Matagorda Bay Shrimp

  • Texas wild caught shrimp, pulled out of the bay yesterday and in my freezer today. Every now and then I get my nerve up and go down to the docks where I spent most of my life scratching a living out to visit with my old friends that are still in the business. There's only a hand full of us left the rest either died or have moved on like me but I still have an attraction to salt water even though I know better. Two of the guys are my age and have been doing this since they were teenagers, never punched a clock a day in their life. They still have a gulf boat each and are partners in one together and at one time were part of a large corporation mostly family that owned several gulf boats and a large wholesale facility complete with an ice plant and a fuel dock. I guess at the peak they had around fifty or sixty bay and gulf boats that unloaded there as well as oyster boats. They also owned a freezer plant and shrimp heading house they leased but that is long gone. The gulf boats do their freezing and heading while at sea and the fleet of bay boats that unloaded just about every day is all but extinct. Like me, dinosaurs. The corporation broke up after three members died so they sold all their assets except for one piece of property that will probably never sell and my two friends stayed on with the new owner one as a general manager and the other helps out but no pay as such. These two guys with all the access to shrimp and dealing with boats every day still like to go out in their outboards and catch a few table shrimp for the house and I mooch off of them. I sold my outboard rig a couple of years ago or I would be right there with them. It's good to have friends like this, I give them garden stuff and I get shrimp plus I do all the cabinet work on their boats. The pictures is half of what Mark gave me and he had almost that much more he wanted me to take. Afraid to fill my freezer up this time of year. These tails are about fifty to a pound and perfect for boiling or stir fry.

  • @bigfoot Andouille and the holy trinity come to mind.

  • @lathoto
    I make a pretty good shrimp creole. Some might call it a jambalaya. Gumbo is a little harder for me top pull off. Not too good at making rioux and the store bought ain't the same. First time I had real oyster gumbo was on a boat I was a deck hand on in Galveston. We ate it several times a week and had an unending supply of oysters. We were catching about sixty bushels a day. It was cold and rough weather and Galveston bay ain't for sissies.

  • Momma bought gulf shrimp in Bucktown Looosianna; $4.00 for a full galvanized tub. Was a few years ago. Those pictures reminded me of my youth and the days work after we would get the tub. All those shrimp would be packed in cleaned out 1/2 gal. milk cartons and frozen. Momma would boil a few pounds, some with Zatarians crab boil and some plain. Each of us got 2 bowls, 1 for the shrimp to be eaten and 1 for the shells. Can taste 'em.....

  • @mamalukino
    That area you're talking about they catch shrimp with push rigs or top water skimmers. They anchor up in the bayous where a lake or marsh dumps in and when the tide starts falling they line up in the cut and try to keep the bow of the boat pointed into the current with their "butterfly nets" just skimming the top of the water catching the shrimp as they come out in the current. Takes a bit of horsepower to hold all that stuff in the current. I have seen some big butterfly boats. Usually nothing but clean shrimp in the sack, pick it up and dump it and go again until the tide changes. They do some bottom trawling also but lots of top water shrimp boats there. Old timers told me here back in the forties and fifties people would bring the big metal milk cans down to the packing house and depending on who was on the dock they would fill your milk can for free with shrimp. The packing company had its own store and even script they payed with, might have been earlier than the forties. Lowest price I ever got for shrimp was eighteen cents a pound, would have been twenty but the fish house took two cents a pound for lobbying money. ( That was a frickin joke ). Shrimp were small around 80-100 per pound with heads on but that was the last and only time I took a beating like that. Topped my tanks off with diesel and found another buyer. They had a regular tea party at that place I was at a couple of times. The captains threw the shrimp in the slip and tied their boats up and walked off. That guy got what he deserved in the end.

  • @bigfoot said in Matagorda Bay Shrimp:

    In learning to make roux one must test the first batch to failure. Equal parts (by weight) of butter and flour. Low heat and a wooden spoon. Constantly stirring as the color changes. There is a spectrum of flavor you may taste along the way. White, blonde, brown, and finally dark brown. Take your time. I used to grow my own cayenne.