Grit Cakes with Pork Grillades

Are grit cakes better than layer cakes? Maybe!

Grit Cakes with Pork Grillades
Photo: Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Rishon Hanners; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis
Active Time:
1 hrs
Chill Time:
1 hrs
Total Time:
3 hrs

While we love a good pot of grits, there are so many creative ways to use this Southern pantry staple other than simply stewing them with water and plenty of butter. We're officially changing the game with these Grit Cakes with Pork Grillades. In this classic Cajun recipe, creamy and crispy grit cakes act as a sturdy base for a rich, savory pork stew. Bursting with umami, our savory, finger-licking pork grillades—spooned over top of the fried grit cakes—are hearty and filling.

If you can't find pork shoulder steaks, ask your butcher to cut them for you from a piece of boneless pork shoulder. While you can make a fresh batch of grits for this recipe, these Grit Cakes are also a fantastic way to make use of leftover grits. You'll want to refrigerate them, anyways; refrigerating the grits (and adding some cheese!) allows the starches to bind and firm up so that you can slice and brown them in a skillet.

Prepare the grits through Step 1 up to three days ahead. The pork can be made up to two days ahead. Chill in airtight containers; reheat before serving. Serve with a cold beer for a backyard brunch—this dish will transport you right to New Orleans.


  • 2 cups whole milk

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, divided

  • 1 cup stone-ground yellow or white grits (such as McEwen & Sons)

  • 4 ounces sharp white Cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)

  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, divided   

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil

  • 2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1 ½-inch pieces

  • 1 medium-size yellow onion, chopped (about 1 ½ cups)

  • 3 medium celery stalks, chopped (about 1 cup)

  • 1 medium-size green bell pepper, seeded and chopped (about 1 cup)

  • cup all-purpose flour

  • 2 cups beef broth

  • 1 (15-oz.) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes

  • ½ cup dry red wine

  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

  • 2 teaspoons Louisiana-style hot sauce (such as Crystal)

  • ½ cup thinly sliced scallions (about 4 medium)


  1. Line a 15- x 10-inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Bring milk, 2 cups water, and 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high. Reduce heat to medium-low; whisk in grits. Cook, stirring occasionally, until grits are tender and thick, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in cheese and 2 tablespoons of the butter. Pour grits onto parchment-lined pan; spread into an even layer. Cool completely, about 30 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until grits are firm, at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.

  2. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high. Pound each piece of pork to ¼-inch thickness; sprinkle evenly with 1 teaspoon of the salt. Cook pork in batches until browned, flipping once, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate; set aside. Add onion, celery, and bell pepper to pork drippings. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 6 minutes. Remove; set aside while you prepare the roux.

  3. Add 6 tablespoons of the butter to Dutch oven over medium. Add flour to butter, whisking constantly to scrape up browned bits from bottom of pot until flour and butter start to foam. Cook, whisking often, until deep brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in beef broth, tomatoes, wine, Worcestershire, and hot sauce. Add pork, vegetable mixture, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer over medium-low. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until pork is very tender and sauce has started to reduce, about 2 hours. Remove from heat; cover to keep warm.

  4. Remove grits from refrigerator, and cut into 16 rectangles. Working in batches, heat 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high. Add 4 grit cakes at a time, and cook until golden brown on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Repeat with remaining butter and grit cakes. (Keep grit cakes warm in a 200°F oven while cooking remaining batches.)

  5. Place 2 grit cakes onto each of 8 plates; top with grillade mixture. Sprinkle with sliced scallions; serve immediately.

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