BJ Dennis’ Gullah Fried Okra with Shrimp and Smoked Sausage


Okra is an integral ingredient in Gullah cooking, and South Carolina chef Benjamin “BJ” Dennis likes to serve this quick and flavorful supper with rice, another Carolina Lowcountry staple. Read more about how BJ works to preserve Gullah culture through food here

Gullah Fried Okra with Shrimp and Smoked Sausage
Makes 4 servings
  • 1 tablespoon bacon drippings
  • 3 cups (½-inch-thick) sliced okra
  • 1 cup (½-inch-thick) sliced smoked sausage
  • ½ cup diced yellow onion (about ½ medium onion)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 2 large cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh chile pepper
  • ½ pound peeled and deveined large fresh shrimp
  • Minced fresh parsley, minced fresh thyme, kosher salt, and ground black pepper, to taste
  • Hot cooked rice, to serve
  1. In a 10-inch cast-iron skillet, heat bacon drippings over medium heat. Add okra, spreading in a single layer in skillet; cook until okra begins to brown on bottom, about 2 minutes. Turn okra; cook until lightly browned, about 2 minutes more.
  2. Add sausage, onion, garlic, ginger, and chile pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sausage is lightly browned and onion is tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add shrimp and parsley, thyme, salt, and black pepper to taste; cook, stirring occasionally, until shrimp are pink and firm, about 3 minutes. Serve immediately with rice.
Use any fresh chile pepper you like to customize the dish to your heat level.