bowl of creamy grits

Hey ya’ll! Its the southern side of Dirty Gourmet again. I spent a good solid week in South and North Carolina recently, which was my first trip back in almost three years. That’s where my whole famn damily is from, and they sure embrace their southern roots. We eat a lot of grits, which is a ground hominy (corn) breakfast item traditional of the south. I learned from my mother and my Uncle Steve since birth about bein’ a grits connoisseur. It includes requiring them for breakfast from the porch of a mountain house on your birthday, and driving around to remote locations in the sticks, begging restaurant managers to sell you bags of their prized menu item- even if they aren’t for sale.

My mother has recently moved to Las Vegas, where they never heard of grits. She brought a few bags with her on her move out, and has gotten shipments from her mother and her best friend pretty regularly ever since. Last time I was in Vegas, I discovered eight bags of grits in her pantry, one of which said “To Emily, Love Uncle Steve” on it! “She’s become a hoarder,” I thought. But then I came home with my Uncle Steve grits to find that I already had 5 bags myself.

Grits collection

Anyway, I had a good time in the Carolinas. My boyfriend’s parents came down from Jersey, and got introduced to their first helpings of shrimp n’ grits in Charleston. Then in Raleigh, I picked me up a bag of $7 grits from the fancy Fresh Market, and that’s a lot of money to pay for such a thing. They were worth it. I don’t believe they can take the place of my still favorite grits from Kinston, NC at King’s BBQ, though. But you gotta be good to get ‘em.

We’ll do a basic grits recipe here first, because it matters. Especially if you’ve never had them, you definitely won’t learn to like them if they’re lumpy and gritty. You want ‘em creamy. And I like to attempt extreme creaminess without the use of actual cream. That way, they are still healthy and can be taken on any camping trip (although I can’t avoid a pat of butter on top no matter what). This process may seem easy, but it probably differs from the package or anyone else’s. The cold water start is important.

bowl of creamy grits

Basic Grits


4 servings

Prep Time / Cook Time


Activity Guide

Backpacking, Bike Touring, Car Camping


  • 1 cup grits
  • 4 cups cold water
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • white cheddar cheese, bacon, and/or country ham (optional)


  • Mixing spoon
  • Medium pot with lid


  1. Stir grits into the water and place the pot on medium-high heat on your stove.
  2. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thick, about 15-20 minutes. Keep at a low boil to avoid lumps.
  3. Once thick, stir in 1/4 cup water, cover, and set stove to low heat.
  4. You can add one more 1/4 cup water as grits thicken if you’re still cooking the rest of your meal. The longer grits cook, the creamier they will be. Just don’t forget to stir occasionally the whole time.
  5. Spoon yerself a bowlful, add a pat of butter, salt, pepper, and any of the optional ingredients you like.
  6. I like to let all the extras sit on top of the grits rather than stirring them in so that I can taste them better. You are likely to add too much salt and butter if you stir it in or cook with it.

8 thoughts on “GRITS

  1. where can i buy a good bag of grits around LA area?? all of a sudden i really want to have some right now 😀

    1. That is a great question, Stacy. So far, I haven’t found any (although I do most of my shopping in the big city of Redlands). Try specialty food stores or the more upscale places like Whole Foods. Maybe they can order you some. If you find a source, let us know! Thanks!

    1. Ok, I’ve done some research. As far as I can tell, you just can’t get true grits in L.A. But you can get them online. I’ve posted the grits that I’d trust from Amazon in our Stuff We Like collection. Otherwise, your best bet is to search the term “Stone Ground Grits” online, or accept polenta as a grits substitute from the market.

  2. I’m not sure if these are “true” GRITS but I found some today at “Rainbow Acres.” It’s a little independent grocery store on the Westside of LA (Washington BLVD). They have white and yellow corn GRITS in their bulk food section! I got some yellow corn ones and I’m gonna test them out on my backpacking trip!

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