Friday, January 14, 2011

True Grit: Buffalo Cheese Grits

I see your polenta and raise you my grits. Here in the south, grits aren't just a breakfast staple. They are a classic side dish for fish fry and BBQ dinners. I'm not talking about that thin, watery, and bland white stuff some people call "grits". I'm talking about True Grits!

This is one of my favorite movie scenes about grits and it raises a point. Okay, it's the only grit movie scene I can think of bit it still raises a point.

There is a world of difference between "instant grits" and true grits. Instant grits are weak in taste and texture. Real grits have body and their own subtle flavor. You can see the difference between the two even before cooking. That isn't kosher salt on the right, those are instant grits compared to real grits on the left.

My preferred brand of grits is Charleston Favorites stone ground yellow grits. I buy ours locally. If you can't find them in your grocery store (look for the small burlap bag) you can order them online.

Here is one of my favorite grit recipes that I came up with just this year. It's based on the flavors from buffalo wings and have everything but the chicken. They are hearty, creamy and deliver just the right kick. I was alone the first time I made them and when I told Alexis the ingredients...

she made a funny face because she thought the ingredients didn't go together. But when she tried them, she devoured them.

Buffalo Cheese Grits
Source: Nibble Me This

3 Tbsp butter (divided into 2 and 1 Tbsp)
2 Tbsp celery, very very finely diced
2/3 cup Charleston Favorites yellow stone ground grits
1 cup water
1 1/2 cup chicken stock (I used homemade)
2/3 tsp kosher salt
1/4 to 1/2 cup gorgonzola or blue cheese
1 Tbsp Fire Ant Juice or other gourmet hot sauce

Melt 2 Tbsp butter and saute the celery until softened, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the grits and then add salt, the water, and 1 cup of stock. NOTE: True grits will have some bran in them. This is a part of the corn grain and will not soften during cooking. When you first add the liquid, the bran will float to the top. Skim these bran flakes off with a spoon and discard. For this quantity of grits, you can expect 1 Tbsp or less of bran.

Bring grits to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, stirring often. They will start to thicken at about 15 minutes into the cooking time. Gradually add the remaining 1/2 cup of stock in small increments during the last 15 minutes to keep the desired texture. Think of it like you are cooking risotto.

In the last 5 minutes add the gorgonzola or blue cheese. I like just about 1/2 cup. If you prefer milder, use less. Stir in the Fire Ant Juice. You can use a plain hot sauce but I prefer the more complex flavor of the combined jalapeno, cayenne and habanero peppers that Fire Ant Juice brings. It's my favorite hot sauce and won a first place Scovie award in 2010. 1 Tbsp is just about right for a mild but noticeable kick. If you like spicy food, use an ounce. If you like less, go with a teaspoon.

Add in the last Tbsp of butter as you take the grits off of heat.

Feel free to garnish with more gorgonzola and/or hot sauce.

[Standard Review Disclaimer] I am a paying customer of these two products. I don't get any compensation from Charleston Favorites. When placing a paid order for Fire Ant Juice, I do occasionally get an extra 'freebie' jar of something new to try from Chef Wayne but he does that for other people too, it's not "compensation" for a review.


  1. I've never had "true grits". Will have to order them. Wasn't that movie just the best? I had forgotten about the grits scene. Priceless. Another one of my favorite parts was when he changed out of his "eastern" clothes into southern duds so he could "blend".

  2. I love that you've put hot wing flavors into grits. Even my grit hating hubby would love these! Thanks Chris! They sound delicious!!

  3. Chris, did you just hear that sound? That was the sound of my wing loving son's jaw hitting the floor. I can tell I'm going to be making these soon, and often.

  4. So tell me now: what is a grit??

  5. I'm right with you on "true grits" and have even been accused to be a snob about it (although I'll settle for quick grits, but never instant).
    Although I bring back stone ground grits with me when I head north, I've found that Williams Sonoma carries Carolina brand Stone-ground grits for those who are looking for them outside of the south.
    Interesting recipe--I love grits with bbq, but I've never thought about pairing them with a wings based recipe!

  6. I'm with you - true grits are the only way to go! We order ours from Anson Mills in South Cackalacky because up here in the North NO ONE carries the real stuff! Loved the clip, great movie..."I got no more uzse for dis guy..." my favorite line - I uzse it on the mister all the time! I'm going to make these for the big game tomorrow...the one where the Seahawks embarrass themselves all over the field! xo, Nan

  7. They look like true grits to me! Looks excellent Chris...

  8. That's the only grits movie scene I can think of too. Give me a few days....

  9. My Cousin Vinny is a great movie! I love grits, but I have never had "true" grits (I use 5 minute grits). Thanks for enlightening me on what I should be using! I am going to order some Charleston Favorites right away!

    Kim in MD

  10. I probably shouldn't tell you this..please don't lose respect for me...but I have never had grits before. Chris was raised on them (Oklahoma native) and when I told him your flavor combo he instantly started drooling!! Think you might have made me want to actually try grits, Chris!!

  11. One of my favorite foods, can't wait to try this recipe!

  12. This southern gal couldn't live without her grits, and stone ground are fantastic, but hey I won't go knocking anybody's grits, so long as they are eatin' 'em! ;) These look wonderful Chris!

  13. I'm with you on grits - I like the real thing and this is a creative use of them.

  14. I would be a little worried if I was on trial and Joe Pesci was a lawyer and Herman Munster was the Judge.

  15. What an inventive dish! I had to order grits for my husband so I could learn to make a couple of his favorite dishes. I think this is one I would love. I loved that movie - from the hilarious circus suit to the judge asking him what a "UTE" was.

  16. It makes me sad to admit that I have never tried grits. I think I may need to make this recipe!

  17. Now you're talking Chris. I seriously love grits and the slow cooking stone ground ones are the best. However, sometimes (ssh) I use the quick grits but never, never, never the instant ones.

    Great combination of flavors here. They would be addictive to me.

  18. Never have I ever eaten grits before in my life. And it's just about the saddest thing. An epic tragedy. I need to make this.

  19. Chris,

    As a southern girl married to a guy from NJ, this recipe might just be the ticket to get him to officially fall in love with grits. I have made him shrimp and grits and he was okay with it, but he LOVES anything with buffalo sauce/blue cheese and i think this recipe is the ticket! I look forward to trying!!

  20. Ha! Can you believe I've never made grits?? I need to! But I will be sure to use the real deal, not instant :) The Booze Hound would go CRAZY for these! He loves grits!

  21. My great aunt made the best grits ever and I don't have her recipe - yours sounds pretty darn close - I'll let you know!

  22. These are some crazy delicious grits! I think you're nothing short of genius! Can't wait to try this with polenta.


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