South Carolina Shrimp and Grits

Shrimp and grits is a southern staple. Found everywhere from casual diners to fancy white linen tablecloth restaurants, although it wasn’t always this popular. Shrimp and grits became the en vogue dish that it is today by the recent popularity of low country cuisine and the world famous chefs of that region.

Low country is reserved as the geographical region along the southern coast of South Carolina, a section of the country also known as the ‘Grit Belt’ (teehee). South Carolinians have been making shrimp and grits for centuries and recipes have been generationally passed along from family to family.

What is a grit?

(Oh man, my mama would have a field day with you!) Grits were first introduced by the Native Americans to the colonists, making grits one of the longest standing food traditions of our country.

Grits start off as corn, either yellow corn or white corn, that have been dried and crushed into a meal. The meal is then boiled in liquid until it is smooth and creamy. You can usually find grits in 3 categories; stone ground, hominy or quick grits. Stone ground grits are more coarsely ground (larger granules) and take longer to cook. Hominy grits is a version where corn kernels are soaked in a lye water bath until they swell and the shell and bran are removed, what’s left is dried and ground. Quick grits are ground very fine as to reduce the cooking time.

I’ve scoured the south in search of the best recipe for Shrimp and Grits and the low country version is just the best one, no contest. The grits are simmered in a combination of broth and milk and once they’re just about done, shredded white cheddar is whisked in for double the creaminess. The shrimp are sautéed in a buttery bacon sauce (where the secret ingredient is a little bit of beer) before getting a light squeeze of lemon juice, a touch of hot sauce and some chopped scallions for punch.

South Carolina Shrimp and Grits

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

Grits:

  • 2 cups chicken or seafood broth
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup quick white or yellow corn grits
  • 1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Shrimp:

  • 4 thick slices of smoked bacon chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves peeled and minced
  • 1 lb. Cameron’s Seafood Fresh Shrimp peeled
  • 1/8 cup lager beer
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter cubed
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce optional
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh scallions chopped

Instructions

  1. In a large stock pot heat broth and milk over medium heat. Once lightly simmering whisk in grits and cook for 4 minutes and then whisk in shredded cheddar. Continue to cook for 2 more minutes or until creamy and smooth. Season to taste with salt an pepper and keep warm until ready to serve. Keep some extra broth or milk close by in case grits get to thick. The perfect grits coat a spoon not clump on a spoon.
  2. In a large skillet cook chopped bacon over medium high heat until golden brown and crispy. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.
  3. Add garlic and shrimp to the pan (and the delicious bacon grease) and sauté for 3-4 minutes or until fragrant and shrimp are al dente.
  4. Deglaze pan with beer and whisk in butter, lemon juice and hot sauce. Simmer for 2 minutes or until shrimp have cooked completely. Stir in cooked bacon and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. To serve ladle grits into individual bowls and spoon shrimp on top. Garnish with chopped scallions before serving.

Buy Shrimp Online

 You can buy the Fresh Shrimp used in this recipe from our online store. All of Cameron’s Seafood shrimp are the highest quality shrimp you can buy and are shipped directly to your door.

Show us how you make shrimp and grits. Whether you use this recipe or have one of your own that you would like to share-we’d love to hear from you. Post your own Cameron’s Seafood dish on Instagram and tag us @cameronsseafoodonline. We’re also on Facebook and Twitter, we look forward seeing your creations. 

By: Patterson Watkins

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