Sunday, November 8, 2020

Bayou Grits

 [FTC Standard Disclosure] We received no compensation for this post.

These are one of the best grits I have ever had. I was in Pensacola for the Pensacola Eggfest this time last year and had breakfast at the Dog House Deli in Downtown. 

Fabulous Bayou Grits from The Dog House Deli in Downtown Pensacola
I went with Bayou Grits, over-easy eggs, and smoked Duroc pork belly.

The Dog House Deli's Bayou Grits are thick, cheesy, bold, and amazing. Chef Nathan Holler and his crew saute bacon, ham, sausage, peppers, onions, garlic, and tomatoes and add them to their cheese grits with a touch of salsa.  They are shut-your-mouth good!

My version of the Dog House Deli's incredibly good Bayou Grits.

I was smoking a pork belly this weekend and decided I would make a version of their Bayou Grits. Here is what I did, starting with the pork belly.

Smoked Pork Belly

I started with half of a pork belly weighing just a smidgen over  5 pounds. I patted it dry, lightly oiled it, and gave it a moderate coat of my NMT Southern Sweet rub recipe (from my second book, The Offset Smoker Cookbook). You could substitute a general sweet BBQ rub, like Meat Church Honey Hog.

Smoking pork belly on the Oklahoma Joe's Rider DLX Pellet Grill

I loaded my Oklahoma Joe's Rider DLX with Kingsford Hickory pellets and pre-heated it to 200°f. I smoked the pork belly at that temp for about 4 hours. I spritzed it with apple juice every hour or so. Then I raised the temperature to 250°f and cooked the belly until it reached an internal temperature of 200°f, about 3 more hours. Then I glazed it with a homemade cherry-bourbon BBQ sauce similar to my Honey Bourbon BBQ sauce.

Smoking a pork belly on Oklahoma Joe's Rider DLX Pellet Grill
The Oklahoma Joe Rider DLX has cavernous amounts of space, making the pork belly look tiny. I have some of the racks removed in this picture, but this will hold 6 half-sized steam pans of BBQ beans on the upper two racks alone.

Pork belly smoked on the Oklahoma Joe's Rider DLX pellet grill
That color development is looking beautiful, right? I use the rack and tray to keep my smoker clean. The rack lets the smoke circulate around the belly.

Oklahoma Joe's Rider DLX Pellet Grill in action in my lower grilling area.
As twilight approached, the overhead string lights were casting a warm glow. I'm enjoying my new lower grilling area under the deck. It houses my Rider, an Oklahoma Joe Bronco drum smoker, a reverse-flow Oklahoma Joe Longhorn offset smoker, an Oklahoma Joe Judge charcoal grill, and a Saber Elite infrared gas grill. 

Smoked pork belly
Doesn't that look beautiful?

Smoked pork belly
The next morning, I cubed some for the grits and a couple of slices to have as a side.

What is the difference between this and bacon? I didn't cure this pork belly, and for bacon, I only smoke the pork belly to an internal temperature of about 150°f while I smoked this one to 200°f

How to smoke pork belly on a pellet grill
I slice it cold and heat it up in a skillet over medium-high heat to serve the pork belly.

The Dog House Deli's Bayou Grits

Published 11/08/2020


  • 1 cup stone-ground grits
  • 1 teaspoon dried minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1-quart chicken stock
  • water
  • 1 cup shredded mild smoked cheddar
  • 2-3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped bacon
  • 1/3 cup finely diced Conecuh smoked sausage
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped ham
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red and green bell pepper
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 teaspoons NMT Beef Rub v.2 (or another beef rub, such as; Flavor Anonymous Moo'd Enhancer)
  • 1/2 cup Picante sauce


  1. Make the cheese grits. Use good stone-ground grits, don't go instant or quick. I cook the grits as directed with salt, dried onion, and water. Then I start adding stock about a half cup at a time as the grits cook for an hour, stirring frequently. I'm adding just enough each time to keep the grits thinned out and cooking at a slow simmer. If the grits start to firm up or simmer too quickly, add a little stock. Finally, I add in the shredded cheese.
  2. Saute the melange of pork and veggies. Preheat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, add the butter, and saute the bacon, sausage, ham, bell peppers, and onions for about 5 minutes. Then add the tomatoes, garlic, and seasoning. Cook until tender, about another 3 minutes.
  3. Stir the melange into the cheese grits and enjoy!

Yield: 4-6 portions

Prep Time: 00 hrs. 30 mins.

Cook time: 1 hrs. 30 mins.

Total time: 2 hrs 00 mins.

Tags: breakfast, griddle, 

Stone-ground grits make a world of difference. We like Charleston Favorites (white) that we buy at our local Food City.

Recipe for Bayou Grits
My lower grilling area is a flight of stairs away from the kitchen, so I have to up my mise en place game when cooking down here...or get a lot of extra steps for my Fitbit.

My new ground level grilling area exclusively features Oklahoma Joe smokers and grills.
I switched my OK Joe Rider from Smoke (indirect) to Sear (direct) and preheated two of my 1930's era cast-iron skillets.  As you can see, we still have to install the pavers for our patio area.

Sauteing the melange on an Oklahoma Joe's Rider DLX
I did this version slightly different than my usual Bayou Grits. Instead of a third cup each of sausage, bacon, and ham, I just used a half cup each of sausage and diced smoked pork belly. As that fat renders and the peppers and onions saute, this smells ridiculously good.

Pork belly on an Oklahoma Joe's Rider DLX
I seared off slices of pork belly in my Griswold #5. I restored these 80+ year old skillets and use them practically every day.

On Sunday morning, instead of using cast-iron skillets, I used the drop-in griddle for Oklahoma Joe's Rider DLX.

The first morning, we ate the grits with a slice of pork belly, and they were fantastic.

Sunday morning, I served them up just like I got them from the Dog House Deli, and they were as amazing as Nathan makes.

The Dog House is a small storefront on Palafox in Downtown Pensacola. Don't let the small stature fool you. There's a lot of big cookin' going on inside there.

The restaurant is narrow and has limited seating. It fills up quick on Saturdays, so get there early!

Chef Nathan Holler working on his entry at last year's Iron Egg Chef competition while Doug Jolley officiates the competition (i.e., is actually watching rugby on his phone, haha).

The area is rich with history and unique architecture compared to most similarly-sized cities. I always enjoy my trips to Pensacola and the Gulf Coast.

The entertainment district offers plenty of good food and fun times.

Many of the buildings remind me of the French Quarter on a smaller scale.

Each year the Foo Foo Festival celebrates the music of the Foo Foo Fighters. Kidding, of course. The Foo Foo Festival celebrates the area's abundant arts, music, theater, dance, and cuisine. 

Pensacola enjoys 362 beautiful days a year. Two of the other days are tropical storm days, and the 365th day is scheduled for Winter, which lasts only for 24 hours. [You might want to check those facts; it's just what I've heard.]

Pensacola Florida is a wonderful place to visit.
I'm missing my friends at the Pensacola Eggfest this year!