Recipe courtesy of Sixth Engine

Sixth Engine's Grilled Shrimp With Tasso Ham, Black Eyed Peas, and Sherry Butter Sauce

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  • Level: None
  • Total: 7 days 4 hr 40 min (includes curing time)
  • Active: 1 hr 5 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Tasso Spice:

2 1/8 ounces ground Piment d'Espelette or 1 3/4 ounces cayenne pepper 

1 1/3 ounces dried basil

1/2 ounce ground white pepper  

1/3 ounce anise powder 

1/3 ounce freshly ground black pepper 

1/8 ounce mustard powder 

Basic Dry Cure:

1 pound kosher salt 

15 ounces dextrose 

2 2/3 ounces pink salt or basic dry cure number 1 

1 whole boneless pork loin 

Black-Eyed Peas:

2 cups dried black-eyed peas

1 smoked ham hock


2 ribs celery, diced

1 small white onion, diced

1 poblano or green pepper, diced

2 cloves garlic, diced 

2 cups chicken stock 

2 ounces unsalted butter 

Freshly ground black pepper

2 cups sherry 

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

8 ounces unsalted butter, cold

2 teaspoons hot sauce, such as Tabasco 

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Sixteen U-12 shrimp, peeled, tails on

Olive oil

1 cup blanched spinach 

1 bunch green onions, chopped


  1. For the tasso spice: Mix together the Espelette, basil, white pepper, anise, black pepper and mustard powder. Store in an airtight container in a dry place for up to 6 months.
  2. For the dry cure: Mix together the salt, dextrose and pink salt. Store in an airtight container in a dry place for up to 6 months.
  3. For the tasso ham: Coat the pork loin in the dry cure. Place in a nonreactive container and let cure in the refrigerator for 1 week. Preheat a smoker to 225 degrees F. Remove the pork, rinse off the cure with cold water and pat dry. Coat the pork in tasso spice, and then smoke until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F, 3 hours. Let cool.
  4. For the black-eyed peas: Cover the black-eyed peas with cold water and soak in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Discard the soaking water and place the peas into a pot with the ham hock and large pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Cook until the peas are tender.
  5. Strain and discard the cooking liquid from the peas and set aside. Shred the meat from the ham hock bone and add to a large saucepan with 2 cups of diced tasso ham. Brown the meats evenly, and then add the celery, onions and peppers and cook until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the black-eyed peas and turn off the heat.
  6. Transfer 2 cups of the black-eyed peas and the stock to a blender and puree until smooth. Add back to the saucepan and return over low heat. Stir in the butter, salt and black pepper. If the mixture is slightly dry, add a little water to reach desired consistency. Let the peas warm through.
  7. Preheat a grill to high heat.
  8. Combine the sherry and Worcestershire in a pot and simmer until reduced by two-thirds. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter, hot sauce and some salt and black pepper.
  9. Keep the sauce in a warm place but do not return to high heat.
  10. Toss the shrimp with olive oil, salt and black pepper, and then grill until cooked through. Stir the spinach into the black-eyed peas and warm through. Add more butter, salt and black pepper to taste.
  11. Ladle the black-eyed peas into the center of 4 serving bowls and top with the grilled shrimp. Spoon some sauce over the shrimp and around the peas. Garnish with the green onions.
  12. Reserve any remaining tasso ham for another recipe.

Cook’s Note

After smoking, the tasso ham can be vacuum sealed or placed in a resealable plastic bag in the refrigerator and used for up to 2 weeks.