Lowcountry Shrimp and Grits

Lowcountry Shrimp and Grits
Photo: Iain Bagwell

Melted Parmesan and cheddar, the Lowcountry bounty of briny shrimp, silky and creamy grits—shrimp and grits are coastal comfort food at its best. This simple entrée has Lowcountry origins, with the earliest makers stirring fresh catch into the day's first bubbling pot of grits. (Yes, this was originally a breakfast dish.) After a 1985 Craig Claiborne piece in the New York Times put the Southern dish in the national spotlight, variations complex and varied have graced menus across the country. In this take from Robert Stehling of Charleston's Hominy Grill, it all begins with the grits. Take your pick of white or corn varieties—but always choose stoneground over instant if you want the unmatched creamy texture of top-notch grits. Tossing shrimp in flour punches up its crispiness, and the reserve of bacon fat in the pan adds another layer of juicy flavor to this shrimp and grits dish. Finish with a shake or two of Tabasco to your liking and garnish diced scallions over your platter of the Lowcountry's best.



  • 4 ½ cups water

  • 1 cup stoneground grits

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • ¾ cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

  • 3 tablespoons butter

  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

  • ½ teaspoon Tabasco, or to taste


  • 3 bacon strips, chopped

  • Peanut oil, as needed

  • 1 pound extra-large shrimp, peeled and deveined

  • 2 tablespoons flour

  • 4 ounces sliced mushroom (1¼ cups)

  • 1 large garlic clove, minced

  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice

  • ½ teaspoon Tabasco, or to taste

  • ¼ cup thinly sliced green onions, plus more for garnish


  1. Grits: Bring 4½ cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat. Whisk in the grits and salt, reduce heat to low, and cook at a gently simmer for 35 to 40 minutes or until the grits are thick, stirring occasionally. Stir more often as the grits thicken. Remove the pan from the heat, add the cheddar, parmesan, butter, pepper, and Tabasco, and stir until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Keep warm over very low heat.

  2. Shrimp: In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, cook the bacon for 6 minutes or until crisp, stirring occasionally. Transfer with a slotted spoon to drain on paper towels and leave the fat in the skillet. If there is less than 1½ tablespoons of bacon fat, make up the difference with peanut oil.

  3. Toss the shrimp with the flour until lightly coated, shaking off any excess. In the skillet with the reserved fat, cook the shrimp over medium-high heat for 1 minute or until they begin to turn pink. Add the mushrooms and bacon and cook for 1 minute. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds (do not let the garlic brown). Stir in the hot sauce, lemon juice, and scallions and remove from the heat. Divide the grits among 4 shallow bowls and top with the shrimp mixture. Garnish with additional scallions and serve at once.

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