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"Correct" grits consistency

  • f

I've just experimented with making grits for the first time (so I was interested in the recent discussion).

However, my only experience with grits so far was the off-putting way they were served in my dormitory: runny and tasteless. I was cooking them the way I do oatmeal, which is until it's thick, no longer liquid, or even viscous. But I was just curious: what is the traditional consistency? When it's served as a side-dish with breakfast, is it eaten with a spoon or a fork?

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  1. I prefer mine firmer than soupy. I guess it is a matter of personal preference. My favorite way to eat grits is well buttered with a fried egg. I fork up the runny yolks with the grits.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Candy

      You can also coddle an egg in hot grits....

      1. re: Karl S.

        And top the grits w/ cheese AND steamed shrimp; heck, why stop there? Add garlic when cooking the grits!

        1. re: MKatrina

          My cuban-spanish--florida-southern husband cooks his grits with garlic and olive oil (or even a little chorizo or jamon serrano). Sometimes cheese added at the end, sometimes not. We like our grits thick.

          Some of his family members do a version that is finished off in the oven with a nice crispy cheesy top. Good stuff!

          1. re: butterfly

            My uncle likes his thick and stirs in maple syrup.

            1. re: marycarol

              Grits are like bean curd--they will accept any flavor. I cook them with milk in the microwave--bring them to a boil and then cook them on the defrost cycle covered in plastic wrap with a few holes punched in the wrap.

    2. m
      Marcia M. D'A.

      The best grits are cooked much longer than the package indicates, and they should be thick. They are usually eaten with a fork. For a treat, stir in some good sharp cheddar when done. Instant cheese grits.

      1. Grits should be thick. Not so thick that you can stand a spoon in them, but reasonably thick.

        Also, if (like most people) you have generally eaten grits of the "Quaker Quick Grits" variety all your life, you owe it to yourself to seek out some old-fashioned stone-ground/coarse-ground slow-cooking grits, and give them a try. Soak them a little, then simmer for 45 minutes in milk and butter. Oh my.

        Fallsmill.com is one source for old-fashioned grits by mail-order, but their minimum order requirement is high (10 pounds, if memory serves.) I just buy my favorite brand when I'm visiting the folks down South.

        - er

        1 Reply
        1. re: enrevanche

          Do seek out the real grits. They may take longer to cook but you just won't want to go back to the instant or quick cooking junk. There is a huge difference and it is worth the extra cooking time.

        2. Thank you for so much feedback. What's particularly interesting to me is that those of you who mentioned additions obviously aren't treating it like breakfast cereal (except for the maple syrup example) which is how it appeared at my dorm - but rather like a starch accompaniment, as if it were toast or rice or pasta.
          I think I'll try cheese first.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Fida

            A little garlic is good with cheese grits. BTW, I have never seen anyone but a Yankee put sugar or syrup on grits. Butter and salt an pepper is fine for breakfast.

          2. Number one, I don't think stone ground grits are that much better than quick...certainly harder to find. Breakfast grits are usually soupy, and often cooked in plain water...yuk. But you are expected to season them. "Dinner" grits are thicker, and often seasoned. A great New Orleans dish is grits and grillades. We make grits with salted water and butter, then at the end of cooking add peccorino romano cheese. What we don't eat goes into a container (usually a can) and kept in the fridge. Then later, sliced into 1/2 rounds and browned in butter.