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St Augustine style shrimp

sunshine842 Sep 17, 2009 03:49 AM

Hi guys -- I'm a Florida girl relocated to Europe, and while I'm LOVING the chow scene here (fresh markets, buying Brie *from the producer*...just today saw the butcher taking delivery of whole lambs), once in a while we get a good jones for a taste of something from home.

I've figured out Chipotle's pork carnitas (shoulda seen that one, three of us wolfing down burritoes like we were starving to death!)

I've got the Columbia cookbook, so I can manage a pretty mean 1905 salad and a Cuban sandwich - my paella has been famous for years, and my flan can bring a grown man to his knees.

The one I am having trouble deconstructing is St Augustine shrimp -- like O'Steen's. Anybody have a recipe that has a more-than-passing resemblance? It's the one recipe that we keep talking about, and I just can't muster the light batter.


  1. k
    Kennyv0611 May 13, 2013 07:09 AM

    It's not batter! lol

    1. fldhkybnva May 12, 2013 06:15 PM

      I don't have a recipe for St. Augustine style shrimp but am interested in your recipe for Chipotle pork carnitas if you're willing to share.

      6 Replies
      1. re: fldhkybnva
        sunshine842 May 12, 2013 06:19 PM


        I don't know how accurate it is, but it's good!

        I've done it in the crockpot, too.

        1. re: sunshine842
          fldhkybnva May 12, 2013 11:18 PM

          Great, thanks.

          1. re: fldhkybnva
            CEOSteen Jan 4, 2014 01:28 PM

            Ok....here it is....start with fresh shrimp, never frozen...clean, devein, butterfly. Egg wash, cracker meal only and only fry in peanut oil...fresh peanut oil...careful not to overcook.
            Hope You Enjoy,
            CE O'Steen Sr

            1. re: CEOSteen
              sunshine842 Jan 4, 2014 01:35 PM

              and that will make the most unusual-tasting carnitas you've ever tasted....

              1. re: sunshine842
                CEOSteen Jan 4, 2014 01:47 PM

                Lol sorry I didnt see your post much earlier. My family served many shrimp plates over the years.

                1. re: CEOSteen
                  sunshine842 Jan 5, 2014 06:54 AM

                  the good news is that I'm back in Florida, and trying to clear a weekend so we can come back to St A for a fix.

      2. k
        Kennyv0611 May 10, 2013 01:49 PM

        I will give you the secret, you clean devein and butterfly your 21-25 count shrimp buy Golden Dipt Seafood Breader you can dredge the shrimp in milk first although not necessary then coat with Golden Dipt and fry now see if that isn't what you were looking for. I grew up in a shrimp house in St. Augustine and it is with out a doubt the best fried shrimp on the planet. Hope you enjoy!

        7 Replies
        1. re: Kennyv0611
          sunshine842 May 10, 2013 06:33 PM

          No, that's not what I was looking for.

          1. re: sunshine842
            Kennyv0611 May 11, 2013 06:15 AM

            What were you looking for? I am from St. Augustine and that is what Osteen's and Barnacle Bills uses? LOL

            1. re: Kennyv0611
              sunshine842 May 12, 2013 06:05 PM

              No. It's not.

              1. re: sunshine842
                meatn3 May 12, 2013 07:29 PM


                Did you get to St. Aug when you were in Fl.?

                1. re: meatn3
                  sunshine842 May 12, 2013 07:34 PM

                  not yet....it's on the list, though.

                  1. re: sunshine842
                    meatn3 May 12, 2013 07:40 PM

                    Inquiring minds want to know - will you don the plastic gloves and place shrimp samples in the test tubes before you dig in or after?

                    There is a pepper sauce shop just north of Tradewinds Lounge iirc which sells datil pepper seeds if you have interest.

                    *sigh* Minorcan chowder craving just began...

                    1. re: meatn3
                      sunshine842 May 13, 2013 03:52 AM

                      Hmmm....that will go on the list, too -- Datil definitely doesn't taste like any other pepper.

        2. o
          onrushpam Jul 5, 2012 03:37 PM

          Here's a thought... perhaps "cracker meal" doesn't actually refer to crackers (the food) but to FL Crackers (the people).
          Definition from the web:
          Florida cracker refers to original colonial-era English and American pioneer settlers of what is now the U.S. state of Florida, and their descendants.
          There are all sorts of fish/seafood breading mixes available down here (I live near Tallahassee). My favorite is one that's actually made in NC, but all the seafood markets down here sell it. The primary ingredient is corn flour (not corn meal). It is very light. Sometimes, I just dip damp fish/shellfish in it before frying. Other times, I make a light batter using club soda as the liquid (makes more of a tempura batter).

          However, it also lists cracker meal as an ingredient! It appears Nabisco used to market a product called Cracker Meal, but it has been discontinued. I found this substitute online: http://nuts.com/cookingbaking/flours/...


          4 Replies
          1. re: onrushpam
            karenfinan Jul 5, 2012 07:32 PM

            Ding ding !! I think we have a winner! I bet that is it!

            1. re: onrushpam
              sunshine842 Jul 5, 2012 10:35 PM

              You'll see above that I used crushed, unsalted saltine crackers.

              I figured it was easier than trying to pulverize a freeze-dried native Floridian.

              1. re: sunshine842
                meatn3 Jul 6, 2012 07:00 AM

                Would customs even allow you to bring one back?

                1. re: meatn3
                  sunshine842 Jul 6, 2012 12:47 PM

                  Nah, foot in mouth disease, doncha know. :D


            2. sunshine842 Jul 5, 2012 11:55 AM

              Okay-- found some whole (head-on) shrimp and began the experiment....

              ...tailed, shelled, and veined the shrimp, butterflying (splitting) them about half-way down.

              1) Dredge -- plain, all-purpose flour

              2) Drudge -- egg and a little milk

              3) 2nd dredge -- half and half mixture of cornstarch and unsalted saltines, whizzed til very fine in the food processor (no oyster crackers here.... :/ ) Finer than cornmeal.

              Note there's no salt or pepper anywhere thus far.

              Deep fried at 310F (as in the video I posted) for about 2 minutes.

              Result? Not quite O'Steen's, but damned fine fried shrimp. *Definitely* on the right path, and it quiets the jones for a while.

              Issues: Too much flour on the shrimp -- Need to dry them a little more before the first dredge, then shake them off well before proceeding with the drudge and second dredge.

              Cracker meal -- unsalted saltines are pretty darned close -- a little too golden, but the flavor is just about right. Even though it was finer than cornmeal, it could have been even finer.

              So...we're not there yet, but it was still really good, and I've identified some weak points for the next round.

              11 Replies
              1. re: sunshine842
                meatn3 Jul 5, 2012 01:22 PM

                Glad the craving was satisfied! Just a thought - perhaps sift the flour first? Especially if it is humid it might help give that whisper of a dusting needed.

                Might be just me, but I've found potato starch seems "lighter" than cornstarch.

                1. re: meatn3
                  sunshine842 Jul 5, 2012 01:45 PM

                  possibly -- it's been raining all day, so the air is pretty juicy (no a/c here, either -- it's not hot, but it's definitely humid). I also didn't dry them very well after rinsing them to finish removing the veins (didn't think about it, frankly) -- so wet shrimp plus damp flour = goo. It wasn't bad - you could still see the pink of the shrimp through the breading, so obviously very light, but a little bit floury.

                  I'm trying to process in my mind what would have been available in St. Augustine in the late 30's/early 40s....and so had already eliminated all the other starches....but they raise taters just up the road a piece in Hastings (see, you can take the girl outta the state, but you can't fix that accent....). Hmmmm. Also thought about using pastry flour -- Dixie Lily (or similar) is likely to have been a pretty common flour, and it's noticeably softer than AP flour. I'm a long, LONG way from Dixie Lily country, but i can get soft-wheat flour easily.

                  1. re: sunshine842
                    MelMM Jul 5, 2012 02:44 PM

                    People often have erroneous ideas about what was available when. Take rice flour, for instance. Many people look askance when they see an old recipe that calls for rice flour, but it was a common ingredient in 19th century American recipes, especially in the Southeast. In the 1847 book "The Carolina Housewife", the chapter on Breads, Cakes, Etc. (which includes breads, biscuits, griddle cakes, and such), has more items that are based on rice or rice flour than wheat. Also more items based on corn than wheat (a comparable number to the rice-based dishes), some based on rye, some potato-based, and even a couple based on arrowroot (otherwise known as kudzu, even though this was well before the kudzu invasion of the South).

                    1. re: MelMM
                      sunshine842 Jul 5, 2012 02:59 PM

                      I'm pretty sure I never mentioned rice. And I specifically mentioned that potatoes are grown in the area and thus potato starch is absolutely possible. (Hastings being the potato capital of Florida with over 20,000 of acres dedicated to raising potatoes, and located just 20 miles or so from St. Augustine.)

                      she might talk funny, but she ain't stupid.

                      1. re: sunshine842
                        MelMM Jul 5, 2012 04:01 PM

                        Just using rice flour as an example of something people think of as a new ingredient when it can be very traditional... you didn't mention it, but I did, and mamachef did, and someone upthread (not you) speculated it wouldn't have been available. I hadn't thought about arrowroot previously, but you might want to bring that under consideration. I also like the potato starch possibility.

                        1. re: MelMM
                          kengk Jul 5, 2012 04:16 PM

                          I would bet that all the ingredients in the world famous O'Steens fried shrimp can be (and may well be) bought at the St. Auggie Piggly Wiggly. Maybe Sysco?

                          Is commercial cracker meal the same thing as crushed crackers?

                          1. re: MelMM
                            meatn3 Jul 5, 2012 06:10 PM

                            I'm the one who speculated that rice flour would not have been easily available in tiny Fl. towns during that period. Florida was a pretty hard scrabble place during that era.
                            I have deep cracker roots and my older relatives, many of whom were/are experienced cooks, say it was never on their radar until the '80's.

                            It very well may show up in earlier documents but I doubt it would have been easy enough to come by at that time/place for that application for O'Steens to use it.

                            Plus I've had the shrimp at least 50 times and it does not taste as though rice flour is used.

                            1. re: meatn3
                              Kennyv0611 May 11, 2013 06:45 AM

                              It is not rice flour LOL, it is pretty simple they buy a cornmeal based seafood breader from Mc Cormick " Golden Dipt Brand Seafood Breader" finely ground corn meal with cellery salt and a couple other spice nothing over the top. I am from St. Augustine and they are right 70's and early 80's started the fried shrimp boom in town. I worked at Coley's across from O'Steens 4.95 got you all the shrimp you could eat plus french fries, or baked potato, coleslaw, sweet tea and a desert! What a deal... They lined up around the side of the building. If I were trying to make the breader I would use a fine ground corn meal and a little celery salt nothing else. No Flour soak the shrimp in milk and nothing else no egg baths nothing. toss in corn meal mixture and shake of excess then fry for about 3 minutes at 350 mix a little Datil Do It pepper sause and tarter sauce until pink and enjoy.

                  2. re: sunshine842
                    Kennyv0611 May 11, 2013 06:24 AM

                    Won't be St,Augustine Shrimp you don't even have any corn meal?

                    1. re: Kennyv0611
                      sunshine842 May 12, 2013 06:05 PM

                      Kenny, have you ever actually been to O'Steen's?

                      It's not Golden Dipt.

                      1. re: sunshine842
                        Kennyv0611 May 13, 2013 06:51 AM

                        Are you serious? LOL I am from St.Augustine grew up there and worked in O'Steens and Colley's as a teenager. Of course I have eaten it, have you ever eaten at any of the other places that sell the exact same shrimp? Nothing special about O'Steens, go across the Bridge and try Barnacle Bill's you will get the same thing in fact most of the people I know from town would tell you it's actually better. If you knew how many plates of fried shrimp I have made and served as growing up, you wouldn't have any doubt about what is is that really makes the shrimp so good. It is a commercial corn meal mix, nothing more and of course the Datil Pepper Sauce sauce takes it over the top!

                  3. meatn3 Jul 1, 2012 07:10 PM

                    Even though I am not enamored with O'Steen's fried shrimp I want to chime in. I have eaten there many, many times and have had the shrimp (fresh as can be) on numerous occasions. While it isn't my favorite style of fried shrimp the mystery of the method causes me to order some every few years.

                    This coating is so light that it can't be a batter. You can see the shrimps coloration through it at times. The coating becomes one with the exterior of the peeled shrimp and doesn't separate from the shrimp like most batter dipped items. If there is an egg wash it has been diluted with something, probably water in my opinion - usually a protein based wash toughens slightly, but enough to separate from the fish even if only subtlety. I wouldn't be surprised it is milk or buttermilk - this would result in a very thin wash. The "flour" is very finely textured. I detect no hint of cornmeal or leavening agent. If they are using cracker crumbs then they are pulverizing them first. There is just no textural indication of anything other than very fine "flour". It doesn't taste of rice flour, plus rice flour would not have been locally available when O'Steen's started serving.

                    I'm from the South and spent many years living on the Gulf. I have eaten 100's of pounds of fried shrimp. I have never had any prepared in quite this manner elsewhere. I've been pondering this since 1980 and it still remains a mystery to me!

                    11 Replies
                    1. re: meatn3
                      shallots Jul 1, 2012 08:45 PM

                      In New Orleans, the local 'secret' for fish fries was using at least half corn starch for the dip.

                      1. re: meatn3
                        sunshine842 Jul 2, 2012 12:31 PM

                        Thanks, meatn3, for backing me up--- I appreciate it! It really is unique, and there's no way to really explain it unless you've seen it.

                        I also found this video that was just posted last month: http://www.harvesteating.com/2012/06/...

                        Unfortunately, the sound of the fryers and the basket-bumping all but eliminates hearing any of the conversation, but you can understand that it's cracker meal "that they get from a place here in town" -- very cagey, and with good reason - people have been trying to break that recipe for 70 years or more.

                        But what I though was most interesting was the trays of dipped shrimp-- NOT a batter, and stark, snow-white. The blogger asks what kind of flour it is, and he says all-purpose -- but that snowy coating HAS to have some cornstarch in it.

                        Thanks, guys, for helping me pick this one apart. Next time I find good fresh shrimp, it's time to experiment....

                        1. re: sunshine842
                          mamachef Jul 2, 2012 12:43 PM

                          Good luck!! Please let us know what you find out!!
                          The omission of an ingredient is one way restos. protect their secrets. Sure, it's ap flour in there. AND cornstarch, which is the thing he didn't say.

                          1. re: sunshine842
                            meatn3 Jul 2, 2012 03:24 PM

                            Maybe if we approach this backwards it would help.

                            What crackers would be easily and inexpensively available then and now in St. Augustine? My thoughts are Saltines or Oyster Crackers, both easily procured through restaurant supply companies and always found with shrimp cocktail and chowders. Either of these finely ground would appear slightly yellower than the AP flour, like in the video you can't access. I'm leaning towards Oyster Crackers largely because I don't recall detecting salt in the breading.

                            Sunshine, we need to meet there, rent a little kitchenette motel room, put on our mad scientist hats and COOK! This whole conversation has me craving Minorcan chowder like crazy. To the point that I'm trying to convince myself that 9 hours really isn't that long of a drive...

                            1. re: meatn3
                              sunshine842 Jul 2, 2012 10:26 PM

                              in the video I posted, he says that he buys the cracker meal "here in town" -- but yes, oyster crackers would be a better suspect than saltines, because it's not salty.

                              Next time I'm in FL, I intend to head to St Augustine and stuff myself silly first...then I'll sneak a little batter out and send it to a lab for analysis ;P

                              (you laugh - there's a little hotel across the street with kitchenettes)

                              1. re: sunshine842
                                meatn3 Jul 3, 2012 08:07 AM

                                I've stayed at most of the little motels near there over the years!

                                The feeling has abated, 9 hours now just feels like 9 hours.

                                Next time you're there leave room for a few empanadas too!

                                1. re: meatn3
                                  sunshine842 Jul 3, 2012 10:01 AM

                                  Hey -- 9 hours is cake -- from where I live now, it's 10 hours on the plane just get to Miami or Atlanta -- then I still have to drive to St A!

                                  1. re: sunshine842
                                    meatn3 Jul 3, 2012 11:22 AM

                                    True, plus my journey is a tad cheaper!

                          2. re: meatn3
                            Kennyv0611 May 11, 2013 06:23 AM

                            It is nothing but Golden Dipt Brand which is McCormick (Seafood Breader) no egg wash, I don't even soak my shrimp in milk but some of the restaurants in St. Augustine do, I grew up in St. Augustine and worked in Coley's Shrimp House which used to be across the street from O'Steens we too had a 4.95 cent early bird all the fried shrimp you could eat. They would line up around the building every day at 4:30. Funny thing is I told Sunshine842 the secret and he/she said that wasn't what they were looking for? May not be but try it you will be surprised it is what they use and your family and friends are going to love it. Be sure to get some Datil Do It and make your own pink sauce too.

                            1. re: Kennyv0611
                              sunshine842 May 12, 2013 06:04 PM

                              I have tried Golden Dipt -- it's just a run of the mill industrial breading...which probably contributes to the reason why Coley's has been gone for years, O'Steen's is still very much alive and well, and nobody is looking for Coley's recipe.

                              1. re: Kennyv0611
                                The Chowhound Team May 13, 2013 11:06 AM

                                Hi folks, please pardon the interruption, but we've removed some posts from this subthread that were starting to get a little too personal and heated. You're perfectly welcome to continue this discussion, but please keep the focus on the chow, not the Chowhounds.

                          3. mamachef Jul 1, 2012 02:00 PM

                            I'd bet their batter involves cornstarch or rice flour, hence the very light texture. They may roll it in cornstarch alone, at the last.

                            12 Replies
                            1. re: mamachef
                              sunshine842 Jul 1, 2012 02:14 PM

                              that's been suggested...with the price of good shrimp here, I'm a little afraid to just blindly start sampling....if I were home, I'd just go do some intense research :D

                              Love your picture, by the way!

                              1. re: sunshine842
                                juli5122 Jul 1, 2012 03:21 PM

                                It looked like the stuff you buy in the seafood section at a grocery store . I forget the name I almost want to say Golden Dipt but I am not sure next time I go to Publix I will see if I can find it. And Kengk had it exactly no cornstarch or leavening. Fresh shrimp and fresh oil were the only other requirements.

                                1. re: juli5122
                                  sunshine842 Jul 1, 2012 03:27 PM

                                  then that's not it -- their breading doesn't look **anything** like the Golden Dipt stuff.

                                  Thanks, y'all for trying - but this really is that unusual of a breading -- I've never seen anything like it anywhere -- even in St Augustine. Given the dearth of secret recipes I've seen on the 'net, it MUST be a pretty well-guarded secret.

                                  1. re: sunshine842
                                    kengk Jul 1, 2012 03:38 PM

                                    How long has it been since you have eaten there?
                                    This pic lifted from the web makes them look fairly heavily breaded.
                                    I frequently yearn for things to be as i remember them.

                                    1. re: kengk
                                      sunshine842 Jul 1, 2012 03:50 PM

                                      They are NOT heavily breaded. It's feather light.

                                      I'm not dreaming -- but if you haven't been there, you really don't understand why they're different.

                                      It's not cornmeal. It's not heavily-textured. It's not greasy.

                                      And I'm not senile, dreaming it up, or crazy.

                                      1. re: sunshine842
                                        kengk Jul 1, 2012 04:07 PM

                                        Maybe the video of the guy breading shrimp at O'Steen's was a ruse to thwart competitors?

                                        In my world, dredging in flour, dipping in egg wash and then a dredge in cracker meal before frying is a heavy breading. The picture I posted above bears that out. If the oil is hot and clean there is no reason why they would be greasy or heavy.

                                        I didn't say they used cornmeal just that the cracker meal appeared to be about the consistency of cornmeal. Obviously cracker meal will act differently than cornmeal.

                                        1. re: kengk
                                          sunshine842 Jul 2, 2012 12:32 PM

                                          but it just isn't a heavy breading -- see meatn3's verification of my description below.

                                        2. re: sunshine842
                                          karenfinan Jul 5, 2012 07:14 PM

                                          No you're not crazy! I am from that area, and have eaten at O'Steens 20 times or more. I agree that the batter has texture, but is very light. I bet that it is fresh local shrimp, which makes a big difference. I also think the egg is thinned with water, and I think pre salting is key. Just some guesses, good luck!

                                          1. re: sunshine842
                                            pikawicca Jan 4, 2014 02:23 PM

                                            If the photo posted upthread is the real deal, it looks like they used rice flour -- very light. Wondra is another possibility.

                                        3. re: sunshine842
                                          juli5122 Jul 1, 2012 04:40 PM

                                          Maybe I am thinking of the wrong stuff because the video is in the kitchen at the restaurant so it has to be it. Just have to figure out what kind of cracker crumbs they use. The stuff I was thinking of was a coating that was golden and very fine kind of like wondra flour, remember the gravy flour in a can. Maybe that is not Golden Dipt. Like kengk said maybe the video was fake, just seems like a weird thing to do for a small mom and pop place. Good luck if I find anything else out I will add on. Juli

                                      2. re: sunshine842
                                        MelMM Jul 1, 2012 04:32 PM

                                        I'm not familiar with the restaurant, but there are quite a few pictures at roadood.com :

                                        Judging from the paleness of the batter, I'm going place my bets with mamachef that there is something like cornstarch, potato starch, or rice flour involved. Cornmeal or even wheat flour would be darker.

                                        1. re: sunshine842
                                          mamachef Jul 2, 2012 08:17 AM

                                          Hey, thanks about the pic!! I just had a thought about your expensive shrimp conundrum. If you buy some whitefish, something inexpensive, and chunk it and then play around w/ breadings, you might just nail it without having to resort to experimenting w/ the swimps themselves.

                                      3. j
                                        juli5122 Jul 1, 2012 12:14 PM

                                        Have you seen the video on food network? It says flour, egg wash and crackermeal. Here it is maybe this will help.


                                        8 Replies
                                        1. re: juli5122
                                          sunshine842 Jul 1, 2012 01:25 PM

                                          Rats. I'm outside the US, so I can't view that video. Thanks for trying, though!

                                          1. re: sunshine842
                                            kengk Jul 1, 2012 01:39 PM

                                            To give you a narrative of the video. They salted the shrimp and put a large (maybe twenty pound) batch of them in a big pan of flour and tossed to coat. Take them out of the flour dredge, dip into the egg wash and then immediately coated with the cracker meal. The guy in the video was doing them two at a time at a rate of about 2 seconds per two shrimp. Lined them up on a sheet pan as he was breading them.

                                            They looked tasty, will have to try it the next time we are in St. Augustine.

                                            1. re: kengk
                                              ChristinaMason Jul 1, 2012 01:54 PM

                                              This thread just illustrates how awesome Chowhounds are. Great sleuthing and interpreting!

                                              1. re: kengk
                                                sunshine842 Jul 1, 2012 02:01 PM

                                                thanks for the subtitling! Is it cracker meal that looks like crushed crackers, or is it finer than that?

                                                1. re: sunshine842
                                                  kengk Jul 1, 2012 02:18 PM

                                                  The cracker meal appeared to me to be about the consistency of regular southern cornmeal.

                                                  Also, the egg wash was fairly thin. They did not say what it was thinned with.

                                                  1. re: kengk
                                                    sunshine842 Jul 1, 2012 03:12 PM

                                                    Probably milk, as most eggwash ('drudge' in Southron) is thinned with milk.

                                                    Cornmeal-sized meal is too big for this breading...there are lots of discussions about this place having breading that is the texture of tempura (though it definitely isn't tempura) -- one review even calls it "gossamer".

                                                    I can reverse-engineer just about any food put in front of me...but this one has me stymied, and has for years.

                                                    1. re: sunshine842
                                                      ChristinaMason Jul 1, 2012 03:14 PM

                                                      Have you tried adding any leavener to the batter?

                                            2. re: juli5122
                                              meatn3 Jul 1, 2012 07:45 PM

                                              Sunshine, I took several looks at the video. Most of it is local color with a brief section (50 seconds or so) on the shrimp preparation. There are two large bowls of egg wash in the video with just one which is a bit lighter being used. Watching them dip the shrimp it looks as though the wash is egg + something else. It is not viscous like a straight egg wash would be The "flour" is very fine and white. Then dipped in the egg wash. Then dipped in the "cracker meal" - yellow enough to be corn based, but looks very fine and it is a very brief shake in it.

                                              They don't show it but say that the shrimp is salted, dipped in flour, then the video shows the dip into egg wash, then the cracker meal. Deep fried in fresh oil (type not specified). The wash is yellow enough that I feel sure there is some egg in it.

                                              Tried to take a screenshot for you but my Luddite roots interfered...

                                            3. k
                                              kengk Jul 1, 2012 08:28 AM

                                              Have you tried just tossing the shrimp in flour and shaking off all the excess? That is my preferred "batter" for fried shrimp.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: kengk
                                                sunshine842 Jul 1, 2012 10:30 AM

                                                I always appreciate the suggestions, and I appreciate the effort, but if you've not had the wonderful fried shrimp at O'Steen's, it's pretty close to impossible to guess what it is.

                                                1. re: sunshine842
                                                  kengk Jul 1, 2012 10:34 AM

                                                  So, is the answer to my question yes or no?

                                                  1. re: kengk
                                                    sunshine842 Jul 1, 2012 12:00 PM

                                                    Of course I've fried shrimp in flour - I lived on shrimp for an enormous part of my many years there.

                                                    But other than the fact that there's probably flour in O'Steen's breading, there's not much resemblance.

                                                    It's not beer batter, it's not tempura (although it's that sort of ultra-light, crispy coating)....and it sure isn't dredged in flour alone.

                                              2. s
                                                scheney Jul 1, 2012 07:44 AM

                                                Sunshine, Here is the cookbook I use to duplicate the fried shrimp at O'Steens and Barnicle Bills in St. Augustine, Florida. "Seasonal Florida, A Taste Of Life In North Florida" by Jo Manning. The book covers everything from "Hippocrite Bread" to "Possum And Taters". Looking at Amazon, this is expensive, but Barnes and Noble has it for much less. Here's the link to the cook book.


                                                Best of luck !!


                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: scheney
                                                  sunshine842 Jul 1, 2012 10:31 AM

                                                  Thanks for that -- I'll have to look for it next time I'm home.

                                                2. BeaN Sep 18, 2009 06:11 PM


                                                  I've been there exactly once, just about a year ago when my nephew got married.

                                                  Some of the best fried seafood ever. I remember it being perfectly fried - not overcooked, not undercooked, not greasy. Just succulent shrimp, oysters, scallops and fish fried. Perfectly. Obviously hand breaded lightly in-house (not off a Sysco truck). The breading was so light as to be inseparable from the seafood - you couldn't peal a layer of breading off of anything.

                                                  I think that the key is FRESH seafood, simply treated and deftly handled.

                                                  I would use peanut oil, as that's my preference. I would season with salt and pepper and dredge in seasoned flour and flash fry. I might use chick pea flour. I'm sure that O'Steen's doesn't use it but the flavor is neutral and it makes a nice crust.

                                                  Thanks for the memory of O'Steen's. I wish I could find a place that good here in coastal NC!

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: BeaN
                                                    DonShirer Jul 1, 2012 07:22 PM

                                                    I was in St. Augustine just once as well, and was fortunate enough to have a meal at O'Steens. While everything (including the shrimp) was first rate, the dish I remember most was the Minorcan Clam Chowder with Datil peppers spicing it up. Tried growing Datil's when I returned to CT, but the summer wasn't very hot and I didn't get a good crop.

                                                  2. chef chicklet Sep 18, 2009 03:04 PM

                                                    gosh I'm so nosey. I have to know what is St. Augustine shrimp? How long has O'Steen's been there?

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: chef chicklet
                                                      sunshine842 Sep 18, 2009 04:06 PM

                                                      O'Steen's has been there since WWII, I'm told -- the legend is that when Navy recruits were filing through Jacksonville on their way to Europe, they ate a lot of fried shrimp, as that was the local specialty -- cheap and plentiful. They loved it so much that they carried the tradition of fried shrimp back home, and that's how fried shrimp came to be spread across the US. (that's the story, anyway!) -- But real fried shrimp in St Augustine bears no resemblance at all to the heavy, greasy, rubbery things they throw on your plate at Red Lobster....and I can't find the recipe, or even a reasonable facsimile, anywhere (snif)

                                                    2. sunshine842 Sep 18, 2009 12:00 PM

                                                      *bump* -- anybody?

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: sunshine842
                                                        Normandie Sep 18, 2009 12:08 PM

                                                        sunshine, I've haven't been to O'Steen's, so I may be way off target here, but does this recipe seem to bear any semblance to that which you're seeking?


                                                        Or are you looking for a particular fried shrimp?

                                                        1. re: Normandie
                                                          sunshine842 Sep 18, 2009 04:03 PM

                                                          Thanks for the effort, Normandie, but I'm afraid that's off-base. O'Steen's is a St Augustine landmark and legend -- they've been there since around WWII, I'm told, and they make the best fried shrimp on the planet. It's one of those concrete block buildings with plastic tablecloths, no credit cards, no beer - but people line up for hours. The breading (batter?) is very, very light -- almost like a tempura in texture -- but it has a very light flavor, and isn't greasy. Killer awesome stuff.

                                                          1. re: sunshine842
                                                            Normandie Sep 18, 2009 06:29 PM

                                                            Those are sometimes the *best* kinds of places, aren't they, sunshine? I *love* tempura batter.

                                                            I was afraid I might be wrong, because after I found that recipe, I looked up O'Steen's and saw discussions about fried shimp, just as you said.

                                                            Just a thought, but if you haven't done so yet, why don't try emailing O'Steen's directly. I know some places will share their recipes, and some won't. In your case, I would play on their sympathy, explain that you're expatriated and tell them that while you just can't stop thinking about their shrimp, you don't foresee a trip to Florida in your future to have the real thing. Maybe they'll take sympathy upon you. It's worked for me a couple of times with places I've visited on business trips, etc.

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