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View Full Version : Grits - who loves 'em?



Mike9
12-11-2012, 08:01 PM
The "how high grits" thread got me thinking. We love grits - don't eat them that often maybe once a month for a Sunday breakfast, or a baked cheesy grits as a holiday side.

If I'm using fresh grits I cook them in milk & water with salt & pepper. If I'm using "quick cook" grits I just use water, salt and pepper. Either way once they are ready I mix in chopped ham &/or sausage, grated cheese and two eggs. When that comes together I whisk air into the mix and they get nice and fluffy. A perfect breakfast for a damp, chilly day.

berko
12-11-2012, 08:05 PM
i thought this was about grits, as in sharpening stones...

Pensacola Tiger
12-11-2012, 08:12 PM
Grits! How to eat them? So many ways. Some of my favorites:

Plain, with butter, salt and pepper.

Jalapeņo cheese grits, made with pepper jack cheese.

Nassau grits, with bacon, bell pepper, onion and tomatoes.

Grits a ya ya, smoked gouda cheese grits topped with shrimp with bacon, shallots, and mushrooms.

Rick

apicius9
12-11-2012, 08:18 PM
I understand there are quality differences in how they were ground? Any other differences? What does 'fresh' mean for grits? I like them and made them a few times, but I suspect there is a lot of refinement I am not aware of.

Stefan

tgraypots
12-11-2012, 08:40 PM
definitely shrimp and grits.....

mr drinky
12-11-2012, 08:47 PM
I love them, though I don't make the as much as when I was in the south. My favorite grits are Frank Stitt's from Highland's Bar and Grill (http://www.cookstr.com/recipes/highlands-baked-grits) in Birmingham, AL. I couldn't imagine going there and not ordering them.

The two brands I use are McEwen & Sons (http://www.mcewenandsons.com/category.php?id=1) for blue and both the white and yellow from Charleston Grill (http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/editors-pick-charleston-grill-grits).

k.

Dardeau
12-11-2012, 10:17 PM
I was also going to mention Frank Stitt's grits, the defining dish of the Highlands. Everyone I know that has worked for Frank Stitt has nothing but good things to say about the experience. What I use at the restaurant are from John Martin Taylor http://www.hoppinjohns.com and are very very good. We also buy in a few of the Anson Mills grits to special out, but I like John's the best. Gross fact: AM makes quick grits, they are no better than any other quick grits, which is to say no damn good at all.

Mike9
12-11-2012, 10:41 PM
Thanks for that link Mr. Drinky - that's a good looking recipe. When I do dinner grits I make them the right way. I was just thinking and I make "breakfast grits" when I have to go to work on a Sunday. That bowl keeps me going through a show and tastes better than a bowl of oats.

Some of the best straight up grits I've had were in Savannah at a diner that specialized in breakfast. Their bisquits and gravy were just out of this world too.

Oh and don't forget the eggs with the runny yolks - oh yeah.

ajhuff
12-11-2012, 10:43 PM
Not me. Like eating paper mache. I've got access to lot's of good grits, so I am told.

-AJ

jmforge
12-12-2012, 12:14 AM
Grits and Grillades and lest I forget, their Italianate cousin, a veal ragout and loose polenta dish that I had at the Cipriani owned restaurant, Bellini that used to be on the ground floor of the DaVinci Hotel in NYC. Good stuff.

Lucretia
12-12-2012, 12:28 AM
Love 'em. Plain white grits, simmered in salted water, lots of butter, S&P, with sausage and eggs scrambled in the sausage pan to get all the brown bits into the eggs. The eggs go in the buttery grits.

Also like to saute some garlic in olive oil, add some good summer tomatoes and bring to a boil. Add saffron, thyme, and grits. When done, serve topped with grated cheese. If there are leftovers, pack them into a pan and put them in the refrigerator overnite. Cook some bacon for breakfast the next morning, slice up the cold grits into slabs, and fry them in the bacon grease.

knyfeknerd
12-12-2012, 12:33 AM
If you don't like grits, you haven't had them prepared properly. Enough cream,salt, butter and (but not necessarily) cheese can turn even crappy grits to delicious.
A lot of people are partial to Anson Mills down here, but I've been using Carolina Plantation for a while now. They also sell cowpeas and a Carolina Gold rice which is unbelievable. A true heirloom rice that is readily available....ummmm.....

PierreRodrigue
12-12-2012, 12:35 AM
All right, what the heck are grits? A side, a main? is there a "typical" way to cook them? Yeah I know google, but? Help out a dude north of the 49th...

sachem allison
12-12-2012, 12:42 AM
cornmeal or in italian polenta usually cooked similar to mush or cream of wheat. often time made savory by the addition of herbs or cheese. can be served as a side or made hardier and served as a main dish.

knyfeknerd
12-12-2012, 12:43 AM
All right, what the heck are grits? A side, a main? is there a "typical" way to cook them? Yeah I know google, but? Help out a dude north of the 49th...
Grits are stone-ground corn meal. They are a side dish usually associated with breakfast in the Southern U.S.
You could refer to it as American polenta.

Lucretia
12-12-2012, 01:25 AM
I've always had hominy grits. (I know you use hominy in your posole, Son!) For grits, the hominy is dried and coarsely ground. I've always had them added to boiling water with some salt & then simmered until water is absorbed/grits are tender. I'll also add them to something that needs thickening/ texture. They're a savory side dish. Probably anything that would be good seasoning for corn, polenta, or potatoes would work with grits. (We know someone who went to a restaurant in the South and had grits, then came back to the Seattle area complaining how nasty they were. Turns out he'd put sugar on them. It would be like putting sugar on a side dish of mashed potatoes.)

A couple classic combinations use grits as a side dish for breakfast--with eggs, sausage, fried green tomatoes...or with fried fish.

Treating the corn to make hominy is supposed to make some of the nutrients more digestible, too.

quantumcloud509
12-12-2012, 04:10 AM
Mmm breakfast.

Salty dog
12-12-2012, 06:30 AM
The only place you'll find grits around here is on the wrong side of town.

RRLOVER
12-12-2012, 06:49 AM
cornmeal or in italian polenta usually cooked similar to mush or cream of wheat. often time made savory by the addition of herbs or cheese. can be served as a side or made hardier and served as a main dish.

Guido Grits:hungry::hungry: I love them

Mike9
12-12-2012, 09:08 AM
The only place you'll find grits around here is on the wrong side of town.



:spitcoffee:

Reede
12-12-2012, 04:30 PM
Anson Mills are my favorite,followed by Nora Mills in Georgia. The staple breakfast growing up, was sausage and gravy over grits, or liver mush (or liver pudding) and grits. (Liver mush and liver pudding are pretty well confined to a small region of NC and SC. The difference between them is liver mush uses corn meal as a thickener, and liver pudding uses rice).
Any grits from the grocery store is not worth eating, and cooking is kind of like the basics of doing bbq--low and slow. Soak overnight, and simmer slowly for at least an hour.

Reed

Lucretia
12-12-2012, 04:38 PM
Too...many....bears! Or is that too many beers? Looked at the avatars last night, saw a couple bears in a row, and thought "Why is Son answering his own question?"

Keith Neal
12-12-2012, 04:53 PM
http://www.bradleyscountrystore.com/index.php?route=product/category&path=59

This is the real thing. Rarely served in "country cafes", though good restaurants may serve them. Creamy and delicious.

It takes 1 to 1.5 hours cooking and stirring to prepare, which is why you don't find them very often. The 5 minute quick grits are just too easy, though nothing like the real thing.

bear1889
12-12-2012, 06:30 PM
Guys I tell you I have cooked white grits, I have cooked plain ol' yellow grits, I have messed with blue grits but the best I have found is here in Dear Ol' Kentucky. I found a family that mills yellow popcorn grits and let me tell y'all here they are the best I have ever had. A little browned onion with shrimp and some cheddar cheese mixed in, Oh my gosh Nellie on a hand car headin' down the holler!!!! They are good.

PS some day I will tell you about corn flour that they do.

Lucretia
12-12-2012, 06:46 PM
A breakfast treat when we were kids was scrambled eggs, grits, and sausage from a smokehouse in Hahira, Ga. A real sprawling metropolis even now. I haven't been able to find anything like that sausage in years. It was a smoked sausage, softer than a pepperoni, but much firmer than fresh sausage. It was a coarse grind, and must have had some sugar in the mix because it would get kind of sticky on the outside when you fried it up. Excellent with grits--you'd have those creamy, buttery grits with smoky hunks of sausage with a crunchy, sticky casing. It was also wonderful on a piece of bread with strawberry jam smeared on it. Wish I could find something like it again. Puts me right back in the kitchen with my grandmother.

ajhuff
12-12-2012, 06:50 PM
See, Nora Mills and Logans Turnpike Mill and Smelters Grist Mill are all local to me. Still don't like grits.

-AJ

Mike9
12-12-2012, 06:59 PM
OK I need to know more about these "yellow popcorn grits"

bear1889
12-12-2012, 06:59 PM
A breakfast treat when we were kids was scrambled eggs, grits, and sausage from a smokehouse in Hahira, Ga. A real sprawling metropolis even now. I haven't been able to find anything like that sausage in years. It was a smoked sausage, softer than a pepperoni, but much firmer than fresh sausage. It was a coarse grind, and must have had some sugar in the mix because it would get kind of sticky on the outside when you fried it up. Excellent with grits--you'd have those creamy, buttery grits with smoky hunks of sausage with a crunchy, sticky casing. It was also wonderful on a piece of bread with strawberry jam smeared on it. Wish I could find something like it again. Puts me right back in the kitchen with my grandmother.

Yummmm!

bear1889
12-12-2012, 07:09 PM
OK I need to know more about these "yellow popcorn grits"

Ok let me put this in Geologist terms, I is one, white grits tends to be fine grain, yellow grits like a medium grains, but the popcorn grits are like coarse grains.

Mike9
12-12-2012, 08:00 PM
So are we talking grinding popcorn kernel grade corn then because some are real tasty. This sounds very intriguing since we all are looking for the best possible taste and texture in the foods we cook.

PierreRodrigue
12-12-2012, 08:04 PM
Are grits and corn meal interchangeable? Would like to try them, but alas, I cant find any. Loads of maple syrup, but grits? Nope.

jmforge
12-12-2012, 08:31 PM
Grits are not native to Kentucky, so you are kinda lucky that all them foreigners have moved there. LOL
Guys I tell you I have cooked white grits, I have cooked plain ol' yellow grits, I have messed with blue grits but the best I have found is here in Dear Ol' Kentucky. I found a family that mills yellow popcorn grits and let me tell y'all here they are the best I have ever had. A little browned onion with shrimp and some cheddar cheese mixed in, Oh my gosh Nellie on a hand car headin' down the holler!!!! They are good.

PS some day I will tell you about corn flour that they do.

jmforge
12-12-2012, 08:35 PM
Nope. Technically, grits are supposed to be made from dried hominy.
Are grits and corn meal interchangeable? Would like to try them, but alas, I cant find any. Loads of maple syrup, but grits? Nope.

bear1889
12-12-2012, 08:43 PM
This ol' boy told he preferred them over store bought because you can taste them, I thought sure you can, I bought a coupe three bags and then went back for about 8 lbs of them along with the corn flour.

PierreRodrigue
12-12-2012, 08:44 PM
Hominy? Is that a corn type?
edit:
I see, a processed corn. No hull, or germ.

Pensacola Tiger
12-12-2012, 08:50 PM
Hominy? Is that a corn type?

Hominy is corn that has been treated in an alkali solution, causing the kernel to swell. The seed coat and germ is removed, and after it dries, the hominy is ground into hominy grits.

Corn grits, on the other hand, are just ground dried corn, including the seed coat and germ. This provides more intrinsic flavor than hominy grits, but it requires refrigeration to keep it from going rancid.

Lefty
12-12-2012, 09:34 PM
Man, now I want to try them. Where can we get them in Canada? Pierre, let's find some and split the bushel...or barrel, or box(?) :D

Mike9
12-12-2012, 09:34 PM
Hominy is a whole 'nuther thread topic. I love hominy and Posole is a wonderful concoction. It can be like Mexican Cassoulet and can taste just as good in a different context.

jmforge
12-12-2012, 09:37 PM
The other purpose of making hominy is that it kills the seed, so to speak. It can be left whole and it won't germinate. Also, any treating with alkali converts the niacin in the corn to a usable form and eliminates mycotoxins.

RRLOVER
12-12-2012, 09:47 PM
Hominy is a whole 'nuther thread topic. I love hominy and Posole is a wonderful concoction. It can be like Mexican Cassoulet and can taste just as good in a different context.

Feel free to start a Posole thread....That's good eats right there:thumbsup::thumbsup:

ajhuff
12-12-2012, 09:48 PM
Man, now I want to try them. Where can we get them in Canada? Pierre, let's find some and split the bushel...or barrel, or box(?) :D

If you can find out if it is legal to ship them to Canada, then PM me your address and I will take care of it. I already have Pierre's.

AJ

Lefty
12-12-2012, 10:07 PM
Hmmmm. I'll look into it, AJ. Thanks for the offer :D

DeepCSweede
12-12-2012, 10:23 PM
As a yankee that lived in Louisiana for a while as a kid I tried to like them but never really cared for them (more of a texture thing than taste). But later I discovered cheese grits and bbq shrimp and I learned to love em.

knyfeknerd
12-12-2012, 10:48 PM
If you Canadians can send your "bacon" down here, I'm sure it's legal to ship you guys some grits. I'll send ya'll a couple different brands after the holidays!

mr drinky
12-12-2012, 11:15 PM
From what I understand, some corn grits are whole corn ground (with germ) and are usually stone ground. Other grits have been de-germed and hulled (not using nixtamalization as is used in making hominy corn). Hominy grits have been de-germed and hulled using alkali treatment (nixtamalization) and then ground.

Polenta can be fine to coarse grind, while grits are usually coarse ground.

And from Anson Mills' website, they say that US grits are usually ground from dent corn, while polenta is made from flint corn -- the main difference being that flint corn holds its texture longer when cooking.

Btw, most grits you find today in stores and online are not grits made from hominy corn. There might be a debate about 'true' grits but grits, polenta, and cornmeal all fall into a category of ground corn -- with grind being the major difference. The process of making hominy corn does change the taste though, so it has that added difference.

k.

Lefty
12-12-2012, 11:19 PM
So, can polenta substitute for grits, in a recipe? Polenta-a-plenty, around my parts!

mr drinky
12-12-2012, 11:22 PM
So, can polenta substitute for grits, in a recipe? Polenta-a-plenty, around my parts!

I think the main thing is matching coarseness of grind and avoid 'quick cooking'. Quick-cooking grits and polenta have been par cooked and you lose most of that corn flavor.

k.

Lefty
12-12-2012, 11:31 PM
Thanks, K! I'll follow a recipe with those substitutions and see how it turns out.

mr drinky
12-13-2012, 07:49 AM
Btw, here is the transcript from Alton Brown's Serious Eats (http://www.goodeatsfanpage.com/Season8/grits/true_grit_trans.htm) where he talks about polenta and grits. If you go all the way to the bottom, AB talks about how they accidentally edited out the portion of the show that talked about the difference between hominy grits and whole ground cornmeal which is predominantly sold today. In later shows they added that distinction back in. He also gives some recipes to make southern-style grit and an Italian polenta.

k.

stereo.pete
12-13-2012, 10:15 AM
One of my rituals when I visit New Orleans is to visit Pat O'Brians as soon as I get to the French quarter and order a hurricane and their shrimp and grits!

Lefty
12-13-2012, 11:36 AM
After reading Alton Brown's piece on grits, I decided to try making some of my own, when I got home from work. I guess it's a way for me to unwind after a long day...anyways... I went at them with a bunch of milk, water, black pepper and salt. I added shredded cheese and some fried chorizo and mushrooms. I then topped them with eggs. I'm thinking grits are normally a bit runnier, but whatever it is that I made - grits, or polenta - it's freakin' delicious!

How'd I do?

http://i1209.photobucket.com/albums/cc399/Lefty-T/9D58E498-3F58-4EE9-8957-D3D6AD29DC69-880-00000075C67BF992.jpg

Dardeau
12-13-2012, 11:51 AM
A difference between grits and polenta, aside from what the stuff is actually made out of is how it is treated when cooking it, at least when I do it. With polenta I want it to remain somewhat sweet so I never get the water or milk very hot, but with grits I don't mind walking the edge of scalding the milk because sweet grits, like sweet cornbread, are a Yankee abomination.

Lefty, I don't know if you cooked the grits well, but the picture looks like my ideal hangover breakfast.

On the subject of Pat O's go in, get your 'cane, get your picture taken, but please dear god don't eat the food. Even in the quarter, and if you are willing to wander the rest of our lovely city, there are too many good places to eat. For shrimp and grits I like Gautreau's and Dick and Jenny's, though I don't know if it is on the menu at either place right now.

I have my own French Quarter ritual though. I like to go to the Carousel Bar at the Hotel Montleone, at least four, maybe five generations of my family have enjoyed cocktails at that bar. My great grandparents always stayed there when they came in from Ville Platte. The bar got a remodel recently and started selling "foodie" apps, I am very apprehensive about checking it out.

mr drinky
12-13-2012, 11:52 AM
That looks super tasty: a plate full of umami....mmmmmhhhhhh,

k.

chinacats
12-13-2012, 12:03 PM
Good job Tom, they could be a little more 'loose,' but that looks delicious!

jmforge
12-13-2012, 07:40 PM
After a couple of hurricanes, they could serve you Alpo on boil in bag rice and you probably wouldn't know the difference, but I digress.:lol2:
A difference between grits and polenta, aside from what the stuff is actually made out of is how it is treated when cooking it, at least when I do it. With polenta I want it to remain somewhat sweet so I never get the water or milk very hot, but with grits I don't mind walking the edge of scalding the milk because sweet grits, like sweet cornbread, are a Yankee abomination.

Lefty, I don't know if you cooked the grits well, but the picture looks like my ideal hangover breakfast.

On the subject of Pat O's go in, get your 'cane, get your picture taken, but please dear god don't eat the food. Even in the quarter, and if you are willing to wander the rest of our lovely city, there are too many good places to eat. For shrimp and grits I like Gautreau's and Dick and Jenny's, though I don't know if it is on the menu at either place right now.

I have my own French Quarter ritual though. I like to go to the Carousel Bar at the Hotel Montleone, at least four, maybe five generations of my family have enjoyed cocktails at that bar. My great grandparents always stayed there when they came in from Ville Platte. The bar got a remodel recently and started selling "foodie" apps, I am very apprehensive about checking it out.

Lucretia
12-13-2012, 11:36 PM
......it's freakin' delicious!

How'd I do?

If it's freakin' delicious (and it sure looks like it!), then you did good!

Crothcipt
12-13-2012, 11:50 PM
I honestly don't think I have ever had good grits. It's like corn bread. Dry and oh ya did I mention dry? But then again I don't want to see if I am wrong either.

Lefty
12-14-2012, 09:05 AM
Mine weren't dry, and I think they were drier than most! Haha.

I bet you'll like them. Just sayin'....

boomchakabowwow
02-27-2013, 03:08 PM
how did this thread escape me? i love polenta. i just made some to go with my Lamb shank osso bucco. i always make extra so i can chill it hard to pan fry the next day. i love the "cakes" with soft boiled eggs.

damn

boomchakabowwow
02-27-2013, 03:09 PM
I honestly don't think I have ever had good grits. It's like corn bread. Dry and oh ya did I mention dry? But then again I don't want to see if I am wrong either.

put a pinch of baking soda in the water. it helps breaks down the outsides of the grains.

google, Americas test kitchen, no stir polenta.

mr drinky
02-27-2013, 04:54 PM
Tomorrow I am making a sear-roasted pork tenderloin with fennel two ways (Molly Stevens recipe). She recommended a creamy polenta, so this thread has gotten a timely bump.

k.

Lucretia
02-27-2013, 05:17 PM
how did this thread escape me? i love polenta. i just made some to go with my Lamb shank osso bucco. i always make extra so i can chill it hard to pan fry the next day. i love the "cakes" with soft boiled eggs.

damn

You probably would like grits, then. Had some the other day with hunter-style pork--chunks of pork, fried and then finished in in a brown sauce with mushrooms and onions. Over cheesy grits. yum.

longhorn
03-01-2013, 03:11 AM
Grits are fantastic, earlier this fall we had some goat cheese grits served with pan-fried dredged quail breasts. I love pairing grits with crunchy/crispy stuff. Their texture is so unique compared to your run of the mill puree, coulis, or mash.