BBQ Shrimp and Grits

Saturday night was BBQ Shrimp and Grits and a fresh green salad for a side. Great little meal. This is a recipe that I found in Food and Wine Magazine. The first time that I made this was also the first time I’ve ever eaten grits. And as you can imagine I found myself wondering “why“. Delicious.

I love the quote from the creator of this recipe: “I seriously have received three marriage proposals over a bowl of my cheese grits,” says Huffman. “I’ve accepted none so far.”

Here’s what Food and Wine has to say about the recipe: By happy accident, Amber Huffman combined leftovers of two low-country staples—barbecue and cheddar cheese grits—for a quick Southern fusion meal. It became a Jesse Jackson favorite. Here, Huffman tops her grits with grilled shrimp slicked with a tangy, bourbon-based barbecue sauce.

My quote in my recipe data base simply reads “This is crazy good“. You’ve got to love those cheesy grits, but oh-my that barbeque sauce is divine. I’ve used it in other recipes. It’s a keeper. You’ll find the complete recipe below.

For breakfast Sunday morning those cheesy grits became the perfect vessel for poached eggs. With a couple of shakes of Tapatio Hot Sauce and a side of link sausage, it made a wonderful and hearty breakfast.

Here’s the recipe for BBQ Shrimp and Grits.

BBQ Sauce

2 Tbs unsalted butter
1 small onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
1 1/4 cups ketchup
1/4 cup bourbon
3 Tbs cider vinegar
2 Tbs molasses
2 Tbs honey
2 tsp Tabasco
1 tsp chopped thyme
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 lbs peeled and deveined large shrimp
1 Tbs vegetable oil
Cheese Grits, for serving

1. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the ketchup, bourbon, cider vinegar, molasses, honey, Tabasco, thyme and cayenne. Simmer over low heat, until thickened, about 40 minutes.

2. Transfer the barbecue sauce to a blender and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Pour 1/3 cup of the sauce into a small bowl and reserve the rest.

3. Preheat a grill pan. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper and brush on both sides with the 1/3 cup of barbecue sauce. Grease the grill pan with the oil. Grill the shrimp over moderate heat, turning once, until cooked through, about 4 minutes. Transfer to plates and serve with cheese grits and the remaining barbecue sauce.

Servings: 6

Cooking Times
Total Time: 1 hour and 20 minutes

Cheese Grits

  1. 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  2. 1 garlic clove, minced
  3. 1 cup old-fashioned grits
  4. 4 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (1 1/2 cups)
  5. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  6. 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  7. Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a boil. Add the garlic and slowly stir in the grits. Reduce the heat to moderately low and cook, stirring frequently, until the grits are tender, 20 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the cheese, butter and cream. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

BBQ Shrimp and Grits…It’s What’s  For Dinner

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  1. says

    I LOVE these recipes and can’t wait to try both. That barbecue sauce has such great ingredients and sounds like it’s good and spicy. (adding bourbon to my shopping list!) I tasted cheese grits for the first time last year, but couldn’t replicate the flavor in my own kitchen. I’m very excited you’ve posted a good recipe for this – thanks! Beautiful pictures, too!

    • says

      That barbeque sauce is really good.  I like the recipe.  However, I used the leftovers for grilled chicken yesterday and I thought it was a little too sticky-gooey for my taste.  But again that flavor.  I need to mention that I do not put part of the sauce in the blender.  I just serve it like it is.  Also, one of those little “shooter” bottles is 1/4 cup.

  2. buffalo dick says

    I watched a shrimp and grits “Throwdown” on the Food Channel last night! Being a Yankee, grits are not a passion with me- but cheesy grits sounds way better!

    • says

      I grew up in the south, (South Central Kansas – HA) and never had grits until this year.  Guess that makes me a Yankee?  As always thanks for stopping by BD

  3. says

    Oh man, cheesy grits…me likey. Just that first photo with all of the gorgeous juices and flavors mingling set my taste buds a watering. What a delicious combination 😀

  4. says

    killer good… on my list of recipes to make soon… will be showing up on my blog soon…

    So tell me, ever try a bread recipe??? I am kicking Arse and taking names down here… easier than you think

    • says

      Consider my arse officially kicked.  I have not tried bread again, even after all that help you offered.  I know, I know, I need to be tar and breaded and dipped in oil.  Thanks Dave.

  5. says

    I’ve never had grits before but I’m absolutely sure that they are something I would love. Just look at that cheesy goodness. How could anyone resist?

  6. says


    Both dishes rock and I LOVE grits. Try to find some thick, stone ground coarse grits, they are the best.

    Consider this page bookmarked.

      • says

        I’ll leave it to a southerner like Chris to tell me how off base I might be, but we like Bob’s Red Mill Corn Grits Polenta. I like them and they’re readily available at all the health food stores and most of the big grocery store.

        • says

          Dave, I’ve seen that brand at Whole Foods, I’ll have to double check to see if they have Corn Grits Polenta.  I know nothing about grits, well, one thing, I like em.

  7. says

    I have made shrimp and grits 8 ways to Sunday but not with bbq sauce. It sounds absolutely wonderful.
    For those of you new to grits, if you see Dixie Lily brand yellow corn grits, grab them. After you make them, you will realize you’re just eating softer polenta. Keep leftovers creamy for the next day by adding extra water, or let them firm up and then fry them… yum with that sausage and eggs!

  8. says

    Your grits look great! I love cheese grits. I am saving your BBQ sauce recipe. Grilling season is upon us – I know we’ll be grilling some BBQ chicken soon.

  9. says

    I think maybe you’ve got to be a Southerner to have had cheese grits on a regular basis. I love ’em!
    A little bourbon in the BBQ sauce would be delish. And on top or grits, it would be near perfect!

  10. says

    Being gluten sensitive, I’m always looking for more corn-based dishes to try. My dear wife has even started making a great polenta crust pizza. So even as a northerner who lacks an innate understanding of grits, these sound wonderful. Thanks for sharing!

  11. says

    The husband loves shrimp and grits and barbeque sauce so I know this will be a winner in our house. If you ever get to Chapel Hill NC, we have to try the shrimp and grits at Crooks Corner. Divine!


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