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Finding Grits

Hi All

I'm on a mission to make my husband a southern feast for Father's Day next weekend, and have been hunting for grits. My local Ralph's, Von's and Gelson's do not carry any.

Has anyone seen them at their local grocery store? Westside would be perfect but I'll travel if I have to.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. I've purchased them at Ralph's more than once. I know they sell them at the 99 Cent Only stores.

    1. I've seen them at Ralphs too. They are with the breakfast cereals and oatmeals, not in the pasta/rice section.

      1. Thank you both, maybe I was looking in the wrong spot at my Ralph's. I will try again and see.

        1. dirty - I need you to talk to my wife -- nice work!

          1. I'm afraid the grits you'll find at Ralph's etc. will be the quick-cooking kind. A real Southerner will prefer the long-cooking kind. I remember buying that a few years ago at Whole Foods in the bulk section (not all WF's have a bulk section.) Good luck.

            14 Replies
            1. re: duck55

              I eat the quaker quick grits all the time...pretty good with just butter and/or hot sauce...as a side with a big dinner of other stuff to prepare, I don't see a major difference...but agree the other stuff better.

              1. re: jessejames

                I'm not a fan. Insipid is the word is use to describe nearly all quick cook grits and polenta I've tried.

                1. re: cacio e pepe

                  your call, for me, nothing a pad of butter and some tabasco sauce doesn't fix up...

                  1. re: cacio e pepe

                    butter and salt and pepper is, imho, required

                    1. re: westsidegal

                      That goes without saying. But those quaker quick grits simply have no taste on their own.

                      Anson Mills, on the other hand, have a taste to them that is enhanced by the butter and salt.

                      Nearly any slow cook grits will have much better flavor than the instant stuff.

                      1. re: cacio e pepe

                        Grated cheese or butter and good to go. They are hard to fuck up tho.

                        1. re: jessejames

                          To each their own. I think grits need time and love. Otherwise, grits are just a cheese and hot sauce delivery system. And that's a shame.

                          I'm telling you, jj. Bring some of that pastrami passion to your grits. You won't be sorry and you won't go back.

                          1. re: cacio e pepe

                            I don't like fancy schmansey restaurant grits either (green onion?? parmesan?? truffle oil -- gag me with a spoon)...give me a bowl of waffle house special with tabasco and butter and good to go....needless to say, nothing wrong with mo' better all around...if you're cooking a half dozen other dishes, it's kind of nice to have one where you just add water too....like good bbq can be effectively deployed on wonder bread too...

                            1. re: jessejames

                              Not what I'm talking about. When did I say I like truffle oil on my grits? Parmigiano tastes great . . . if you're making polenta. Green onion is commonly used as a garnish to things like shrimp and grits so I'm not sure why that combination is so objectionable.

                              Look. Buy cheap grits! Cook them with water. I do. It's very simple and just simple requires time and the occasional stir. But *quick* cook grits or polenta have zero flavor. Grits should taste like corn! It's the difference between a pack of instant plain oatmeal and slow cooked steel cut oatmeal. Cardboard versus flavor.

                              And Waffle House doesn't use quick cook grits, to my knowledge. No southerner I've met likes them either.

                              Anyway, you do what works for you. I'm going to keep recommending the real stuff.

                              1. re: cacio e pepe

                                im down to try them and it's appreciated c e p. my eating and drinking skills much stronger than my cooking ones.

                                1. re: cacio e pepe

                                  cacio, speaking from 27 years in Nashville plus forays both south and north, EVERYBODY uses quick-cooking grits, especially Waffle House, Cracker Barrel, and all the standalone down-home breakfast-and-plate-lunch joints. What they don't use is INSTANT grits.

                                  I've never seen what I consider real hominy grits – made from dried corn processed with lye, then dried and ground – in any but quick-cooking form, though I'm sure it exists. Any "hominy grits" you get from the fancy mills are simply ground from "hominy corn," not real hominy. And that hominy flavor – I grew up eating canned hominy and still do – is what I want in just plain grits. For garlic-cheese grits I'll use the stoneground non-hominy grits/polenta.

                                  1. re: Will Owen

                                    Yup. Quick and instant are not the same thing. Breakfast grits I make with quick and adorn with salt, pepper, and butter. Fancy pants dinner grits are stone ground and sometimes contain cheese and other flavorings.

                                    1. re: Will Owen

                                      You are correct. My mistake for conflating the two. I hope you'll agree that instant grits are the devil. Mea culpa, jj.

                                      As to the real hominy slow cooking grits, I do believe my recommendation for Anson Mills is what you're looking for, though I'm confused by your distinction between hominy and hominy corn. It's my understanding that hominy *is* nixtamilized field corn.

                                      It's also my understanding that Anson Mills use nixtamilized dent corn.

                                      Other mills seem to use untreated dried and ground field corn, which seems identical to polenta to me.

                                      But after fucking up the instant/quick distinction, I readily admit I may be wrong on this.

                                      1. re: cacio e pepe

                                        no sweat. keep up the good hounding and looking out for the pack!

                  2. I just saw some decent looking stoneground grits on the new items shelf at Trader Joe's today.

                    1. Surfas carries Anson Mills grits. They're the best I've had, if prepared properly.

                      Worth it for a splurge. Alternatively, you could mail order Anson Mills and get it in time for Father's Day, as long as you order it by this weekend. They have a lot of really special products. Their Carolina Rice Grits are pretty special.

                      And even if you decide against Anson Mills, check out their recipes on their website. Extraordinary stuff.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: cacio e pepe

                        Anson Mills would be great. I thought about mail order. Guess I'll have to pull the trigger soon!

                        1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                          Surfas grits are quite good. They are in the refrigerated section. They take quite a long time to cook, and are very sticky. I have had good luck pre-soaking them overnight, and cooking them in my rice cooker on the "brown rice" setting. Good-luck!

                      2. You could get them already prepared at Milo and Olive. I have never gotten them to go but don't see a big problem reheating. I could be wrong but surely worth asking. Their grits are really really delicious.
                        So sorry. I just checked the menu and it seems they are no longer serving grits.:( They sure were good.
                        Good luck.

                        1. Ditry,

                          As another poster said - they are at the 99 cents store often.

                          You can also find them at any mainstream grocery store in the cereal section.

                          Or, just go to any sprouts or whole foods and buy stone ground cornmeal in bulk, and cook it up.

                          You can cook them in water, or milk, with butter or without. Biggest things seems to be HOW you cook them.

                          I swear by the Gods of the Microwave.

                          1. hope this includes shrimp with the grits. oh my....

                            4 Replies
                              1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                You might treat your hubby to the Allen Brothers' grits, molasses glazed bacon and spicy shrimp at Josie Next Door some night. It was one of my favorite dishes the times we've gone.


                                1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                  In that case, I can personally attest to the recipe for shrimp and grits on the Anson Mills website. So good.

                                  1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                    In that case, I thought you might enjoy Michael Ruhlman's recipe for butter poached shrimp and grits. I've made it many times and it's wonderful.

                                2. Whole Foods also carries Bob's Red Mill brand of coarse ground grits.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Sam D.

                                    Those are good, too. Easier to find and cheaper than Anson Mills.

                                  2. Co-sign the Surfas suggestion for Anson Mills.

                                    And please do soak them overnight.

                                    1. The Quaker and Alber's grits they sell here are what I call real hominy grits, as they're ground from nixtamalized corn. I don't think they lack flavor at all, as long as you enjoy that whang of lye (which I do). Sufficient salt, big pat of butter and a good dash of cayenne all added before the water comes to the boil doesn't hurt anything.

                                      Stone-ground grits have more of a corn flavor; you might look both in the bins at Whole Foods and among the Bob's Red Mill offerings. I bought ten pounds on Amazon a year or more ago, parcelled it out among a bunch of 1-liter containers and put them in the backup fridge, and use them both for garlic/cheese grits and polenta.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: Will Owen

                                        Will our troubles finding CFS here aside what other southern food spots you like in la?

                                        1. re: jessejames

                                          I've not looked that hard for those; we satisfy our jones for that stuff with annual trips back to Nashville … and when we're there we eat neither Mexican nor Chinese!

                                          There are some soul-food places I'm interested in trying, some pretty close. Roscoe's barely makes the cut for me, but maybe Big Mama's will do the job. My LA equivalent to what I like in Tennessee and Kentucky is diner food, at its best like what I grew up with in Illinois: fresh vegetables and real mashed (not whipped!) potatoes, real gravy made from real drippings, stuff like that. Pann's is my LA fave, Henri's in Oxnard maybe even better – their vegetables certainly are. But there's not much Southern about either place.

                                          1. re: Will Owen

                                            thanks for the thoughtful response will. when you find that CFS in la, let us all know!

                                      2. If you don't find any, let me know and I can send you some from VA. email jeanmarie.kennedy@gmail.com

                                        1. Just this morning I read a blog post about how to make your own grits/polenta by putting popcorn kernels in a coffee mill, vitamix, etc. I haven't done it, but I am fascinated by the idea and found a few more articles that seem to support the concept. http://www.loveandlemons.com/2014/06/...

                                          1. I found a box while in Florida. Even in the major supermarket, they had only a few choices. And I believe these are "quick". A no name brand, will see it in a few days....

                                            Even here, I've noticed my stores only carry one choice, just not enough demand here I assume. Pretty sure I'll end up going mail order on this one, unless I happen to go down to Surfas. Thanks everyone for the help.

                                            9 Replies
                                              1. re: jessejames

                                                I am now in the same camp as JJ and Will Owen. I was mistakenly thinking of INSTANT grits, which are bland city. Quick cook are still good.

                                                The low and slow are really excellentl, but sometimes you don't need the best.

                                                1. re: cacio e pepe

                                                  I just like em plain ish with butter or hot sauce or fried eggs. Just like the small bowl at Waffle House works for me. Maybe a few wheels of andouille too right CEP?

                                                  1. re: jessejames

                                                    I like to keep them simple, too, but shrimp and grits are kind of too good to pass up.

                                                    Mostly, I like grits as part of a pretty straightforward meal. Grits w/ butter and Crystal hot sauce, collards, and a simple piece of meat. Bob's version of andouille will do nicely. Lately, I've been all over the pork collar steaks from Peads and Barnett. Pan roasted with some of Chuck Taggart's Creole seasoning. Wow!

                                                    1. re: cacio e pepe

                                                      You're talking my language! Never tried a pork collar but I gotta think its tasty esp with crack on it. Im terrible at cooking greens. U u hock for that too?

                                                      1. re: jessejames

                                                        Pork collar steaks are killer.

                                                        I favor something like this recipe for my collards.

                                                        I think the stock has enough flavor to bolster but not overwhelm the greens.

                                                        1. re: cacio e pepe

                                                          Just ask butcher for a pork collar and have him cut steaks and grill em? Will try that greens recipe. Mine call for pork fat but they come out slimy Plenty of room for pork fat on the side.

                                                          1. re: jessejames

                                                            That should do the trick. I've been getting mine at the SMFM from Peads and Barnett. He raises Mangalitsa crossed heritage pork. The stuff is the best pork I've ever had.

                                                            1. re: cacio e pepe

                                                              I bought their bacon on Saturday. It was the best bacon I have ever had.