Photo: Jennifer Causey; Prop Styling: Ginny Branch Stelling; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall
Marian Cooper Cairns
You can’t get a more Southern bowl of grits than this. Topped with pimiento cheese, tender sliced brisket, and barbecue sauce, these buttermilk grits make a delicious comfort food dish. Buttermilk adds a subtle, creamy tang to these stone-ground grits that are inspired by the extraordinary artisan grits made by Jim Barkley’s mill, Barkley’s Mill, in North Carolina. For his stone-ground grits, Barkley uses vintage gristmills that were refurbished and placed in a pristine millhouse at Barkley’s Mill, and the beauty of these old machines is more than stone-deep. Grinding between the vertical stones of the gristmills keeps the corn from overheating during the milling process, protecting the integrity of the whole grain. The freshly ground grits are scooped by hand into cloth sacks, tied closed, and chilled. Those who appreciate corn grits know that this specially crafted flavor is worth every penny! Grits fit in with just about any Southern meal, at any time of day, on any holiday, or with any dish. Shrimp and grits, grits casserole, and grit cakes are some of our favorites; but it’s hard to beat just some grits in a bowl piled with tasty toppings. Simmering until creamy and thickened is the key to the texture of perfectly cooked grits, and adding butter towards the end ensures epic flavor.
4 cups water
1 cup whole milk
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup uncooked stone-ground grits
3/4 cup whole buttermilk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 ounces Cheddar cheese, grated (about 2 cups)
1 (4-oz.) jar diced pimientos, drained
3 scallions, thinly sliced
Topping: sliced brisket and barbecue sauce
How to Make It
Bring 4 cups water, 1 cup whole milk, and 1 1⁄4 tsp. kosher salt to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high. Gradually whisk in 1 cup uncooked stone-ground grits; return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until creamy and thickened, 25 to 30 minutes.
Remove from grits heat, and stir in whole buttermilk, Cheddar cheese, diced pimientos, scallions, Worcestershire sauce, and unsalted butter. Top servings with sliced brisket and a drizzle of your favorite barbecue sauce.