Best Shrimp Recipe: Doc Ford’s Yucatan Shrimp

doc ford's yucatan shrimp recipeDuring a recent visit to Captiva Island, my husband and I checked out the local Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille.  The restaurant is owned by Randy Wayne White, an author who specializes crime fiction novels set in Southwest Florida.

We sat at Doc Ford’s bar and were served by Steve, who was not only an awesome bartender but also an encyclopedia of local knowledge.  He told us everything we needed to know about visiting the Captiva/Sanibel/Ft. Myer’s area, but the best tip he gave us was to make sure that we tried Doc Ford’s Yucatan Shrimp.  He did not steer us wrong!  These jumbo shrimp are steamed with the shell on, but the real star here is the sauce – a garlic butter sauce with a spicy chili kick!  Steve told us that the key to eating the shrimp is so suck off the sauce from each shrimp before you try to peel them.  If not, they are slippery little suckers!  We took his advice, and may have looked silly doing it, but we didn’t care.  It was too delicious to care about how we looked.

We chowed down on a bowl of the Yucatan Shrimp and after the shrimp were gone, we equally enjoyed dipping the toasted bread into the remaining butter sauce.  After devouring the appetizer of Yucatan Shrimp, instead of ordering an entree, we opted to follow it up with the Sanibel Stoop rum drink and the local “High 5” IPA from Ft. Myer’s Brewery.  In Steve’s words, “There’s a pork chop in every glass!”

To our culinary delight, Steve hooked us up with the actual recipe for Doc Ford’s Yucatan Shrimp, so here it is. The sauce is delicious on shrimp but also great on any grilled seafood. And it would only be appropriate to enjoy with a rum drink in hand!

Doc Ford’s Yucatan Shrimp Recipe


4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 large clove garlic, minced

Juice of two large limes

1 tablespoon Indonesian sambal (sambal oelek)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 pound large, fresh, shell-on shrimp

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro


In a small saucepan set over low heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the garlic and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Add remaining 3 tablespoons butter to saucepan. When it melts, stir in the lime juice, chili sauce, salt and pepper. Turn off the heat and allow the sauce to rest. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add the shrimp and cook for 2 minutes or until they are just firm and pink. Do not overcook. Drain into a colander and shake over the sink to remove excess moisture. In a large bowl, toss the shrimp and chili sauce. Sprinkle with cilantro and toss again.






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About the author: You can take the girl out of Florida, but you can’t take Florida out of the girl. I grew up in Bradenton and moved to NYC when I got an internship at the David Letterman show (don’t worry, I wasn’t one of the interns who had an affair with the boss!) I eventually scored a job at CosmoGIRL magazine and then at MTV. But no matter how cool the job was, I hated dressing in layers, sweaters make me look bulky and I missed wearing flip-flops every day. I also missed my family. So, after 9 years of drinking waaay too many Cosmos and eating waaay too many BBQ nachos at Virgil’s in Times Square, I moved back to the sunshine state. My life is now ruled by my two-year-old daughter, Eva and six-year-old daughter, Olive. They love going to the beach and playing in the sand. Just like Mommy.

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