Matt Moore, Southern Eats & Drinks Expert
Dare I say it? Summer has finally given in, and fall is slowly creeping in.
It seems this year’s high temps have survived longer than in years past, and while I appreciate the ice-cold refreshment of a Dixie Southern Vodka and soda against the lingering harsh heat and humidity, I must admit, the cooler temps are warmly welcomed like a stranger at a Southern dinner table.
And, speaking of dinner (because I’m always hungry) …
A favorite on my Southern dinner table—whether in a Po-boy sandwich, a cup of gumbo, or alongside a fried egg and grits—is shrimp; preferably Gulf shrimp. You can barbecue it, boil it, grill it, or sauté it; skewer it on kabobs, deep fry, or stir fry it; add it to salads, soups, burgers, or sandwiches. Does it get any better?
Nothing is better than fresh-caught Gulf shrimp, which is why I believe it should be treated simply. I love to boil shrimp, leaving the heads, tails, and peels on until just cooked through and firm. Then I shock and serve them on ice as peel-and-eat shrimp. Although typically served with cocktail or tartar sauce, I’ll tell ya, add buffalo sauce on the side for dipping—it definitely provides a nice kick.
When I’m not firing up my grill for a tailgate, you might find me standing over a turkey fryer with a 60-quart pot starting my morning roux with a Dixie Black Pepper Vodka Bloody Mary. What am I making? The roux should have been the clue!
Shrimp and okra gumbo, the perfect comfort food as the temperatures begin to drop—it warms the soul as well as a win for the home team. My recipe for the perfect gumbo is as varied as it should be so you can choose your own adventure of hearty fillings and toppings.
When I want something more a la minute, I like to lightly dredge my shrimp in a mix of flour and corn meal, season it up with some Cajun seasoning, and drop it in hot oil. The shrimp fry up quickly, so you can pop in your mouth immediately or sandwich them between some French bread and remoulade for a filling game day Po-boy.
All this talk of eating shrimp has got to be making you thirsty. The thing I love about a good Bloody Mary, besides the delicious Dixie Black Pepper Vodka, is the garnishes—especially shrimp. I suggest skewering up some boiled shrimp (and maybe some of your favorite pickled veggies) in all-star move that will win plenty of admiration at any tailgate. Who doesn’t love having a drink in one hand and a skewer of shrimp in the other?
What’s your favorite way to prepare Gulf shrimp?
The South’s Best Bloody Mary
- 2 oz. Dixie Black Pepper Vodka
- 6 oz. Bloody Mary mix
- Juice of 1/4 lemon
- Celery salt
- Black Pepper
- Cocktail shrimp
- Celery stalk
- Lemon wedge
Rim glass with celery salt and black pepper. Combine first 3 ingredients over ice and stir. Garnish with remaining ingredients. Enjoy!