This post is sponsored by Bolner’s Fiesta Brand Seasonings.
If your looking for an unforgettable, show stopping appetizer for your New Years celebration, look no further. These Cajun Smoked Bacon Wrapped Shrimp are going to ensure you kick off the new year with a bang! Sweet tender shrimp stuffed with jalapeno, wrapped in bacon, smoked and topped with gooey pepper jack cheese…these morsels are a flavor explosion! Add in the Cranberry Horseradish Dipping Sauce….INSANE! Low Carb, Keto Friendly, Gluten Free!
Well folks, 2019 is upon us! I hate to admit it but the Cowboy and I are pretty much duds for Ne Years Eve! We are typically of the crowd that is in bed and fast asleep way before midnight! That being said, we celebrate New Years Eve by hanging out with the girls, playing board games, watching movies and eating appetizers! We love a variety of yummy snacks but there is one that the whole family and any guest we have over always go gaga over…Cajun Smoked Bacon Wrapped Shrimp. My mouth is watering already!
Not often does the Cowboy get super excited about an appetizer, but these shrimp he goes crazy for….so crazy he will even help with the prep!!
The Cowboy and I have had a ton of bacon wrapped shrimp in our day. If it’s on a menu…it’s one of the things we have to try! That being said, we’ve had some really good versions and well, some not so much! Due to our obsession with this yummy dish, I’ve been on a mission over the past few months to make the ultimate bacon wrapped shrimp at home… and I have finally done it! As a matter of fact, I made a batch of these shrimp for some ranch guests that were out a few weeks ago…and they demolished them in seconds!
One of the things that always bothers me about bacon wrapped shrimp when we order them is either under cooked bacon or just a lack of flavor! Well, I’ve solved both of these problems. Be patient…there is a little prep work that goes into these but it’s super easy and after one bite, you’ll be so glad you did!
First, start off with fresh, wild caught shrimp if possible…this will make a big difference in how the shrimp taste! Out here, fresh shrimp is not available, so we splurge for the frozen wild caught and they are really just as good. To prepare the shrimp, you are going to peel, devein and butterfly them….easy peasy. You can also buy them deveined and peeled in some stores, if you want to skip a few steps but they are not available around here…so we peel! This is a great job to get the kids…or the Cowboy involved!
Pro tip: Save the shrimp shells to use in stock. Just through the shells in a ziplock and keep them in the freezer till your ready to make a batch!
For this recipe, I used 31-35 size shrimp which are considered large…you can use bigger shrimp but I wouldn’t use any smaller. The “31-35” means there are between 31-35 shrimp per pound. So you will get an average of 33 shrimp from a pound. I think this size is perfect for an appetizer and these shrimp are a little less expensive than the larger ones!
You will also need a great Cajun or blackening seasoning! I use the Cajun-All Seasoning and Cajun Red Fish Seasoning for blackening from Bolner’s Fiesta Brand. I love the flavor and quality of their seasonings and there is no MSG or gluten! The Cajun and Blackening seasoning will add great flavor to the shrimp and we also use the blackening seasoning in our sauce! These seasonings are extremely versatile and great to have on hand to spice up any recipe. Check out this Blackened Venison Tenderloin!
Now, it’s unanimous around here that these shrimp are better after a quick visit to the smoker! The flavor that the smoke adds just takes these little bites of heaven right over the top! We smoke the shrimp at a very cool temperature, between 70-90 degrees for about 30 minutes, making sure they never get too hot that they start cooking. You an also do this inside in a stove top smoker or even with a smoking gun, if you have one. We have a smoker and a larger pit where we can cold smoke. If you want to skip this step the shrimp will still be scrumptious….but we highly recommend the extra effort and the smoke if possible!
I like to use the smoker and the oven so I don’t have to baby sit the BBQ pit or grill to make sure it stays at the right temperature…plus its been rainy, windy and cold up here! You can cook the shrimp 100% on the grill or BBQ pit…check out the notes in the recipe.
After the shrimp are smoked, the shrimp are topped with garlic butter, baked in the oven, then topped with some spicy pepper jack cheese. The result…a low carb, keto friendly flavorful appetizer that will blow your mind! Oh…and that dipping sauce!
The trick to solving the undercooked bacon issue is to par cook the bacon for about 10 minutes before wrapping the shrimp. This way when you bake them off before serving the bacon finished cooking! There is often the problem that the shrimp is overdone and the bacon is cooked all the way or the bacon is flabby and the shrimp is cooked….either way…no thanks.
To take these flavor bombs to heights unknown, don’t forget the sauce! This sweet, tart cranberry sauce kicked up with horseradish, is the perfect complement to the salty, savory shrimp. Trust me! You can also make the sauce and assemble the shrimp in advance! This sauce deserves its own bottle!
Serve these Cajun Smoked Bacon Wrapped Shrimp with Cranberry Horseradish Dipping Sauce for your New Years Eve celebration and prepare for your guests to be wowed! I’m warning you…make extras!! These will not last long!!
Cajun Smoked Bacon Wrapped Shrimp with Cranberry Horseradish Dipping Sauce
For the shrimp:
- 1 pound large wild caught shrimp 31/35, peeled (tails on), deveined & butterflied
- 2 fresh jalapenos seeded, deveined and cut into thin strips
- 18 pieces bacon
- 1 ½ tsp. Fiesta Brand Cajun All Seasoning
- 2 tsp. Fiesta Brand Cajun Red Fish & Meat Seasoning for Blackening
- 4 Tbsp. butter
- 2 cloves garlic minced finely
- 1 cup shredded Pepper Jack cheese
For the Cranberry Horseradish Dipping Sauce
- 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1/2 cup water
- ½ tsp grated orange zest
- 6 Tbsp. Lakanto Gold Monkfruit Sweetener
- Pinch salt
- 3 tsp. prepared horseradish
- 1 tsp. brown mustard
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp. Fiesta Brand Cajun Red Fish & Meat Seasoning for Blackening
To prepare the Dipping Sauce:
- Put all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Simmer until cranberries burst and sauce thickens. Remove from heat, pour into a container and refrigerate for at least an hour. After cooling, the sauce should be thickened even more. Add the horseradish, both mustards and seasonings to cooled sauce and stir to combine. Refrigerate until serving.
To Prepare the Shrimp:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the bacon slices on a lined sheet pan and bake for 10-12 minutes until the edges start to turn golden. Remove from the oven and let drain on a plate lined with paper towels. When the bacon is cool, cut the pieces in half for wrapping.
- Grab a butterflied shrimp, add a strip of jalapeno in the middle of the back and wrap with ½ piece of bacon. Secure with toothpick through the end of the bacon and through the shrimp and place on a sheet tray that will fit in your smoker or a 9×13 disposable aluminum pan. Repeat until all the shrimp are stuffed wrapped and secured. Sprinkle seasonings evenly over the wrapped shrimp.
- **If you are skipping the smoker, place your shrimp in the dish you want to serve it in and go to step 5.** To cook entirely on the grill, see the recipe notes.
- Following the instructions for your particular smoker, get your smoker going to produce a cold smoke, between 75 and 95 degrees. Place the shrimp in the smoker for 30 minutes. Remove from smoker.
- Place shrimp in it’s final serving dish. Melt the butter and add the garlic; stir to combine. Pour garlic butter evenly over the smoked shrimp. Place in 400 degree oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, sprinkle evenly with the pepper jack cheese and return to oven for an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve immediately with Cranberry Horseradish Dipping Sauce!