by Dave Lobeck
CNHI News Service
LELAND, Mich. — There are many foods that naturally go together. Steak and a baked potato, cereal and milk, pretzels and beer, and in the South: shrimp and grits.
Today's column is devoted to my version of shrimp and grits. If you get a chance to eat at Jack Fry's in Louisville, their take on shrimp and grits is a classic. The shrimp are pan-seared and the cheesy grits are served with a delicious red-eye gravy. In fact, you can Google it and find the full recipe online.
My version is outdoorsy by utilizing hot coals, and a bit spicy with the addition of Cajun seasoning and a tomato-based barbecue sauce.
First, buy nice shrimp. I like to use 10-15 count, meaning there are roughly 10 to 15 shrimp per pound. These are the perfect size for skewering. In my area, they are typically frozen. If you can get them fresh, more power to you. We used 2 pounds for this dinner, and we had leftovers. Let the shrimp thaw (unless fresh) and then take the shell off and remove the mud vein. Skewer the shrimp with wooden skewers that have been soaked. Pierce through the meaty part and then through the tail so they resemble a “C” shape. The shrimp can touch but should not be crammed together.
Warm the milk over medium heat to the point where you start to see some bubbling at the sides. You have to stir the milk the entire time to keep it from burning on the bottom. Slowly stir in the grits. Stir until you have the creamy consistency of cooked grits. Add salt and pepper to taste. Now, stir in the cheese. Continue stirring until it is melted into the grits, and that's all there is to it.
Create a sauce by placing 1 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce (we used “Sweet Baby Rae” for this dish) in a small pot. Bring to a simmer while stirring. Now, add 1/2 cup of your favorite beer. Stir until fully mixed. The beer helps cut the sweetness of the BBQ sauce.
Sprinkle your favorite Cajun seasoning on both sides of the skewered shrimp. Now apply the sauce liberally to both sides of the shrimp. Place shrimp over hot coals. This can be done on a gas grill too. The shrimp won't take long, maybe three minutes on one side and two minutes on the other side. Don't overcook the shrimp as they will turn to rubber. They will be done when they have a pink color to them.
To serve, place a helping of grits on the plate. Now put three to four grilled shrimp on the grits. Drizzle with the BBQ / beer sauce. Quick, easy, Southern and delicious. Enjoy!
Dave Lobeck is a barbecue chef from Sellersburg, Ind., who writes a column for CNHI News Service. Visit his website at www.BBQ-My-Way.com, and view videos of this and other recipes at youtube.com/BBQMyWay.