Shrimp and Grits

Recipes for this dish vary across the South, but this is exactly how chef Sean Brock prepares the traditional version at home.

Shrimp and Grits
Photo: Blaine Moats
Total Time:
25 mins
3 cups


  • ½ cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning

  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning

  • 1 teaspoon canola oil

  • 2 ounce country ham, cut into 1/4-inch dice

  • 1 pound fresh or frozen (thawed) jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined (21-25 count)

  • 4 ounce small button mushrooms, quartered

  • ¼ cup thinly sliced green onions

  • ½ cup vegetable stock or broth

  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter, diced

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

  • 1 recipe Sean's Stovetop Grits (see recipe), warm

Sean's Stovetop Grits

  • 1 1 liter bottle (4 1/4 cups) spring water*

  • 1 cup coarse grits, such as Anson Mills

  • 1 fresh or dried bay leaf

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

  • 1 ½ teaspoon hot sauce, such as Red Clay Original Hot Sauce


  1. Combine flour, 1 Tbsp. kosher salt, and 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper in a shallow bowl; mix well.

  2. Heat canola oil in a large skillet over medium. Add ham and cook, stirring frequently, until fat has rendered and the ham is crisp, about 3 minutes.

  3. Lightly dredge shrimp in seasoned flour, shaking off any excess, and carefully add them to hot skillet. Cook until lightly browned on first side, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn shrimp, add mushrooms and green onions. Cook until other side of shrimp is lightly browned and vegetables begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Add stock; bring to a simmer. Cook until reduced by half and shrimp are just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Stir in butter and lemon juice; season with salt and black pepper.

  4. Give the grits a good stir, then divide among warmed bowls. Spoon shrimp and mushrooms with their broth over top. Serves 4.

Sean's Stovetop Grits

  1. Combine the water and grits in a bowl, cover, and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

  2. Use a fine-mesh sieve to gently skim any hulls or chaff from surface of water, being careful not to disturb water too much so none of the bits sink back into the grits. Transfer grits and their soaking water to a large saucepan. Bring to boiling over high, stirring constantly with a silicone spatula. Continue boiling, stirring, until grits thicken, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover; let stand 10 minutes. This allows the starch to hydrate slowly, making for creamier grits.

  3. Uncover grits; add bay leaf and cook over low, stirring often, until very soft and tender, about 1 hour. Taste every 15 minutes or so to check texture.

  4. Remove from heat. Remove and discard bay leaf; stir in 1 Tbsp. kosher salt, the white pepper, butter, lemon juice, and hot sauce. Serves 4.

Brock's recipe timing is based on coarse grits, and he admits cooking them on the stovetop is a labor of love. He prefers a pressure cooker for consistent results. If you use a finer grind, follow package directions.

Pressure Cooker (or Instant Pot) Method:

Soak grits as directed in Step 1. Place grits, water, bay leaf, salt, and white pepper in a 6-quart electric pressure cooker. Lock lid in place. Set electric cooker on high pressure to cook 15 minutes. Quick-release the pressure. Carefully open lid. Stir in butter, lemon juice, and hot sauce. Discard bay leaf.

Brock uses spring water in his grits because it has a neutral flavor.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

382 Calories
14g Fat
36g Carbs
27g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Calories 382
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 14g 18%
Saturated Fat 8g 40%
Cholesterol 195mg 65%
Sodium 1646mg 72%
Total Carbohydrate 36g 13%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 27g
Vitamin C 6.2mg 31%
Calcium 79mg 6%
Iron 2.7mg 15%
Potassium 463mg 10%
Folate, total 25.2mcg
Vitamin B-12 0.1mcg
Vitamin B-6 0.1mg

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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