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Grits

I'm new to Southern cooking. What's your go-to brand for grits? I keep reading about "real" grits being stone-ground grits, but all I can find at my local Winn-Dixie are quick grits. Surely there's some good quick grits out there.

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Winn-Dixie
2112 Belle Chasse Hwy, Gretna, LA 70053

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  1. Buy the yellow corn grits from the bulk products section of Whole Foods. I used to be a white corn purist, but I love how creamy this cooks up! Think you'd be happy with it. Like it better than the more vaunted stone-ground, which I'm sure is heresy in some parts!

    1. Dorignac's has old fashioned yellow grits in a clear bag. I can't remember the brand and I'm not at home now but you can't miss them. They take at least 30 minutes to cook. Four parts water to one part grits. I put the grits into the salted tap water and then turn the fire on and stir occasionally; this keeps them from getting lumpy. Put a big slab of butter in them when they start to thicken. Some like to add cheese at the very end but I'm not a big fan of cheese grits. If they get too thick, just add a little water and stir it in.
      Nothing fancy or gourmet about grits.

      1. Not necessarily "New Orleans", per se, but you might want to explore Anson Mills' website. They have some wonderful product, from polenta to grits...etc....

        3 Replies
        1. re: Monch

          Upon reflection, my terse answer appears a bit "snooty" and for that I apologize.

          I'll reply to the actual OP's question from my perspective and see what the group thinks.

          I'm in Madison, Wisconsin and have two choices: Quaker Instant or Quaker Old-fashioned

          I go with Old-Fashioned but have no other baseline, other than the "high-end" mail-order Anson Mills products.

          1. re: Monch

            Me too. However the last bag I purchased had a lot of hard ends. Maybe it was just a bad bag.

          2. re: Monch

            2nd that - love their grits. Buy Aunt Jemima Old-Fashioned Grits also; very good, long cooking. Can not stand an instant grit!

          3. Though much more of a Deep South "thing," than New Orleans, I am a fan of Anson Mills' grits: http://www.ansonmills.com/

            Just as Monch mentions.

            We usually go for the yellow corn, but I feel that more NOLA chefs and cooks would go for white corn, though with their preps, might end up looking more yellow - butter, cheese, or some form of roux or gravy.

            Just my choice, along with John T. Edge.

            Enjoy,

            Hunt

            1. What brands of quick grits do you find?

              http://www.wwltv.com/frank-davis/Fran...
              This Louisiana TV station just calls for Quick Cooking Grits. My experience with quick grits is that they are best with a longer cooking time (e.g. 20 minutes).

              1 Reply
              1. re: paulj

                Yep on the longer cooking time, and using half milk also lends a really nice consistency.

              2. There are grits and then there are hominy grits...I always thought of the hominy ones as being Southern. I use the others for Italian cooking and cornbread.

                1 Reply
                1. re: escondido123

                  Note there are at least 2 threads listed below that discuss the difference between polenta and grits.

                2. Maybe it's just me, but I've always considered the stuff made with yellow corn to be polenta, and only that made with white corn to be grits.

                  It's possible to make some great tasting grub using the quick grits, and it does cut down on the hassle. I have found that quick grits are worth the extra time vs. instant grits however.

                  I'd say just buy what you can get at Winn-Dixie, play with some recipes, and see what you like. You can always buy some of the slow grits later and compare them. In my experience the first few times I try cooking something new it never comes out quite right, so I've given up on trying to make the most perfect and authentic representation of anything until I've played around with it enough to get my head around the basics.

                  1. Frankly, for most applications I prefer quick grits -- however, ignore the suggested cooking time, increase the water by half, and cook for at least 20 minutes. The stone-ground variety takes at least an hour, IME. They're delicious, but I don't have that kind of time most nights, and quick (NOT instant) are a good sub.

                    As far as brands, I've used Quaker and the Kroger store brand, and don't find much difference.

                    1. DH has a bowl of the Quaker quick-cook grits for breakfast every day. Five minutes in the microwave and he's happy... and the budget is happy too because it's three bucks for a month's worth of the stuff! (and I'm happy because I don't have to eat it. I've never understood the appeal of something so gritty!)

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Kajikit

                        not being snotty but that is why you dont like them...real grits do not taste like that!

                        1. re: LaLa

                          They don't really taste like ANYTHING. I've tried them a bunch of times and never liked them. I don't enjoy polenta either.

                          1. re: Kajikit

                            Like mashed potatoes, most of the taste comes from things like cheese and butter, and the eggs, sauce, or meat that is served along side or on top.

                      2. Here is what we do....get the Bob's Red Mill corn Grits (also known as polenta) and the key is to cook in salted water. Nothing worse than a 'gritty grit" ,so after you have added the grits to boiling water,whisk away for at least five minutes and often thereafter. This yieds a creamy pot of grits. After it has thickend to desired consistency,add unsalted Butter. I am a southern girl who loves grits,but only cooked the right way. I am with the no quik grit crowd.

                        1. I wonder if we are all using the same definition of "quick grits". To my mind, there are three tiers:

                          Instant grits: Cooked in the microwave in 2-4 minutes.

                          Quick grits: Cooked stovetop for 15-30 minutes.

                          Stone-ground: Cooked stovetop for an hour or so.

                          Thus, for me, "quick grits" are the mainstay and a perfectly acceptable(if inferior) substitute to stone-ground.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Naco

                            Also....

                            Instant Grits: Not fit for human consumption ~ Works well as a wall paper paste or school glue.

                            Quick AKA Hominy Grits: As Naco stated perfectly acceptable good eats.

                            Stone Ground AKA Corn Grits: Nothing finer in the World of Grits (Especially when you grew the corn behind the house)

                            1. re: Uncle Bob

                              Correct on all counts.

                            2. re: Naco

                              that's what my Mamma taught me. Quick grits are fine. Instant grits are not.

                            3. I think we are using different definitions.When I am referring to "quik grit" ,I am saying a pot of grits cooked too quickly before the grains have become soft. I think you (Naco) are giving a more accurate desrciption .I guess that was why I spelled it quik instead of quick...... a little pun. he he

                              1. The best grits I've ever had are the stone ground grits from Early's Honey Stand (mail order from Spring Hill, TN). I cook them by the package directions, starting with water and grits, adding a bit of milk as it thickens and adding grated cheddar and butter right at the end of cooking. Divine with eggs over easy (so I can mix the yolk in with the grits) and bacon.

                                8 Replies
                                1. re: woodleyparkhound

                                  We do a lot of "grits-n-eggs" and fry the eggs in Benton bacon fat.

                                  Actually, wife does a mean "shrimp-n-grits," and other than a touch of white wine and some worcestershire sauce in the shrimp, does not differ that much.

                                  When I was a child, my father was a sharecropper in the Delta. I'd wake up every morning, and in the mist, go harvest from the grit trees in the orchard...

                                  Hunt

                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                    Wow...I'd dearly love to get some seedlings from those grit trees. Do you have a good source for them? I'd be willing to swap some cuttings from our local pasta bushes (I take them on the full moon with shears made from lobster claws). :)

                                    1. re: MaineCook

                                      Here is footage of the annual spaghetti harvest in Switzerland:

                                      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXmaS1...

                                      1. re: meatn3

                                        Fabulous! My goal is to graft a couple of our Gigli pasta bushes onto dwarf crabapple tree trunks to flank our front door. Beauty and purpose combined for efficient harvesting!

                                        1. re: meatn3

                                          Thanks for the link. I had always wondered about spaghetti, and now I know.

                                          Looked like a Monty Python skit, but with "distressed film look."

                                          At least we never suffered the Swiss plight - no grit weevils, of which I am aware. Maybe it was grafting to an immune root-stock?

                                          Gotta' ask Mr.Coykendall, about the root-stock next week.

                                          Now, he did say that he had scored some Romanian Washday Beans, when last in Transylvania.

                                          Hunt

                                          Hunt

                                        2. re: MaineCook

                                          Hey, we ought to be able to work something out.

                                          I got my "grit tree" seedlings from John Cokyndall, the "seed master" at Blackberry Farm. I have taken cuttings from them everywhere that I have lived.

                                          Now, do you have any couscous shrubs too? [Grin]

                                          Just love a Spring night, when the grit trees are in bloom, and their perfume fills the evening air. Makes me hungry for shrimp & grits, or smoked bacon.

                                          Hunt

                                      2. re: woodleyparkhound

                                        I haven't gotten anything from Early's in eons, mostly because I was concentrating on cured pork and Broadbent's has claimed my allegiance there. But if you recommend their grits I'll give'em a try. We used to go by there all the time when we co-owned a whippet with a Spring Hill breeder, and would stop in once in a while. Now out in SoCal, still clinging to much of what Tennessee taught me about good eating.

                                        1. re: Will Owen

                                          I just finished a wonderful breakfast of Early's grits, eggs and bacon prepared as I described above. A ton of calories and I won't need another full meal until tomorrow, but so worth it. Such comfort food; I'm crazy about it!

                                      3. My favorite brand of grits for all time was from Knotts Berry Farm, they had an old fashioned grits mill (with 2 large stone wheels) and used to grind them when walked in and ordered it. Mom used to send me over there on my bicycle to get some back in the mid 60's. I think Knotts got rid of the mill when they started charging admission to get into the park.

                                        1. nthing the Anson Mills products. They're a little more expensive, but the quality can't be beat. Make sure to cook them according the the directions on their web site, though; they do not behave like any grits you have worked with before. For instance, Anson Mills' quick grits still take about a half-hour to cook, while the regular ones take about an hour (after soaking overnight).

                                          1. I haven't noticed much of a difference b/w the brands that are available at your normal grocery.

                                            All of Bill Hunt's suggestions are fabulous! My personal favorite for eggs and grits is to use Boursin cheese. It's heaven!!!

                                            Instant grits? No way! Watch "My Cousin Vinny" for a good show of how Southerners feel about instant grits! LOL!

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: NOLAcarrot

                                              Oh-h, that DOES sound good. We do not do many "cheese grits" dishes, and usually go with a bit of a gravy, but you DID catch my attention. Gotta' give Boursin a try.

                                              I've done cheese grits with Bandaged Cheddar, http://www.cowgirlcreamery.com/prodin..., and it was exquisite.

                                              Thanks,

                                              Hunt

                                            2. Next week, I will be enjoying Anson Mills' course, stone-ground grits (not quick, or instant, but great), along with Benton, applewood-smoked, thick-sliced bacon. For an old, "son of the Deep South," it does not get much better than that.

                                              Hope that you have found some good grits.

                                              Hunt

                                              1. Are there any traditional dishes using both grits and beans? I know of an Italian dish that cooks cabbage and beans with cornmeal. The name means something like 'polenta in chains'. And there's the Louisiana rice and red beans.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: paulj

                                                  Grits with kale and beans:

                                                  Cook beans (I used Peruanos)
                                                  Cook a bunch of kale (stem, simmer till tender, drain)
                                                  Saute minced shallot and bacon
                                                  Add minced garlic, and chopped kale
                                                  Add grits (I used ordinary quick), and water (3:1 ratio for a start)
                                                  Add beans (eyeball proportions; grits will swell)
                                                  As the grits thicken, stir (20 minutes or more)
                                                  Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, hot sauce, olive oil, cream, grated parm.

                                                  Quick grits worked well this way; cooking time is right for precooked beans and kale; the color contrast of the kale and white grits is nice.

                                                  Previously I used yellow 'polenta' and cabbage, and didn't like it quite as well. Some Italian recipes for polenta incatenata call for black kale (cavolo nero), which I've never seen.

                                                2. I glanced at this book in the used book store
                                                  Good Old Grits Cookbook
                                                  Google preview
                                                  http://books.google.com/books?id=GIoZ...

                                                  1. I am a chef and like these a lot. http://www.adluhstore.com/grits.html

                                                    Very good and much less $ than Anson Mills.
                                                    Aunt Jemima old fashioned white and Jim Dandy are pretty good as well.