Buttermilk Grits with Country Ham and Shrimp Recipe

These savory grits make your classic shrimp & grits even better with country ham. The ham-and-shrimp topping for these buttermilk stone-ground grits comes together with Creole seasoning, garlic, scallions, and white wine. Buttermilk adds a subtle, creamy tang to the grits. These grits were 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! Simmering until creamy and thickened is the key to the texture of perfectly cooked grits, and adding butter towards the end ensures epic flavor.

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Photo: Jennifer Causey; Prop Styling: Ginny Branch Stelling; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall
Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
35 mins
4 serves



  • 4 cups water

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 1 cup uncooked stone-ground grits

  • 3/4 cup whole buttermilk

  • 3 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 3/4 cup)

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Country Ham and Shrimp Topping

  • 1 pound raw medium-size shrimp, peeled and deveined

  • 3/4 teaspoon Creole seasoning

  • 1/2 cup chopped country ham

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1/2 cup sliced scallions

  • 1/4 cup chicken stock

  • 1/4 cup dry white wine


  1. 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.

  2. Remove from heat, and stir in 3⁄4 cup whole buttermilk, 3 oz. Parmesan cheese, and 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter. Cover and keep warm until ready to serve.

  3. Toss 1 lb. peeled and deveined raw medium-size shrimp with 3⁄4 tsp. Creole seasoning. Cook 1⁄2 cup chopped country ham in 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted in a small skillet over medium-high, stirring constantly, just until beginning to brown, about 3 minutes.

  4. Stir in shrimp and 2 garlic cloves; cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Stir in 1⁄2 cup sliced scallions, 1⁄4 cup chicken stock, and 1⁄4 cup dry white wine, and cook until shrimp just turn pink and liquid is reduced by about half, about 2 minutes. Serve shrimp mixture over warm grits.

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