I am not a southerner and I didn’t grow up on grits. It wasn’t until I met my wife 15 years ago that I first tried them. But those weren’t really grits. They came from a packet, were mixed with microwaved water and finished with a knob of butter. I was unimpressed.
When I first visited Charleston a few years later I gave them another chance, and I was a changed man. In the years that followed, I sought out the best way to make grits. There will be people who’ll say there’s a better, or different way, but this is how I do it.
Start with good quality stone ground grits, not instant or quick cooking. I change it up between both white and yellow. I use either Anson Mills, Geechie Boy Mill or the lesser known War Eagle Mill. I like to cook them in whole milk at a ratio of 4:1, soaking them in 1 part of the milk overnight. So, take 1/2 cup of grits and mix them with 1/2 cup of cold, whole milk and let them soak in the fridge overnight. The next day, add the remaining 1 1/2 cups milk.
Since they take some time, I like to cook them in a double boiler on the stove. Put a pot of water on to simmer and put a metal bowl on top. Add the grits, milk and a teaspoon of salt. Cook, stirring every few minutes, for around 45 minutes.
When they’re done, I like to add a handful (1/4-1/2 cup) shredded sharp white cheddar or smoked gouda cheese. That’s how I do grits.


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Chris Spear