Justin Timberlake's BBQ guru

Shrimp on the barbie with JT's chef

I've never been interested in cooking traditional BBQ, mainly because I do not like what I cannot control. Our BBQ grill is outside of my domain, with a fat "trespassing renders marriage contract null and void" sticker on the front. Roasting a brisket for over six hours in a padlocked container with only a 3-inch, crusty, scratched plastic window to view the progress is just way too much stress for my Type-A personality to handle. I'd rather not subject myself to that kind of torture.

So when I was asked to cook alongside Ray Lampe — the famous "Dr. BBQ" — for a local charity event to benefit the Crescent City Farmers Market in New Orleans, it was no big deal. So what if he's a BBQ Grand Champion with a couple hundred awards under his belt — can he pleat perfect dumplings one-handed, fold laundry with the other and fend off two whining kids? Think not.

We met last week to shoot a few pics to market the event and, at first glance, the razor-sharp spiky blond hair, trophy belly, baggy black shorts, flavor-savor beard and killer watch tattoo where time stops at 5:01 p.m. was everything I had expected from a man who carried the name Dr. BBQ with swaggering authority.

While grilling skewered shrimp for the recipe below, Dr. BBQ casually mentioned that he's the new executive chef of Southern Hospitality Restaurant in New York, owned by Justin Timberlake. Holy hickory! I'm only ONE DEGREE OF SEPARATION from "Dick-in-a-Box!"

How can I not embrace this larger-than-life chef who's on a first name basis with a celebrity that I'd throw my lusty, naked body at? Apparently, the mere thought of SexyBack caused immediate brain damage, and I ended up saying stupid things like, "Do you ever get mistaken for Guy Fieri's dad?" Ouch. I think I just insulted my one degree. Can I CTRL-Z that comment?

About the charity event:

This event is part of the IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals) New Orleans Giveback Project to help restore the hurricane-damaged Crescent City Farmers Market. Join me and seven other chefs as we cook an eight-course meal in an intimate cooking demonstration and food-gasm event at Rolling Pin's studio kitchen. Only 35 seats are available. One of the chefs participating is none other than Giuliano Hazan, IACP's 2007 Cooking School Teacher of the Year and son of Marcella Hazan, the grande doyenne of Italian cooking. Enjoy a feast and help a good cause. Dr. BBQ will be cooking his famous Dr. BBQ's Barbecued Barbecue Shrimp, recipe below. The Rolling Pin in Brandon, Tues., March 11, 6:30 p.m., $150-$175 per person. For tickets, call 813-653-2418 or register online at rollingpinonline.com.

Dr. BBQ's Barbecued Barbecue Shrimp

From Barbecue All Year Long

Serves 8

1/2 lb unsalted butter

2 bay leaves

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp dried basil

1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp paprika

1 tbsp Louisiana Hot Sauce

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

1 lemon, juiced

1/2 cup beer

Bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 1 hr

2 lbs jumbo shrimp, peeled and de-veined

2 tsp Dr. BBQ's Creole Seasoning

Prepare grill for direct, medium-high heat. In a large skillet on stove, melt the butter on medium heat. Add all other ingredients, except for shrimp and Creole seasoning. Bring to a simmer and cook 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Skewer shrimp with two skewers so they can be flipped easily. Season with Creole seasoning. Grill 1-2 minutes per side, depending on size of shrimp. Remove from skewers, and add shrimp to the pan with spiced butter mixture and toss. Return to stove over med-high heat, and bring to simmer until shrimp are cooked through. Taste and season with salt if necessary. Serve with lots of crusty bread for sopping up the sauce.

Jaden Hair blogs at steamykitchen.com.

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