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Tell me about grits...

I love the "idea" of grits - but I don't think I've ever eaten them, and I definitely have never cooked them. But I bought a package of grits at the store tonight, and I need some ideas. Are they breakfast? Dinner? Either? Sweet? Savory? Cheesy? I don't know where to start.

Help me with your favorite way to eat grits!

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  1. If you've ever had polenta, you've basically had grits (let's not get into semantics). Grits are ground cornmeal, sometimes but not always hominy. They are great with eggs for breakfast (or lunch), but are so versatile you can make them with any dish. Here are two versions I love:

    Cheese Grits and Eggs - make the grits, adding salt, pepper, cheddar, and hot sauce to taste. Pour into a bowl and top with over easy fried eggs. Eat with a spoon The runny yolks are delicious with the grits.

    Greek Grits Etc. - Make grits the night before, adding a good amount of feta, black pepper, crushed red pepper, garlic, and whatever else you want. Spray small round containers with cooking spray and pour grits into these individual servings. Refrigerate overnight. Saute the grit 'patties' in olive oil and arrange on a plate with grilled sliced marinated (balsamic and garlic, perhaps) chicken or lamb, kalamata olives, spinach, tomatoes, etc.

    1. first lets start with what you bought, instant, quick cooking or long cooking.It is going to make a big differenc. If you bought instant just throw the out now, no bother. They will have all of the apeal and flavor of library paste. I don;t know why Quaker keps playing this mean trick on consumers bt the stuf is not worth eatng. You want at the least the quick cooking variety ot better yet Anson Mills or Callaway Gardens, ther real stuf,

      1. Huge fan, and I've never ever heard grits explained better than by Alton Brown on his "Good Eats" Food Network TV Show. The title of the episode was "True Grits", and a complete transcript of that episode along with recipes and an explanation of the difference between grits, hominy and polenta (read notes at end especially) are to be found at:

        1. They can be breakfast or dinner, but I think I have never had them for lunch.

          Grits are not worth eating if you don't add enough salt while they are cooking IMHO. Candy is oh so right - instant grits are awful.

          At breakfast I like them plain, cooked thick not runny, with just butter. At dinner I like them with cheese, or garlic, or both, or in the Frank Brigtsen showpiece in this wonderful thread.

          1. I will eat a bowl for breakfast with a pat of butter, and some crumbled bacon thrown on top.

            a classic grit dish is grits with shrimp (might have cheese in it, I can't remember)

            1. Diva, it looks like you're around San Diego. If you ever find yourself in the midwest, grits are a pretty common breakfast alternative to potatoes. My Dad, a 20+ year transplant in California from Ohio, still orders them at every opportunity. I think I've only ever seen them with butter and salt, and maybe some gravy, though there is no reason you couldn't use brown sugar instead the way you would with oatmeal.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Louise

                Grits and corn are very different from oats and oatmeal. They really taste nothing alike, though the texture may be similar. I've never seen grits with brown sugar, just as I've never seen cheese in oatmeal. And I have lived in the South.

                1. re: mojoeater

                  Cornmeal and oatmeal definitely taste differently, and brown sugar in grits might not be traditional southern fare, but why not try it? In cooler months I eat either oatmeal or some sort of cornmeal most mornings for breakfast. I fix both up in a variety of ways and have indeed put brown sugar in my cornmeal (though I often choose honey or maple syrup for both cornmeal and oatmeal). Other items I like in both: butternut squash or sweet potato puree (thanks to a post from Pei last fall), apples, pears, prunes, pecans, walnuts.

                  1. re: mojoeater

                    It's true that they are very different however given that both are prepared as porridge, similar toppings may work for both.

                    I do agree that it's difficult to imagine cheese on oatmeal or bbq'd shrimp and oatmeal, there may be some avant-garde chef who has tried it, or even a 'hound.

                    1. re: Louise

                      I do not see the two as interchangeable. The may be a very small over lap in application/dressing but that's about it in my mind.


                      1. re: Louise

                        I still haven't ventured into savory oatmeal, but many CH'ers have (and several seem to have grown up with savory oatmeal). Varieties found on the board: adding fried or poached eggs, cheeses, veggies, miso....Here are a few threads with examples of the many ways CHers enjoy their oatmeal, both sweet and savory:

                  2. My favorite grits:
                    --basic breakfast cheese grits: make grits, stir in an obscene amount of shredded sharp cheddar cheese, stir, and eat.
                    --grits & scrambled eggs: break an egg or two into a pot of hot grits & stir gently until the egg is set. Salt & lots of black pepper, w/a litle butter on top.
                    --grits & grillades: cubed, smothered beef round or veal in a thymey, oniony, gravy, served over grits.
                    --baked garlic jalapeno cheese grits: cooked grits mixed with garlic, cheese, chopped pickled jalapenos, and eggs, baked in a dish until set.
                    I don't really like sweet grits, but it is fairly traditional in the south to put butter & sugar or syrup over your grits.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Hungry Celeste

                      Ah, sweet grits. I love to load them up with good honey. Then again, I also like them in savory meals.

                    2. YUM...grits. Grits are very popular in the south as breakfast fare or as a side (cheese and garlic are great). Like polenta though, the possibilities are pretty endless as to what you can stir in. For this thought I would definitely stick to regular not instant (as per the other posters). However, I eat grits as a quick breakfast a lot and actually really like the Quaker Quick Grits (in little packets like oatmeal). I usually use milk instead of water and go for less than the instructions (I like mine a little thick...plus you can always add more later). I add a little butter and sugar and have a hearty and quick breakfast.

                      1. Being the good Texas girl that I am, I love grits!
                        I have been looking for an excuse to make shrimp and grits for dinner. Oh heck, who needs an excuse! I think I will just go ahead and make it.
                        Paula Dean has a good recipe for shrimp and grits in Living it Up Southern Style. But I'm not sure if it is on the web.
                        Just like Hungry Celeste, I am partial to savory not sweet grits.

                        1. Div

                          Google recipes for "Shrimp and grits" and don't look back. The single best way to enjoy them. I'll sometimes make cheese grits when I make it and on occasion, I'll make andouille cheese grits. I don't use bacon in my S&G though.

                          Cheese grits with ham and red eye gravy is great for breakfast too.

                          Mrs. Sippi likes 'em just plain. Add a little pat of butter and she's in heaven.


                          1. Do bite the bullett and order some Anson Mill's grits. www.ansonmills.com. They will be ground to order and are some of the best and freshest you will find. Even uncooked they smell better than Quaker and some of those other brands. Expensive? Yes. Worth it? Absolutely. Think of them as your special occasion grits. The lowest I will go with grits is Quaker Quick, not instant in the little packets. Quick will do in a pinch but i usually Callaway Gardens speckled heart grits or in corn season we have a farmer who brings his grinder to our farmer's market and grinds them fresh on the spot, corn meal too. But the Anson Mills are from heirloom corn and are truly special.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Candy

                              What Candy says. I keep a box of instant grits around for when I'm sick. Just fry up two eggs and lay them on top of the grits. Instant comfort.

                              But Anson Mills rocks. Those grits are gourmet food.

                              I love grits.

                            2. thanks so much for all the responses. I am a big oatmeal fan, and wouldn't think of instant plain oatmeal, so luckily I didn't consider instant grits. I bought Arrowhead Mills white corn grits.

                              grits and eggs - definitely going to have that. I've been putting in some 12 and 13 hour days at the office, and this sounds like a nice, comforting dinner after a long day.

                              I d have some shrimp in the freezer - I'll have to try the shrimp and grits, too. I can't wait to experiment!