Featured Image: Simply Recipes
A fresh seafood staple and this soulful Southern side have historically come together to create the perfect dish that we call shrimp and grits. We all know of it as one of the South’s most delicious staple meals – but how did shrimp and grits gain its popularity in the Lowcountry?
The answer is easy. The history of shrimp and grits started right here in the Lowcountry. The fancier, more sophisticated versions of the meal that we see today were not the beginning of shrimp and grits. The meal started as an easy dish for laborers on the coast to make. Fishermen would bring the ground corn to make grits and combine them in a single pot with what they caught that day, which was often shrimp, and boil it all with some salty seawater.
With two ingredients so available to those here in Charleston, the dish easily became a cultural icon. What was originally called “breakfast shrimp” or “shrimp and hominy” in some old cookbooks, became more widely known as shrimp and grits and was adopted into esteemed, local restaurants.
Today this dish has taken many variations from the original two ingredients. World class chefs in the Holy City have made this dish their own and brought a lot of attention from national and international news outlets. The Wall Street Journal even recognized these local restaurants as must-go-tos for shrimp and grits: Husk, Early Bird Diner, Red Drum, Nana’s Seafood & Soul and The Swamp Fox.
As The Charleston Insider says “all shrimp and grits are not created equal.” Some grits are cooked in milk, some in the traditional salt water. Some dishes have bacon, some have ham. Some have cheese, some have papers. Regardless of what type of shrimp and grits you’re eating, if you’re in Charleston, it’s safe to say that it will be one of your favorite meals of all time.