In Search Of… the recipe for Marina Del Rey’s “Killer Shrimp” (Part 7 – Our Recipe Finale / Release 1.0)

imageI thought I was done with this, and then the power of the Internet dragged me back in to this pursuit.  Former USC Professor Arspoetice discovered this blog thread and added her own talent & mojo to the recipe, filling in some blanks that I believe did in fact close the case on this investigation of “how exactly do you make Killer Shrimp at home?”

She added several ingredients for a more authentic cajun flavor & kicked in a bit more of the umami we were searching for.  But to quote Ars:

“The most important outcome of these changes, we feel, was that the kitchen smelled like Killer Shrimp. We could close our eyes, picture ourselves in the Marina or Studio City. Perfect!”

So anyway, Arspoetice’s mods are highlighted in BOLD.  Thank you, Ars, from a UCLA Bruin.  See?  Trojans & Bruins can work together.  (Just don’t discuss athletics, I guess.)  I guess we’ll never really how close we came, but I do know that the resulting recipe is damned good.  And after being in pre-release since April 2010, here’s what I’m calling the “v1.0”:

Killer Shrimp
(version 1.0 – RELEASE)


      • ½ small onion, diced
      • 1 celery rib, diced
      • 1 moderate sized carrot, diced
      • 5 cloves Garlic, chopped/diced small
      • 3/4 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter (This was originally 1/2 cup)
      • 2 quarts low-sodium chicken broth
      • 2 tablespoon FRESH – not dried – Rosemary
      • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
      • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper (3/4 teaspoon if PREVIOUS batch of Killer Shrimp is available)
      • 1 teaspoon celery seed
      • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
      • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (3/4 teaspoon if PREVIOUS batch of Killer Shrimp is available)
      • 8oz clam juice
      • 3 tablespoons (3 oz) of tomato paste
      • 2 T Worcestershire sauce
      • 1 T lemon juice
      • 1/2 tsp. paprika
      • 1/4 tsp. oregano
      • 1 cup beer (ale)
      • 1 ½ pounds shrimp, with tails
      • 1 (1 pound) loaf French bread
      • 2 cups of PREVIOUS batch of Killer Shrimp broth – if available


  1. Fry onion, celery, carrots, garlic in a small pad of the butter until fragrant and soft in a large pot. Do not use more than a pad here.
  2. Take all the spices (rosemary, thyme, pepper, celery seed, fennel seed, pepper flakes) and cut/crush them enough that they remain whole but are broken to more easily release flavor.
  3. Pour in broth, and mix in rosemary, thyme, pepper, celery seed, fennel seed, clam juice, pepper flakes, & tomato paste. Place cover on pot to maintain consistency.
  4. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  5. Stir beer into the broth mixture as well as PREVIOUS batch of Killer Shrimp and continue to simmer and occasionally stir 2 hours.
  6. Just before serving, stir in shrimp. Continue cooking 3 minutes, or until shrimp are opaque. Remove and place in serving bowl.
  7. Add remaining butter in pads. Stir until all pads are melted. Once melted, quickly turn off heat and serve broth with previously separated shrimp in bowls.
  8. Serve with bread.

Yum.  Internet wins!  …Flawless victory!

19 Responses to In Search Of… the recipe for Marina Del Rey’s “Killer Shrimp” (Part 7 – Our Recipe Finale / Release 1.0)

  1. tg says:

    not feeling the carrots.

    • kurtsh says:

      …then don’t add them?

    • Harold (Lucky) Higgins says:

      There’s a couple of recipies out there that are very very to Jack Shrimp. The last thoughts posted should tell you all what the secret ingredient is ……TIME..or I should say AGEING! It’s like fine wine, aged beef. Ever made a spaghetti dish and found out a few days later that it tasted so much better that when you cooked it? They’re busy cooking other things on the menu everyday. But once a week The Man cooks up the next weeks estimated + supply of sauce. I know because I’ve done it. With several soups and sauces that we often eat. Part of the secret is making that first big batch and cook your Shrimp in a small portion of the brew and deal with the “really close taste” the first time around or let it set in the fridge for a few days or 1 week in canning jars then vacuum seal and then freeze them. When I make a new batch it’s usually when I use the last jar. I don’t eat Shrimp or Crawfish or anything for that matter everyday. So a big batch might last me a whole year. Unless I gift it out. The only exception is that when I cook up a pot of my (actually my greataunt’s) spaghetti sauce and make what my dad called Sewerpipes, you can imagin my dad’s reply when asked “what do you use to make this sauce?” my wife and I will have that for dinner until it’s gone. BTW one or two of your recipies, even if their ingredients differ a little, the ageing will even them out. Best of luck to you all.
      They call me Mr. Lucky.

  2. Maggie says:

    What if you don’t have the PREVIOUS KS batch? Thanks

    • kurtsh says:

      You can probably live without it. I had a theory that the previous batch added robustness to the broth and so I put that into the recipe. Still to this day, don’t know if it’s totally necessary.

  3. tg says:

    I just meant that I’ve never seen carrot pieces or slices in the ks dish.

  4. jordynn28 says:

    when do you add the bolded new additions? in step 3? or all in step three except the lemon juice which is at the end? (usually lemon juice is a final add but then again, just want to duplicate what you did!) – thanks. . p.s. hubby is obsessed with Killer Shrimp and we live in Bay Area so….

    • kurtsh says:

      Jordyn – I’m so sorry but damned if I can remember what we did back then. It was so many eons ago, I actually lived in a different house and had a kid in the meantime, so I couldn’t for the life of me tell you what we did. Guess you’ll just have to give it a try!

  5. Wendy says:

    Perfecta!!! Made it one day in advance and added the shrimp prior to eating….it’s an awesome (if not exact) recipe of one of my all time favorites … BTW … Anyone who grew up in MDR, although Killer shrimp is no longer located in its original location, they did open a newer location in the old Red Onion restaurant … Thank you to all who helped in figuring out this yummy dish!

    • kurtsh says:

      Glad you liked it, Wendy. What’s funny is when my wife and I invested all that time in investigating the recipe for Killer Shrimp, it was an eternity ago. Since then, like you mention, they’ve reopened in the restaurant location right on the marina itself. Additionally, I now work just down the street from there. And… the bad news… I’m old enough now that my digestion just doesn’t agree with Killer Shrimp so I can only eat it every once in a while. 🙂

    • Tony says:

      BTW, the new MdR location is actually in the space of two former restaurants (neither was the Red Onion spot), adjacent to Basin E.

      Killer Shrimp Cafe (open 24 hours, yes you read that right) took over the former Edie’s Diner spot (home of the glorious chili sundae). It’s next-door to the former Red Onion spot. The actual KS restaurant is also next door (in the other direction), on the corner of Admiralty & Palawan, in the spot of the former Harbor Restaurant, and a few other restaurants before that.

      I always go to the Cafe spot, but it’s the same food, same kitchen, and same prices, so just pick the atmosphere you like. 🙂

  6. janet says:

    In your latest version of Killer Shrimp you say to add 2 cups of broth from the previous recipe. I don’t have the previous recipe so what am I suppose to use?

    • kurtsh says:

      Hi Janet. What I meant was, if you’d made the broth previously, to save 2 cups from that batch (freeze it whatever) and add it to the new batch. It’s not necessary but its something that helps settle the broth’s flavor sooner rather than latter. At Killer Shrimp, it’s my understanding that they cook components of the broth continuously all day so each meal isn’t a “one off” but rather a bowl from a much larger pot of broth that contains something like half the ingredients in it. (For example, the butter isn’t added yet)

  7. Liz says:

    I worked at Killer Shrimp – so I can confirm it’s a full stick of butter, and the beer they use is bottled Budweiser.

    • Russ says:

      Hello Liz,

      I have never eaten there before, but my one of my co-workers has and he was talking about it the other day, he said he used to take his boys there. Imagine my surprise to see so many people looking for the same thing. Have you tried the recipe listed here? If you have, is it very close? What bread would you recommend? Cheers.

      • Daniel Dominique Watts says:

        It was always a half loaf of French baguette. slice into about 1″ thick pieces to soak up the broth. It’s eaten that way.

  8. Daniel Dominique Watts says:

    It was definitely white wine used in the recipe. Just so you know, my ex-wife & I wrote to the now gone Gourmet Magazine about 2006/7 as they had an article for “recipes from famous restaurants” where they would get the recipe ( they never told how) and posted it in their magazine “before” they no longer made the Gourmet Magazine. I know my ex had the recipe from their issue and for awhile it was available as well online. I DO know & remember it “was” white wine! I also seem to recall it having white pepper but I may not recall exactly & I can’t seem to find my copy of it anywhere. Hopefully you can at least update the white wine used. The amounts of butter, white wine, tomato paste seems to sound correct to me.

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