Grits are a treat you rarely hear about North of the Mason Dixon line. They are a southern staple, a food my grandfather taught me how to appreciate during summer in North Carolina. Some people despise grits, but i’ve come to the conclusion that those that hate grits just have not had them prepared the proper way.
I recently watched a Facts. video where Irish people tried Southern Food. Let me just go ahead and say that whoever makes the American food for these videos should be ashamed, they do not do it justice. The gumbo they made does not resemble real gumbo in any way, shape, or form. But, I digress. During the grits portion of the video they state that the ingredients are grits, milk, and water. No, that is not how you make grits.
As a real grits lover, I have had grits prepared in water, and while I like them, most people do not. Grits prepared in water are bland, that is the only way to put it. If you have only had grits prepared in water, let me tell you that those are not how true southern grits are meant to be prepared. Grits prepared in milk or stock are a tad more flavorful, but still have not achieved perfection.
Years ago, my family and I visited Charleston and being foodies, we ate at a lot of restaurants. We sampled a lot of grits on that trip but found incredible grits at a restaurant called S.N.O.B (Slightly North of Broad). We loved them so much we ordered two helpings. After our meal, we had to know the secret to these insanely delicious grits. The waiter obliged our request and told us the real secret to cooking the best grits. The secret: cook the grits in heavy cream.
Yes, the secret to the most heavenly and creamy grits you will consume is cooking them in heavy cream. It may be extremely fattening, but boy, are they good. My family has been cooking grits with heavy cream for years now and I would not want them any other way. (If you cannot bring yourself to cook them in heavy cream, a combo of half and half and cream or milk works too.) While cream makes any grit edible, I highly recommend forgoing the Quaker brand grits you can find at any supermarket and getting the real stuff.
Growing up, every summer we would go to North Carolina and make a stop at the Old Hampton Store and Grist Mill. While there we would enjoy some bbq and stock up on their stone ground grits. Buying good quality grits is the key. They are larger than the usual instant grits and bring so much more flavor.
So do yourself a favor and cook up real grits with cream and fresh ground grits. Add in some butter and cheese for the ultimate flavor. And if you want to tackle a real southern staple, shrimp are always good with high-quality grits.