Featuring grilled Cajun steak topped with a shrimp etouffee.
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Cajun Steak and Shrimp Etouffee

Transport your taste buds to the heart of Louisiana with this grilled Cajun Steak and Shrimp Etouffee. Skip the rice and pile the spicy shrimp on top of your tender steak, saving the garlic bread to mop everything up. Get ready for a fiery, rich meal!

Skip the rice and smother your grilled Cajun steak with this spicy shrimp etouffee. The thick sauce is fortified with celery, peppers, and onions and seasoned with tomato paste, shrimp stock, and bold spices.

Preparing this meal is much easier than it seems, as the etouffee comes together while the steak is resting. By the time you’ve busted out your cutting board to serve, the shrimp is ready to go. There are a few steps to cover in this recipe, as it’s two cooks coming together in a flavorful marriage on the plate.

Smother your grilled steak with spicy shrimp etouffee.

What is Shrimp Etouffee?

The word Etouffee is French for “smothered”, and describes a cooking method. This is a Cajun and Creole dish that originated in Louisiana, particularly in the city of New Orleans.

This Cajun-style shrimp typically consists of a roux-based sauce made with onions, celery, and bell peppers, simmered with shrimp and other seafood, and served over rice. The dish is known for its bold and spicy flavor, with a unique blend of herbs and spices that give it its distinct Cajun taste.

Calling it a stew or a gravy might be the closest description, but etouffee really stands alone with its style and flavor.

Spicy shrimp etouffee tops grilled Cajun steak for the ultimate meal.

Key Ingredients

Two different dishes of Cajun steak and shrimp etouffee coming together mean there’s a lot to think about. Thankfully the steak is pretty straightforward with a simple combo of meat + seasoning.

  • Steak – NY Strip steak is used in this recipe, which has a nice balance of fat without taking over the luscious shrimp. You could also use a ribeye if that’s your preference, or keep it classy and cook a filet mignon.
  • Shrimp – Medium-sized shrimp is best in this recipe. If you must buy frozen shrimp, get shell-on shrimp, which has a better texture because of the shell protects the meat.
  • Cajun or Creole seasoning – Use your favorite spice blend, there are plenty of flavorful options available out there.
  • Celery, onions, peppers – This is considered the Cajun trinity, a base for many dishes hailing from Indiana. Typically green bell peppers are used, but today we are swapping them for poblano chiles.
  • Shrimp stock – Flavors from this stock will enhance the natural flavors of shrimp in the etouffee. If you don’t have time to make it or can’t find it, chicken stock will do in a pinch.
  • Butter and flour – This is the base for the roux, which is absolutely key to thickening the sauce. Use equal parts and keep it simple.

There are two main stages for this cook: grilling the Cajun-spiced steaks and cooking the shrimp etouffee while the steak rests. Let’s start!

Prepare the Steaks

Start by seasoning the steaks. Remove them from the fridge and pat them dry. Season generously with your Cajun seasoning on both sides.

Allow the steaks to rest at room temperature while the grill is preheating. This helps to make sure the inside of the steak isn’t too cold on the grill and gives a chance for the seasonings to stick to the surface.

Should I oil my steaks before grilling?

This is not necessary. Having a clean grill with hot coals will ensure that the steak gets an excellent sear, and will release from the grill easily when ready to flip.

If anything, it helps to clean the grates while the coals are hot and lightly oil them with a paper towel to keep them seasoned.

Sear the steaks directly over the coals while regularly flipping to control the temperature.

Grilling the Steaks over Charcoal

Wood-fired flavors taste the best with this dish. Yes, even the shrimp picks up the aroma from the smoke.

Prepare your grill for a medium-high sear, aiming for about 374-400°F. The key for this cook is that the coals need to be hot enough to grill a steak, and then cook the etouffee right after in cast iron.

Make sure you have a cool spot on the grill. That means a small area without coals, which helps if your steak is searing too quickly. You can move the steak to this side and slow it down.

Place your steaks directly over the coals and let them sear for about 45 seconds before flipping. Continue to do this until you’re about 10 degrees away from your target temperature. Medium-rare is about 130-135°F

NOTE: Jess Pryles has a great in-depth guide to her “Just Keep Flipping” method here.

Sear the fat cap on the Cajun steak before taking it off the grill.

Don’t forget to sear off the fat cap towards the end!

No one wants to eat a chewy, white band of fat on the outside. Flip the steak on its side and sear the fat cap carefully, being mindful of flare-ups.

Once the steaks are about 10 degrees from your target temp, remove them from the grill and set them aside to rest under loosely tented foil.

Start by warming up the butter and flour to make a roux.

Cooking the Shrimp Etouffee

Have everything prepared, diced, and ready to go. You’ll be surprised how fast this dish really comes together. Depending on the heat of your coals it might cook quicker than you expect, so don’t go anywhere.

Start with Roux

Place your cast iron skillet over the coals. For this recipe, I highly recommend using a 12″ skillet based on the volume of ingredients.

Once the skillet is warm, go ahead and add in the butter and flour. Whisk the two together to incorporate the flour, and you’ll notice that they thicken quickly into a white sauce.

Keep stirring constantly and cook for a few more minutes, and the roux will darken more.

Cook until the roux is a peanut butter color, which means that it has a nutty, complex flavor without turning bitter.

Add in the trinity of celery, onions, peppers, and salt.

Add the Cajun Trinity

Diced onions, celery, and peppers are added to the roux and stirred. Mix them around to make sure the roux evenly coats all of the vegetables.

Season with salt. Start with the recommended amount for the recipe (1 teaspoon) because the shrimp will have a natural salty flavor. Worchestershire, stock, and hot sauce are also added later, which adds more sodium.

Cook the vegetables for about 3-5 minutes, or until they have slightly softened.

Add in the tomato paste and cook it to remove the raw flavors.

Tomato Paste and Spices

Stir in the tomato paste, garlic, thyme, celery seeds, Cajun seasoning, black pepper, and bay leaf.

Mix to incorporate everything, especially the tomato paste. Cook for a few minutes to toast the spices and get rid of the raw flavor of tomatoes.

Add in the shrimp stock slowly while stirring. Allow it to cook for 5-10 minutes.

Add in Stock and Simmer

When the tomato paste no longer smells raw, pour in the stock slowly. Add a little at a time and stir to mix.

The sauce will be thick at first, and then thin out once all of the stock has been added.

Cook for about 5-7 minutes until the stock has thickened slightly, but is still rapidly simmering. There needs to be enough sauce to coat the shrimp.

Gently fold the shrimp into the sauce to cook for a few minutes.

Fold in Shrimp

Gently fold in the shrimp into the sauce, stirring gently to make sure they are submerged. You’ll probably need to stir a few times to flip some, making sure each side gets a chance to poach.

Cook the shrimp for about 3-5 minutes, until they are opaque and about 120°F. They will continue to slowly warm as you remove the skillet from the coals.

Spicy shrimp etouffee is cooked over the fire and ready to go.

Serving the Steak and Shrimp

Classicly, the shrimp étouffée would be served with rice and enjoyed straight away.

However, our Cajun steak and shrimp are skipping tradition and going straight onto each other, served with a generous slice of toasty garlic bread.

Take a few slices of French bread and spread some softened butter mixed with a little minced garlic. Toss those on the grill for a couple of minutes at the very end while you slice up the steak and serve.

Garnish with some freshly diced parsley, and don’t forget the Louisiana hot sauce!

Cajun steak and shrimp etouffee are served with a crispy garlic bread.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is shrimp etouffee spicy?

This version is medium spicy, but you have full control over that. The added kick will be the dash of hot sauce at the end, which I highly recommend.

Is this a traditional etouffee?

The Cajun version of shrimp etouffee tends to leave out tomatoes, while the Creole recipes tend to use them. It’s very flexible, but otherwise, this sticks closely to a traditional recipe.

Can this be prepared indoors?

Yes, you can sear the Cajun steaks in cast iron and then create the shrimp etouffee. You’ll be missing the wood-fired flavors, but at least it can be accomplished.

Other Spicy Dishes to Love

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Featuring grilled Cajun steak topped with a shrimp etouffee.

Cajun Steak and Shrimp Étouffée

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Transport your taste buds to the heart of Louisiana with this grilled Cajun Steak and Shrimp Étouffée. Skip the rice and pile the spicy shrimp on top of your tender steak, saving the garlic bread to mop everything up. Get ready for a fiery, rich meal!

  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: About 4-6 1x



Cajun Steaks

  • 2 or 3 NY strip steaks
  • 3 tablespoons Cajun seasoning, more as needed

Shrimp Étouffée

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 1 poblano chile, finely diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, diced
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups seafood stock
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 pounds medium-sized shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Louisiana hot sauce to taste
  • Chopped fresh parsley for garnish


  1. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat, with a cooler spot to 1 side. Clean the grates and wipe them down with a little oil using a paper towel.
  2. Prepare the steaks. Pat them dry and apply the Cajun seasoning on all sides. Allow them to rest at room temperature while the grill warms up.
  3. Grill the steaks. Place the steaks on the grill and allow them to sear directly over the coals for about 30-45 seconds before flipping. Continue to flip the steaks in this way until a crust has formed. Sear off the fat cap on the side. Move the steaks to the cooler side of the grill as needed if they are cooking too quickly. Cook until they are about 10° from your target temperature, medium-rare being 130-135°F. Pull them from the grill and rest under loosely tented foil.
  4. Start the étouffée with the roux. Place the skillet over the coals to warm up, and add in the butter and flour. Whisk them together well to incorporate the flour, cooking out the raw flavor. Keep whisking as the roux will start to darken into a peanut butter color. This is where we want to be.
  5. Add in the vegetables. Mix in the trinity of celery, onion, and poblano with the salt. Stir to coat the vegetables with the roux, and cook for a few minutes until they are slightly soft.
  6. Cook out the tomato paste. Add in the tomato paste, garlic, thyme, Cajun spices, celery seed, black pepper, and bay leaf. Stir to mix everything, and cook for a couple of minutes until the tomato paste doesn’t smell raw.
  7. Slowly add in the stock. Pour a little at a time, stirring to mix it in. After all of the stock has been added, pour in the Worcestershire sauce and allow the sauce to simmer for about 5-7 minutes. Stir on occasion, and look for the sauce to slightly thicken.
  8. Fold in the shrimp. Add the shrimp gently, and fold them into the sauce. Allow them to cook for about 3-5 minutes, flipping once to make sure both sides have been cooked. They should be opaque and have about 120°F internal temperature.
  9. Serve it up. Slice the steak against the grain and serve with the shrimp étouffée. Toast up a slice of bread with butter for the side. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and more hot sauce.
YouTube video


  • Don’t overcook the shrimp, or they will be very rubbery. If they start to curl into a tight “C” shape, it’s too much.
  • You can also serve this meal with a side of white rice, which is very traditional.
  • Taste your sauce at the end, it might need additional salt. This recipe is conservative, as the shrimp and shrimp stock typically add quite a bit of sodium.
  • Author: Brad Prose
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Category: Seafood
  • Method: Grilling
  • Cuisine: Cajun
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