The Southern History Of Grits

Recipe: Perfect Pot Of Grits

Is there anything more Southern than grits? We serve up steaming pots of grits with butter, cheese, salt, sugar, tomato gravy, shrimp – you name it. Corn, one of our most bountiful crops, has always had starring role on Southern tables. Grits are a classic recipe that actually originated from porridge made with cornmeal by the Native Americans. From the mortar and pestle all the way to the table, Test Kitchen Director Robby Melvin is exploring the history of this buttery staple and showing how Southern Living makes a perfect pot of grits.


Is there anything more southern than grits? The word grits comes from the Middle English word gyrt, which is the outer bran of any whole grain. In this case our whole grain is corn. These ground up kernels of corn have always had a place on southern tables beginning with Native Americans who would grind the corn into corn meal. And make porridge which we believe was the first pot of grits. Early settlers learned from Native Americans how to take corn, turn it into hominy, which is the corn kernels with the hulls removed and then grind it into grits. Because corn was so readily available, and the grits making process had been perfected. Which quickly became known as the potatoes of the south, filling that starch requirement on tables all over the south. To make the perfect pot of grits, you need to start with a ratio of three to one water to grits. Our grits like to swim around, get all those individual grains softened. It can help them get nice and creamy. [MUSIC] We got our water then we're going to season our water with a little salt. We're going to bring this up to a boil and going to slow stream whisk in our grits. It's important to whisk that first minute or 45 seconds because you want all of those grains to Kind of remove themselves from each other so that hot water can really begin that softening and tenderizing process. Grits are tough. You need to cook them for a long time. To help with that process and to shorten it and still have a great product, we're gonna turn this down to medium and cover. [MUSIC] It's going to simmer enclosed in all that heat and steam, which is going to provide us with a very tender, creamy pot of grits. The finishing touch on grits is to swirl in a little butter. I'm gonna take this and get it right in there. And you can see that it is Already nice and creamy. I think it's because grits is such a great dish that it has been around for so long, and very little has changed about it. It is that good. It simply needs to be enhanced with a few things. We're gonna serve a little tomato gravy. [MUSIC] Now this is a perfect bowl of grits. And this is really a celebration of a classic southern dish that again needs very very little to make it great. [MUSIC] [BLANK_AUDIO]
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