Monday, April 22, 2013

BBQ Bourbon Bacon Shrimp and Sharp Cheddar Grits

I had never made grits before and needed to make them for an event, so I scoured the web for the best sounding recipe I could find!  The only major change I made to this recipe was the addition of a little crumbled bacon (how could I help myself?).  The barbecue sauce is so good that you could easily omit the bacon and still have a lovely dish.

The best part about this recipe is that the woman who posted it claims to have gotten 3 marriage proposals and rave reviews from Jesse Jackson, so you can see this comes highly recommended!

Yield: 4-6 servings

Sharp Cheddar Grits:
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup quick or old fashioned grits
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup heavy cream

2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
Salt and black pepper, to taste

Bourbon Bacon BBQ Sauce:
4 bacon slices
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup bourbon

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Salt and black pepper, to taste

1 1/2 deveined raw shell-on shrimp

2 tbsp butter
Salt and pepper

Optional Garnish:  Parsley or chives, for color 

Directions: Begin by making the barbecue sauce (this can be done up to a week in advance, simply store in an airtight container and stir thoroughly before using).  Cook bacon in a frying pan until crisp.  Remove and reserve, setting on paper towels to drain grease.  Once the bacon has cooled, crumble and reserve for garnish.

Add the chopper onion and garlic to the bacon grease and cook until soft.  Stir in ketchup, brown sugar, bourbon, vinegar and honey.  Simmer for 15 minutes, then add spices and season to taste.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Next, make the grits.  In the bottom of a pot, cook minced garlic in a bit of butter until soft.  Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.  Slowly stir in the grits.  Reduce heat to medium low and cook, stirring frequently, until the grits are tender, or for about 30 minutes.  There truly is a lot of stirring involved as you don't want these to get clumpy!

While the grits are cooking, grill the shrimp.  I used a grill pan for mine, but these could also be thrown onto the grill.  To grill them on a grill pan, heat the pan to high.  Melt butter in the microwave and toss the shrimp in the butter with a bit of salt and pepper.  Grill on each side for about 2 minutes or until opaque.  Remove from heat, toss shrimp in barbecue sauce, and set aside.

When the grits are creamy and to the desired consistency, remove from heat and stir in the cheese, butter and cream.  Season with salt and pepper.

To serve, spoon grits into a bowl and top with shrimp, crumbled bacon, and chopped parsley or chives.  Yum!  Enjoy! 

Tips: I was paranoid about the grits, as it was my first time making them, so I looked up a bunch of tips online before I started.  One thing everyone warned against was using "instant" grits" which are apparently different than the quick grits I used (Quaker Quick Grits).

Also, on the package of the quick grits it says 5 minute cooking time, but I read all over that isn't true, so I cooked mine as people suggested (about 30-45 mins) and they turned out great.  I don't think there is any end to the amount of butter and cream these grits could soak up, or salt and pepper, so use your own judgement as to how buttery, salty or creamy you want them!  Good luck!

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