Porch Party Shrimp with Mississippi Comeback Sauce

An addictive, slightly spicy dip is the perfect accompaniment to a versatile, shareable dish

Photo: Dale Gray

“Here in Mississippi, shrimp is often served with a side of comeback sauce, a mildly spicy, piquant sauce otherwise known as the house dressing of the state because it’s such an everyday staple,” writes Dale Gray in her new cookbook, South of Somewhere: Recipes and Stories from My Life in South Africa, South Korea & the American South. “As the story goes, it was first created by a Greek restaurant owner up the road in Jackson and got its quirky name because people kept coming back for more. Similar to a New Orleans remoulade, my favorite version of Mississippi comeback sauce makes an excellent dip for fresh seafood. This easy sharing platter is loaded with oven-roasted jumbo Gulf shrimp for maximum sauce shoveling and, sometimes, raw vegetables, which my other half eats begrudgingly.”

The shrimp can be served warm or chilled depending on the season, and any leftovers make for an excellent late-night snack.

photo: Dale Gray
Cookbook author Dale Gray.
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  • Porch Party Shrimp with Mississippi Comeback Sauce (YIELD: 4 servings)


    • ½ cup mayonnaise (Duke’s, preferably)

    • 2 tbsp. buttermilk

    • 1 tbsp. ketchup or chili sauce (such as Heinz)

    • 2 tsp. Creole or stone-ground mustard

    • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

    • 1 tsp. Tabasco sauce or any vinegar-based hot sauce, plus more to taste

    • ½ tsp. smoked paprika

    • ½ tsp. garlic powder


    • 1 lb. jumbo shrimp (21/25 shrimp), peeled and deveined, tails left intact

    • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

    • Grated zest and juice of 1 small lemon

    • 1 tsp. garlic powder

    • ½ tsp. kosher salt

    • ⅛ tsp. cayenne pepper


  1. Make the comeback sauce: In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, buttermilk, ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, smoked paprika, and garlic powder until well combined. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

  2. Make the shrimp: Preheat the oven to 425°F with a rack in the center position. In a large bowl, toss the shrimp with the olive oil, lemon zest and juice, garlic powder, salt, and cayenne until the shrimp are evenly coated. On a large rimmed sheet pan, arrange the shrimp in a single layer. Roast in the oven until just cooked through and evenly pink, about 6 minutes.

  3. To serve: Arrange the shrimp on a platter, and serve with the comeback sauce, for dipping.

Excerpted from South of Somewhere. Copyright © 2023, Dale Gray. Photography Copyright © 2023 by Dale Gray. Reproduced by permission of Simon Element, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. All rights reserved.