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Big Oak Shrimpburger

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The Big Oak Shrimpburger is a flavor burst in every bite! A mound of fresh popcorn shrimp is the star of this sandwich that I discovered at the beach this summer. One bite, and you’ll be hooked too

Close up shot of 2 finished Shrimpburgers on white paper with a side of pickles

I’ve lived in Oklahoma for almost 14 years. And two of the things I miss most are really fresh seafood and the ocean.

I mean, I’m not gonna pass up a great lake trip. But nothing beats the sound and smell of the ocean or the peace and tranquility of the beach. So when the opportunity came to tag onto the end of Kara’s beach week in Atlantic Beach, NC in August, I couldn’t resist.

That Saturday we picked up lunch at Big Oak Drive-in. And before I could even think about the menu, Kara and Lindsey both said I had to get the shrimpburger.

One bite in, I understood why. I also knew I had to do my part to recreate the Big Oak Shrimpburger

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS
  • You can do everything from scratch or take easy shortcuts
  • You can customize the shrimpburger to your preference
  • It’s a great excuse to eat lots of popcorn shrimp!
Close up shot of finished Shrimpburger on white paper with coleslaw on the side

Man, the Big Oak Shrimpburger is so good! The crispy shrimp, creamy sauce, and crunchy coleslaw are a fabulous combination.

INGREDIENT TIPS FOR THE BIG OAK SHRIMPBURGER

The basics of the Big Oak Shrimpburger

  • Soft sandwich bun
  • Freshly fried popcorn shrimp
  • Tartar sauce and ketchup
  • Coleslaw

Big Oak steams their hamburger buns. However, the bun kinda steams again when it’s wrapped in the foil, so it gets too soft for my taste. Instead, I use the soft and buttery Brioche Buns.

I use my Homemade Tartar Sauce. It comes together in minutes, and I always have it on hand for my Crunchy Baked Fish Sticks.

I’ve gone back and forth on bagged coleslaw vs homemade, and I’ve tried it both ways. Honestly, for this recipe, it’s easier to just buy a bag of coleslaw mix.

Overhead shot of 2 finished Shrimpburgers on white paper
TIPS FOR POPCORN SHRIMP

For popcorn shrimp, smaller is better. I use XS shrimp, which is 100-120 shrimp per pound.

Make sure to season the flour. I use Old Bay Seasoning because it’s perfect on pretty much any seafood. Old Bay is a complete seasoning on its own, but I also add hot sauce to the egg wash for a kick of spice.

Fry the shrimp in a light, flavorless. I prefer to use canola oil, as it has a high smoke point. I fry the shrimp in either a cast-iron skillet or a Dutch oven. Both are heavy-bottomed, and distribute heat and cook evenly.

Use a Deep-Fry Thermometer to regulate the oil temperature. It is well worth it, to avoid guesswork and frustration. Fry the shrimp at 350° and they will cook in 3-4 minutes.

close up shot of finished Shrimpburger with another sandwich in the background
STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS

Make the Tartar Sauce. I recommend making it at least one hour ahead so the flavors develop.

Add the coleslaw mix to a large bowl. Pour the slaw dressing over the mix, a little at a time, until you get your desired consistency. Add a little fresh-cracked black pepper and stir to combine. Set aside.

Overhead process shot: Coleslaw in a glass bowl

Pat the shrimp dry, and add to a large bowl.

Combine flour and Old Bay seasoning in a bowl and whisk together. Add 1/4 cup of the seasoned flour to the shrimp and toss to fully coat.

Add the egg, milk and hot sauce to a bowl, and whisk to combine.

Next, dredge the shrimp in the egg wash and then in the remaining seasoned flour.

Process shot: breaded shrimp, ready to fry

Add enough oil to the skillet for a depth of about 3”, and heat to 375°.

Working in batches, carefully add shrimp to the oil. Don’t overcrowd the pot, and watch the temperature.

Overhead process shot: shrimp frying in a Dutch oven

Transfer the shrimp to a cooling rack as soon as it’s done, and sprinkle with a little coarse sea salt.

Process shot: finished shrimp on a cooling rack

Build the Shrimpburger

  • Spread a layer of tartar sauce on the bottom bun
  • Add a layer of coleslaw
  • Add a generous amount of shrimp
  • Spread a layer of ketchup on the top bun
Process shot: overhead shot of sandwich layers
SERVINGS AND OPTIONS

I recommend serving the Big Oak Shrimpburger immediately. This keeps the shrimp crunchy and prevents the coleslaw and condiments from soaking into the bread. Cause nobody wants soggy bread.

Make the Shrimpburger your own creation!

  • Don’t like coleslaw? Omit it
  • Don’t think ketchup is a good idea? Use Tatar sauce on both buns
  • Making Shrimpburgers for a crowd? Set it up buffet style so guests can make their own creation.

Shortcut options

  • Use store-bought Tartar Sauce and Slaw Dressing.
  • Buy the bagged coleslaw that also includes a dressing packet
  • Use frozen popcorn shrimp
close up of finished Shrimpburger on white paper with another sandwich in the background
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How far ahead can I make the tartar sauce? You can make it up to 2 weeks ahead, and keep it stored in sealed containers in the fridge. I recommend making it at least one hour ahead so the flavors can develop.

What about leftovers? I don’t recommend reheating seafood, because to me it never tastes the same. Especially fried seafood. Besides, reheated shrimp that small will be rubbery.

MORE DELICIOUS SHRIMP RECIPES
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close up shot of finished Shrimpburger

Big Oak Shrimpburger

Yield: 4 Shrimpburgers
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

The Big Oak Shrimpburger is a flavor burst in every bite. Fresh, hot popcorn shrimp is the star of the sandwich, and tangy coleslaw adds the perfect crunch.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Make the Tartar Sauce. I recommend making it at least one hour ahead so the flavors develop
  2. Add the coleslaw mix to a large bowl. Pour the slaw dressing over the mix, add a little fresh-cracked black pepper, and stir to combine. Set aside.
  3. Pat the shrimp dry and add to a large bowl
  4. Combine the flour and Old Bay seasoning in a bowl and combine.
  5. Add 1/4 cup of the seasoned flour to the shrimp, and toss to combine
  6. Add oil for a depth of 3" to the pot and heat to 375 degrees
  7. Whisk the egg, milk, and hot sauce together in a bowl
  8. Dredge the shrimp in the egg wash and then in the remaining seasoned flour
  9. Working in batches, carefully add the shrimp to the oil. The shrimp will cook in 3-4 minutes
  10. Transfer the cooked shrimp to a cooling rack, and sprinkle with salt
  11. BUILD THE SHRIMPBURGER
  12. Spread a layer of tartar sauce on the bottom bun
  13. Add a layer of coleslaw
  14. Top with shrimp
  15. Spread a layer of ketchup on the top bun

Notes

For popcorn shrimp, smaller is better. I use XS shrimp, which is 100-120 shrimp per pound.

When dredging the shrimp, do just a few pieces at a time. The shrimp will stick together really easily and then won't get fully coated.

Shortcut options

  • Use store-bought Tartar Sauce
  • Buy the bagged coleslaw that also includes a dressing packet
  • Use frozen popcorn shrimp

Make the Shrimpburger your own creation!

  • Don’t like coleslaw? Omit it
  • Don’t think ketchup is a good idea? Use Tatar sauce on both buns
  • Making Shrimpburgers for a crowd? Set it up buffet style so guests can make their own creation.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How far ahead can I make the tartar sauce? You can make it up to 2 weeks ahead, and keep it stored in sealed containers in the fridge. I recommend making it at least one hour ahead so the flavors can develop.

What about leftovers? I don’t recommend reheating seafood, because to me it never tastes the same. Especially fried seafood. Besides, reheated shrimp that small will be rubbery.

Recommended Products

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 734Total Fat: 39gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 25gCholesterol: 173mgSodium: 1280mgCarbohydrates: 81gFiber: 4gSugar: 19gProtein: 14g

Nutrient values are estimates only. Variations may occur due to product availability and food preparation. Nutrition may vary based on methods of preparation, origin and freshness of ingredients, etc

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