 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

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  • 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 thing...you 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 and the Lemon Chive. 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. 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 3 dipping sauces. Boy, I’m sure glad I did. I enjoyed all the 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 2 teaspoons called for. The Sriracha 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. These 3 just got added to my dipping sauce favorites to make again and again.

Testers Choice
Brenda Carleton

Aug 28, 2011

This recipe recommends smoking the shrimp but we grilled them with their shells on, which kept them sweet and succulent. Whilst we enjoyed all three dipping sauces, my husband and I both enjoyed the Lemon Chive the best, as it seemed to complement the shrimp the most. We went through that one in a hurry! The Garlic Buttermilk was our second favourite (how could you go wrong with garlic and shrimp?). The Sriracha Buttermilk dipping sauce was good and flavorful, but we didn't go wild over it paired with the shrimp...it might be better with homemade fries. It was fun trying and comparing the different dips. This could instigate lively discussion and conversation amongst family and friends.

Testers Choice
Lauren M.

Aug 28, 2011

I didn't have a stovetop smoker, so I boiled my shrimp using crab boil and Old Bay. I then chilled them in the freezer while I made the sauce. I made all 3 sauces. My favorite was the Garlic Buttermilk. It was so creamy and garlicky! My husband said it was a tie between the Garlic Buttermilk and the Sriracha Buttermilk. He loves spicy things, and couldn't resist the cool and creamy, yet spicy sauce. For us, the Lemon Chive mayo dip was just too lemony. I would still make it again, though, and would just scale back on the lemon. These were rediculously easy to make, and are perfect for a party. There is a little something for everyone.

Testers Choice
Tracey G.

Aug 28, 2011

As chief chef for myself, a husband, and 2 young kids, I often feel like a short-order cook. There are not enough recipes in the universe that seem to satisfy everyone! I did discover a few weeks ago that everyone likes shrimp and had to give these recipes a try. My husband can't stop putting hot sauce on anything he eats. He loved the spicy pow of the Sriracha dip. We both liked the garlicky punch of the Garlic Buttermilk Dip. My sons went crazy for the Lemon Chive Dip and even went so far as to dip their carrots into the leftovers the next day. As for me, I loved feeling like a rockstar chef when everyone came away satisfied and it only took a few ingredients that I had in my pantry and refrigerator and a few minutes to assemble.


Comments
Comments
  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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