Shrimp Burgers

Main Courses / Sunday, April 5th, 2009


I’ve lived in the South all my life, but I’d never heard of shrimp burgers until I read about them in “The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook.” Apparently, they’re a popular menu item in Southern shrimping towns, especially ones in Georgia and the Carolinas. Since I still haven’t been able to talk Jeff into trying shrimp and grits, I thought these shrimp burgers might make a fine gateway drug.

If you’ve ever made crab cakes, the process for shrimp burgers will seem very familiar. However, when you’re making crab cakes, you sauté staples like onions and peppers before combining them with the crab and other ingredients. This shrimp burger recipe calls for the raw scallions, corn kernels, parsley, ginger and lemon zest to be added to the shrimp and refrigerated before frying. When you first bite into the burger, you’ll notice that the flavors are very bright, especially the ginger and lemon zest. They really complement the shrimp and help turn the sandwich into a seafood experience rather than just a burger alternative.

Try these burgers on toasted hamburger buns with a little lettuce and tartar or cocktail sauce. Or, if you’re feeding a crowd, you can make smaller patties and turn these burgers into shrimp sliders served in toasted dinner rolls. As for sides, we kept things simple and ate some of the leftover corn-on-the-cob jazzed up with a squeeze of lime, but the burgers also would go nicely with coleslaw, sweet potato fries, cucumber salad, or sliced tomatoes with salt and pepper and a little balsamic vinegar.

Shrimp Burgers

Adapted from Matt Lee and Ted Lee’s “The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook”

Serves 4

  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 recipe Lee Bros. Shrimp Boil (recipe below)
  • 1 pound headless large shrimp (26-30 per pound), shells on
  • 2 tablespoons chopped scallions
  • 1/4 cup fresh corn kernels, cut from the cob (about 1/2 ear)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 cup bread crumbs, preferably fresh (from about 2 slices bread)
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Pepper vinegar to taste (optional)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
  1. In a 3-quart saucepan, bring the water and shrimp boil just to a boil over high heat. Turn off the heat, add shrimp, and let stand until they are pink, about 2 minutes. Drain and run under cold water. Peel and devein the shrimp, and chop it coarsely.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the shrimp, scallions, corn, parsley, ginger and lemon zest. Stir in the mayo and bread crumbs, and season with salt, pepper and pepper vinegar. Gently fold the egg into the mixture.
  3. Shape the mixture into 4 patties. Wrap the patties in plastic wrap, and refrigerate them for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high. Remove the burgers from the fridge, unwrap them, and gently add them to the pan. Sauté until both sides are browned, about 3 minutes per side. Drain on a plate lined with a paper towel.
  5. Serve on toasted hamburger buns with lettuce, thinly sliced Vidalia onion and tartar sauce.

Lee Bros. Shrimp Boil

Makes 1 scant cup

  • 1 tablespoon peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon celery seeds
  • 6 bay leaves, shredded with scissors
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons ground cayenne pepper

Using a mortar and pestle, pound the peppercorns, celery seeds, bay leaves and salt, in batches if necessary. Place the mixture in a small bowl, and add cayenne.

21 thoughts on “Shrimp Burgers

  1. Oh, the power of the sofa is strong! Especially on a Sunday.

    Jeff actually liked the shrimp burgers, and my leftover one was even better the next day, so I think this one's a winner. Getting him to try shrimp and grits, though … I might need a stepping stone between the two. Oh, wait, maybe I could coax him into trying it if the grits were HABANERO CHEESE GRITS! He goes for spice like a moth to a flame. That's how I won him.

    What would your husband rather eat? Just curious.

  2. These look amazing. The lazy cook in me must ask — any reason I couldn't use peeled/deveined shrimp?

    If you and your hubs ever come through Birmingham, you have got to try the shrimp & grits at the Hot & Hot Fish Club. They would convert the deepest shrimp & grits skeptic.

  3. These look amazing. The lazy cook in me must ask — any reason I couldn't use peeled/deveined shrimp?

    If you and your hubs ever come through Birmingham, you have got to try the shrimp & grits at the Hot & Hot Fish Club. They would convert the deepest shrimp & grits skeptic.

    1. Not really. Cooking the shrimp in the shrimp boil adds flavor, but you could use chopped cooked shrimp.

      Wish I'd known about the Hot & Hot Fish Club when we came down to go to Sloss Furnace. Now, it's on the list!

  4. Man, these shrimp burgers look delicious. I miss the South! I've only been in CA for about a year, but I'm already pining for my delicious Southern food. If you need me to back you up on the shrimp and grits argument, I'm totally there. My Todd isn't a big "Southern food" guy either (him being a Yankee and all), so I'm sure I could transition him into the harder stuff with this nice gateway burger. By the way, your title and metaphors had me laughing aloud. So great! And what's even greater is how these shrimp burgers look. I may have to make them tonight (assuming I garner up enough energy to remove myself from the sofa)!

  5. I just put a similar recipe from the Hominy Grill in SC, printed in the Washington Post (… into my MacGourmet! Ironically, though from the Hominy Grill, the only real difference is that mine doesn't use corn.

    I'm heading home this weekend for Easter, and I do believe these will make a very nice Good Friday dinner!

    Yours look absolutely divine. I'll definitely be adding corn =)

    1. That makes total sense! The Lee Brothers' recipe is based on the one used at Hominy Grill, but they added corn (for texture and sweetness) and fresh ginger. The ginger gives them a nice kick, and the corn gives the burgers some body.

  6. Holy Shrimp!! I will be making this sometime very soon. This looks so incredibly yummy. I wonder how it would do if it were baked instead of fried?

    This reminds me of a sandwich I used to get at a pizzeria when I was growing up. They made a Shrimp Parmesan Sandwich. It's prepared just like a chicken or eggplant Parmesan would be, except they butterfly the shrimp and dredge it in flour and Italian breadcrumbs. They served it on garlic bread and full of a wonderfully sweet marina sauce and lots of melted mozzarella cheese. Sooo good!

  7. I'm going to give this a try for dinner tonight. I already printed out the recipe. I'll let you know how it goes!

  8. Oh, those look enticing…I really need to get that cookbook as you have featured some very nice recipes from it. I enjoyed your different suggestions for serving them…I like the idea of the minis as this is something I can see the girls getting into sitting around the pool on a summer afternoon. I think you should come and join us. Soon. (Well, as soon as the weather warms up a bit, that is, as Indiana is not that predictable this time of year and they don't open my pool until the last Monday in April…anytime in June, July, August, September, or October would be good.) You are so great with the ideas!

  9. These sound amazing. I recently did a post on salmon burgers. They were good but I am thinking your shrimp burgers might blow my salmon out of the water (so to speak). Not to mention shrimp here is a little cheaper than salmon. I just love this idea. I really need to stop by your blog more often!

  10. I went searching for a recipe for shrimp burgers not knowing that they actually exist. I haven't been to that part of the South yet. I thought it would make a good burger and can't wait to try your recipe. Please tell Jeff that I was a grits hater until I had "real grits" – you are from the South so you know what I mean. I'd only had sandy bland tasting instant or quick grits, or the cook didn't know how to make good grits. My wife kept telling me that I had to have the real thing. Well now I am a convert. I had a dish at a restaurant called Claire's at the Depot in Warrenton, Va (they deserve a plug) blackened sea scallops with an andouille and crab cream sauce over smoked gouda grits – to die for! It wasn't long after that experience and I was making shrimp and grits for my wife and I. If you take the time and do them right they are wonderful. So versitile too, I love them spiced up or mixed with different cheeses, the variety is almost endless. Now I see what I've been missing, sorry grits

  11. I think these look awesome. I have never heard of them. I want to try them, but I have never deveined a shrimp before. Is it hard?
    Great recipe!

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