Have you ever had perfect grits? We have. They're tender, creamy, hot, taste vaguely of corn if you're very lucky and usually involve cheese.
Have you ever had terrible grits? We have. They're gristly, stiff, dry and under-seasoned. Our goal today is to make sure that the grits mistakes that have plagued those bowlfuls aren't befalling your grits. We want your grits to be perfect, because it's getting chilly outside and we think everyone deserves it. Learning how to cook grits has been one of our most rewarding culinary challenges, because once you can make perfect grits, you can focus on topping them with all kind of delicious things. Without further ado, here are some of the grits mistakes you might be making.
A lot of people think grits are gross. We're not totally sure why, but the fact that the name makes them sound like they are made of sand probably doesn't help. These are lobster grits from the Red Hook Lobster Pound. They are just one example of the many ways grits can be made completely delicious.
Grits are made of dried, ground corn. When you reconstitute that dried, ground corn with stock, cheese, etc., magical things happen. Give them a chance.
Nope. Don't do it. There is no grit that can be cooked in five minutes. They take time, like all delicious things. You are better off getting a breakfast sandwich from a deli.
Buying quality grits is as important as buying any other ingredient. We like a coarse grind, and are totally in love with the grits from South Carolina's Geechie Boy Mill.
Just like that other fancy corn porridge polenta, grits benefit from a resting period, over indirect heat. During this time, they soak up extra moisture and fat, making them softer and creamier. Also during that time, you can make whatever you're putting on top of your grits. We do this every time.
Grits are just ground, dried corn, which means that if you don't season them, they taste like wallpaper paste made out of corn. Salt is very important here. We would also encourage you to not shy away from butter.
When you cook grits, you're re-constituting them, which means they're going to expand a lot. At least double, maybe triple their original volume. Make sure your pot is big enough to both accomodate and vigorously stir your grits.
Grits are a classic breakfast item in the American South, but their importance at lunch and dinner shouldn't be underestimated. Fold in pimento cheese. Eat them with shrimp. With fresh tomatoes. With short ribs. With things we haven't even thought of (and then please tell us about them).