[Howard Beale]I have seen the face of God[/Howard Beale]
I’m a California girl, born and raised. Although my dad was from Texas, I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve never tasted grits. That is, up until yesterday, when we breakfasted at a restaurant appropriately named “Southern Kitchen”.
Yum, yum! I’m still remembering the slightly sweet corn flavor and the lumpy, puddingy texture and I’m craving more. I want to get started on grits-making at home, and need input from our southern Dopers on the basics.
Will Quaker grits be sufficient or should I order something more esoteric? The dish I tasted seemed milky - was this just the quality of the cereal or maybe it was cooked in milk? What’s the best basic grits recipe?
In addition to basics, if you have any recipes for different, fancier grits dishes, I’d like those, too. Thanks for any help.
Quaker grits are just fine and can be cooked in either water or milk. I generally prefer the creamier texture of the latter but I’m evidently a blasphemer amongst my fellow Southerners as I also prefer it wilk butter and sugar instead of salt so, uh … take my advice with a grain of salt …
I agree that the former posters and I will soon be raked over the coals, but I like the Quaker instant grits just fine. I usually use water, half & half and butter when I prepare a pot. I don’t sully my grits with sugar like some Philistines but I’ve been known to top them with scrambled eggs or sausage and gravy.
As a southerner by birth and a southerner on both sides of my family (who went and married a Yankee girl, I admit) I can tell you that those microwavable grits that everyone has been warning you about aren’t quite as good as instant grits, but they’re still
I used to not like them because they had a strange texture but a few years ago the folks who make grits fixed that, and now they’re … pretty damn good. You can use milk or water to prepare them … sounds like the ones you liked were made with milk. Butter, salt and pepper are proper seasonings. Sugar is Right Out.
Another quickneasy bit of grits blasphemy while I’m at it. You need to start saving your grease when you cook bacon. Just pour the excess grease into a plastic tub and leave it in the fridge, it will laugh indefinitely. (Mrs. Evil Captor, being a Yankee, does not believe this, and keep referring to my tub of bacon grease as, “Evil Captor’s retirement grease.”) You can substitute a few slivers of bacon grease for the butter, but be sparing until you get a feel for how much you like – grease can make food greasy. Now here comes the blasphemy – if you sprinkle some bacon bits of the sort they sell for salads on your microwavable grits in conjunction with the bacon grease, you’ll have a very tasty treat that’s about 90 percent of the way to being like instant (but not microwaved) grits made with real bacon. Considering it takes about 1/30th the time and 1/100th the trouble to prepare, it’s … pretty damn good!
If you’re looking to try a variety of grits, place an order with Logan Turnpike Mill:
Logan Turnpike Mill
3485 Gainesville Hwy
Blairsville, Georgia 30512
(They don’t have a website currently.)
One of my favorite restaurants serves grits from Logan Turnpike Mill and they get rave reviews from the locals and yankees alike on them. They’re not too expensive either (the restaurant sells them by the bag - uncooked - for $5.00). If you like regular grits, you’ll probably love these. Enjoy!
Don’t be afraid to mess with grits. Add in whatever you want. Cheese and bacon, butter and brown sugar, salt, hot sauce, chilis, whatever. Grits is good! Personally, I like them with cheese, bacon and a generous dash of Crystal Sauce, plus the requisite salt and pepper.
Ah, grits. Ae and the family used to go through 60-something pounds a year.
Almost as delectable as shrimp and grits but loads better eating is fried fish and grits – preferably mullet, croakers or maybe even a nice perch or sea bass. Lotsa pepper and thick dollop of butter in each steamy bowlful.
I haven’t had grits in about two years – mostly because I can’t find the regular kind of up here, just instant.
I am always glad to hear something other than “Yuck!” come out of a non-Southerners mouth regarding grits. I always say people don’t like them becasue they haven’t had them cooked properly. The Old Post Office Restaurant on Edisto Island, SC makes Shrimp and Grits so good you will go home and write all your checks!
The trick is really not to let them dry out while cooking. You can add anything you have on hand, really. Water, milk, cream, half-and-half or stock all work well. I like milk or cream because they seem to soften the grits. Another trick is to add a little salted butter at the beginning of cooking, because it keeps them from sticking to the pot.
I am a grits snob, I must admit. I will eat Quaker grits, but I prefer the whole grain stone-ground or water-ground ones from mills in North Georgia.
Here’s how I make mine:
2 tablespoons of salted butter
2 cups of water
1/2 cup of whole grain stone-ground grits
1 to 2 cups of milk, cream, or stock (shrimp stock AND cream is heavenly, 1 cup of each)
Drop the butter into the water in a heavy saucepan and strike a boil. Stir in the grits, return to boil, and reduce the heat, allowing the grits to cook at low boil for 10-15 minutes or so, until they are very thick and most of the water is absorbed. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
Add about 1/2 cup of the milk and/or stock to the pot and low simmer another 10 minutes or so. As this liquid evaporates or is absorbed, add more, until a thick creamy consistency is reached. Total cooking time can be around 45 minutes or even an hour, but hey, greatness takes time.
The grits should be piping hot when served, slightly soupy, but full-bodied enough that they shouldn’t run all over the plate.