BBQ Shrimp & Cheesy Polenta – Easy Meal

BBQ Shrimp

If you’re a fan of the traditional flavors of BBQ, you’ll love this easy-to-make BBQ Shrimp & Cheesy Polenta. This meal takes less than 30 minutes and just a handful of ingredients. Shrimp are simmered in BBQ sauce, along with fresh chopped veggies, and spooned over creamy, cooked cornmeal, seasoned with butter and cheddar cheese. Don’t forget to Like, Comment and Share!

Inspiration for BBQ Shrimp & Cheesy Polenta

I need to give a nod to my dear friend Sue, from Gourmet Club. She made a scratch version of this recipe for one of our dinner gatherings. Her version featured homemade BBQ sauce, shrimp and Lowcountry grits. It was delicious.

Since a number of you have asked for more Easy Meals, I decided to simplify the recipe. The goal was to make it quicker to prepare, and to make it better suited to a healthier weekday meal. My version uses store-bought BBQ sauce (I used Famous Dave’s Rich & Sassy, but use whatever you like) and cornmeal, vs. grits, which most people have on hand. The result?  It received the thumbs-up from the hubby, which is of course, an endorsement of high praise indeed.

Polenta Primer

If you’ve never made polenta from cornmeal, here are a few tips. It’s somewhat like an Italian version of mashed potatoes. They are hearty, can be served with a variety of dishes, and you can stir in a variety of different flavorings – herbs, cheeses, etc…into them. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that they cool off pretty quickly. So if your are serving them in this creamy version, be sure to enjoy them as soon as they are ready. Another option is to pour the cooked polenta into a baking dish, let it cool (or even refrigerate overnight), then cut into wedges. These wedges can then be pan sauteed in butter and/or olive oil and served as a side dish as well.

BBQ Shrimp & Cheesy Polenta – Easy Meal

Serving Size: Serves 4


  • 1 1/2 pounds cleaned, deveined, raw shrimp, tails removed (I used extra large shrimp - 26-30 per lb.)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • chopped parsley, optional
    BBQ Sauce
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion (I used red onion)
  • 1/3 cup chopped pepper (red or yellow)
  • 1/3 cup chopped celery
  • 2/3 cup BBQ Sauce
  • 1/2 cup + water (made need a few more tablespoons)
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 2 cups milk (I used whole milk)
  • 2 cups water, divided
  • 1 tablespoons butter
  • 2/3 cup shredded cheddar (I used sharp cheddar)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • pepper to taste


  • Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and butter in large saute pan. Season shrimp lightly with salt and pepper. Saute shrimp until just pink, about 1 -2 minutes per side. Remove to a dish and cover to keep warm.
    BBQ Sauce
  • In same saute pan cook onion, red pepper and celery, covered, until tender, about 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add BBQ sauce and whisk in 1/2 cup water to create a sauce the consistency of a glaze. If it needs additional thinning or seems too tangy, whisking in more water 1 tablespoon at a time. Continue to simmer sauce for a few minutes to meld flavors.
  • While veggies for BBQ sauce are cooking, bring 1 cup of water and 2 cups of milk to a boil. Combine 1 remaining cup or water with cornmeal and salt. Slowly pour cornmeal mixture into boiling liquid, stirring constantly. Cook until thickened, stirring frequently. Cover; continue cooking over low heat for 5 minutes; stir. Add butter and cheese and stir until melted and combined. Season with pepper and additional salt, if desired.
    Finishing Shrimp & Cheesy Polenta
  • Add shrimp to BBQ sauce and turn to coat. Cover and simmer gently for 1 minute to rewarm. Spoon polenta onto plates and top with shrimp and BBQ sauce. Top with chopped parsley, if desired and serve immediately.


Adapted from 82 Queen World Famous BBQ Shrimp & Grits

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