Enjoy a taste of the south with this grilled twist on the classic pairing of shrimp and grits
In the American South, shrimp and grits go together as perfectly as peas and carrots or cookies and milk. Whether it’s for brunch, lunch, or dinner, this delicious combination of rich and creamy stone ground grits and perfectly grilled shrimp is sure to please any crowd.
The shrimp for this dish are first brined in a simple mixture of salt and baking soda. Outlined in an article on SeriousEats.com, this technique helps to keep shrimp moist (from the salt brine) and firm (from the alkaline baking soda) as they cook. For the grits, a little grated smoked cheddar not only adds richness but also highlights the smokiness of the grilled seafood.
To finish the dish, the grilled shrimp are tossed with butter, bacon, parsley, and lemon juice then served over creamy, stone ground grits for a satisfying taste of the South!
Fire up. Set up a charcoal grill for 2-zone cooking, placing a chimney full of pre-heated charcoal briquets on one side of the grill’s charcoal grate in order to create direct and indirect cooking zones. Adjust the smoker or grill vents to bring the temperature to about 325°F. On a gas grill, adjust the temperature knobs so that one half of the grill is off and the other half is heated enough to maintain a temperature of approximately 325°F on the indirect side.
Prep. Peel and devein the shrimp. Place them in a large bowl and toss with the kosher salt and baking soda. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes and up to one hour. While the shrimp are soaking, cook the bacon, let it cool, crumble it with your fingers, and set aside. After the shrimp are done brining, thread the bodies of five shrimp onto a bamboo skewer. Thread a second bamboo skewer through the shrimp parallel to the first one. This will help keep the shrimp from rotating on the skewers as they are grilled. Repeat with the remaining shrimp.
Cook. Meanwhile, to make the grits, bring the chicken broth to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce the heat to low and add the grits to the broth. Allow the grits to simmer until they are tender and thickened, approximately 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the butter, heavy cream, cheese, salt, and pepper to taste. Remove the saucepan from the heat and cover to keep the grits warm while you prepare the shrimp.
Add 1 or 2 chunks of your favorite smoking wood to the charcoal for flavor. Once the wood begins to smoke, grill the shrimp until opaque, approximately 2 to 3 minutes per side. Once cooked, remove the shrimp from the skewers and place in a large mixing bowl along with the butter, bacon, parsley, and lemon juice. Stir to fully combine the ingredients.
Serve. Divide the grits among four serving bowls. Top with the shrimp mixture and serve immediately.
Clint Cantwell - Clint Cantwell is AmazingRibs.com's Senior Vice President of Whatever, charged with creating recipes, writing articles, shooting photos, and a little bit of everything else. He was named one of the "10 Faces of Memphis Barbecue" by Memphis Magazine and was the winner of Travel Channel's "American Grilled: Memphis".
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