South Carolina Shrimp and Grits

South Carolina Shrimp and Grits

A southern tradition, shrimp and grits is perfect any time of year. This is my version and a little non-traditional but delicious all the same. Definetly low-country based, my version uses Poblano and Serrano peppers instead of bell pepper (more traditional). Bacon (a food group and complete sentence on its own). More traditional recipes call for Madeira and I used Sherry (only because that’s what I have). The grits normally would be from Anson Mills, but I didn’t have any so I used yellow grits from Lakeside Mills in NC and they were great. Cheddar cheese is the standard for adding richness and depth to the grits but I used Asiago for some salt and tartness. The local SC shrimp were outstanding.

There is nothing quite like shrimp and grits. In the winter it is warm and comforting. In the summer it is surprisingly light and refreshing. If you’ve never had low-country shrimp and grits, I encourage you to try this recipe. It is easy and you won’t regret it.



  • 1 lbs unpeeled raw shrimp (local if you can get them)
  • 4 thick slices applewood smoked bacon (I prefer Niman Ranch)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium sized Vidalia onion, diced
  • 1 Poblano pepper, diced
  • 1 Serrano pepper, minced (I left the seeds and stems in)
  • 2 large garlic cloved, minced
  • 2 dashes Tabasco
  • 1-2 tablespoons AP flour
  • 2 cups Chicken Stock
  • ¼ cup Sherry
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Grits (Not instant, just don’t do it. Recommend Anson Mills)
  • Milk
  • Water
  • ¾ cup grated Asiago cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Chopped parsley
  • Chopped green onion

  1. Follow instruction for the grits. They usually call for just water. If they call for 4 cups of water I generally replace 1 cup with chicken stock and 1 cup with milk. I would generally add salt but if your stock is not low sodium, I wouldn’t add here. When the grits are done add a tablespoon of butter and the cheese, cover and keep warm.
  2. Rinse, peel and devein the shrimp leaving the tails on. Dry and set aside.
  3. In the meantime, in a large skillet, render the bacon on medium heat until crispy (don’t rush it). Remove from the pan and place on paper towel to drain. Once cooled and drained, cut in small strips. Depending on the fat content of your bacon, you may want to remove some of the fat from the pan (or not).
  4. Add a tablespoon of butter to the bacon fat. Add onion, Poblano and Serrano and sauté. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Deglaze the pan with Sherry. Add chicken stock, lemon juice, and Tabasco. Cook a minute and whisk in flour. Bring to a bubble then reduce to medium. Adjust sauce to get the consistency you prefer (add more stock for thinner sauce, more flour for a thicker consistency). Add the bacon back to the pan. Season with salt and pepper to taste (you shouldn’t need much if any).
  5. Add shrimp and toss until the shrimp are just barely cooked through. Do not overcook.
  6. To serve, place grits in the middle of a plate. Add shrimp and spoon sauce over the lot.
South Carolina Shrimp and Grits

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