Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Cheese Grits

The other day someone asked me what I meant by "real grits".

I think the problem that people who hate grits have is they haven't had "real grits".  They have had soupy, bland, quick cooking grits.  I don't blame them.  I hate those grits too.  I think the only person that would like "those grits" is that kid that ate glue back in first grade. Whatever happened to that kid anyway? 

Here are a few signs you are making "real grits"
  • They aren't "instant" or "quick cooking"
  • They come in a bag, probably not a box.  
  • The package might even have no instructions.  (I think they assume if you have any business making grits, you have a mother or grandmother that taught you how somewhere along the way.) 
  • You have to sift out the bran before cooking
  • They take at least 30-45 minutes to cook.
Anyway here is how I  did mine tonight.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Cheese Grits
serves: 4


For the grits
  • 1 cup stone ground grits, rinsed and bran flakes skimmed off
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (I used more of that Spinach, Artichoke & Pepper Jack cheese)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1-2 Tbsp unsalted butter
For the pork
  • 1 pork tenderloin, silver skin trimmed off
  • 1 tsp smoked salt
  • 3/4 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 cup BBQ sauce
  1. Bring water and a "healthy pinch of salt" to a boil in a medium pot.  
  2. Stir in the grits, reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered.  You will need to stir them every few minutes throughout the process.
  3. Preheat a charcoal grill to 350f set up for direct heat.
  4. Mix the dry seasonings together and season the pork tenderloin.
  5. After the grits have been simmering (and stirred.  You're still stirring them, right?) for about 30 minutes, place the tenderloin on your grill and cook with the lid closed.
  6. Turn the tenderloin every 5 minutes.  When the tenderloin reaches an internal temp of 120f (about 15 minutes), brush with the BBQ sauce and continue grilling.
  7. When the tenderloin reaches in internal temp of 140f, remove from the grill and let rest for 10 minutes.
  8. Your grits should almost be thickened.  Stir in the cheese and butter until it melts.  
  9. Taste grits for seasoning and add salt and pepper.  I added another pinch of salt and maybe a 1/4 tsp of pepper.
  10. Slice the tenderloin into 3/4" slices, drizzle with extra sauce, and serve with the grits.
  • I used grits from Bear Creek Milling that we bought at  Mast General Store .  They are ground on a 100+ year old mill stone.  When I say "they", I guess I should say Bobby.  I googled the company and came up with this link for their sister company.  I thought it was cool getting to see the people that actually make the products.
  • I used Tennessee's Best Apple Butter BBQ Sauce that we picked up at a local market last summer.  We bought it for the boys who love apple butter but I expected it to taste weird.  Turned out it was a good BBQ sauce, tangy and sweet. 
Ok, I painted on the "drip"...sue me.
Only thing missing is a big ol' biscuit. 


  1. I'm a fan of grits and sure agree with you on the taste difference you mentioned. Nice looking dinner.

  2. Yum, not missing the biscuit one bit. Gorgeous looking meal, Chris. I had to laugh about the grits with no directions. We bought some stone ground grits from Mingus Mill in the park with no directions. A.J. noticed when we got home and told me I bought defective grits. I told him once you've cooked on grit, you've cooked them all.

  3. I have some real grits that I bought when I was in TN. Must make some. I love 'em. And I love pork tenderloin. Good match.

  4. This looks so good...I'm going to have to look out for that bbq sauce...I hate instant, but I think quick grits are ok...I think the key is to cook them longer than the package says.

  5. Real, cheesy grits are great. This means two things: that they are real, and when you think that you have enough cheese in there...add more. Cheesy grits go great with very spicy grilled shrimp!!!

  6. I had my grits at Cracker Barrel and wasn't impressed but these.....YUM! they look good. I wonder if they sell grits in a bag in Burbank

  7. OMG...I love love love MAST general Store.
    There is nothing better than real grits. I get mine from Nora Mill Granary in Helen Georgia...they are the best REAL GRITS

  8. Chris, I have a brisket to cook tomorrow and I was trying to figure out some sides but grits and biscuits with beans sounds mighty good to me!!

  9. Cheese grits and pork are a marriage made in heaven for this southern girl. I'm with Bo on the quick grits. I don't think they're bad and easier for some folks to find that don't live where we do, but never, never, never eat the instant ones. They are definitely glue.

    I'm still smiling at yours and Katherine's comment about no directions. So true.

  10. For some reason this post reminds me of Magic Grits... ;)


  11. i don't think i've ever had grits, but i've had polenta, similar? either way this looks like a fine tastin' dish.

  12. I only had grits once but eat polenta all the time! Cheesy polenta is heaven so I'm thinking these are much the same. That is one mouth-watering plate of food!

  13. "Mel, kiss my grits"! Does that age me that I know that quote? Oh well.

    I've never had grits but I am certain I would dig them. The pork looks tasty and perfectly cooked as usual.

  14. I hereby knight you as my grit-cooking-teacher/Southern grandmother. I have the ultimate faith that you'll be able to lead me to grit heaven. I mean...just look at those!

  15. Yep, no directions on my bag of stone-ground grits either. Never realized that before :)

    Cheese grits and pork are a marriage made in heaven. Looks fantastic.

  16. Oh my gosh, I should not read your blog in the morning...now I want this for breakfast!

    I never ate grits growing up, but I fell in love with them years ago when I made a recipe with Chipotle Maple Glazed pork chops with Smoked Gouda grits. It was a meal to die for, and make me a grits lover! This looks amazing, Chris.

    Kim in MD

  17. Yup - I'm one of those northern girls who doesn't understand the thrill of grits! But you're right that I've probably only had the inferior version, rather than the real thing. And who could go wrong adding cheese??? I trust your recommendation, and will have to give 'em another try ....

  18. Aww, grits remind me of my Aunt :) Good old Southern food. I've never made them myself though. Yours looks scrumptious. And so does that apple butter bbq sauce!

  19. Oh my God, this looks so delicious! I'm from Asheville and I can't tell you how much I love southern cooking!

  20. Oh, you used Mast General Store?! I work for Mast, and I must tell you, I love Bear Creek Milling.


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