I have been promising many friends that I would get a recipe for this up soon and I'm finally fulfilling that promise. It's fitting that I share this recipe today because today is the kick-off of CMA week. I'm in Nashville doing radio and getting ready for both the BMI Awards and CMA Awards. Nashville, as you guys know from my CMA Fest post earlier this year, is one of my favorite places to visit...and eat! This is a tribute to our favorite appetizer at a Nashville hot spot Sperry's Restaurant, the BBQ Shrimp & Grits. I can't hardly eat shrimp and grits anywhere else because I am so spoiled with how delicious theirs' is. If you don't live near one of their Nashville locations, you should print this recipe off right now and head to the store to get started on it for dinner tonight. It is a meal you can whip up in under 30 minutes and is beyond delicious.
16 large shrimp, raw with tail on (mine are about 4" long)
4 slices of a good thick cut bacon. (make sure it is a good, salty, flavorful bacon - maybe even peppered)
1 1/3 cup southern style white corn grits (uncooked)
4 cups water
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup milk or half & half
2 cups grated cheddar cheese (mild or sharp - your preference), plus a little extra for garnish
3 Tbsp BBQ sauce (plus extra for drizzling)
2 tsp salt
1/2 Tbsp pepper
2 Tbsp dried chives or 3 Tbsp fresh chives
extra salt and pepper
Preheat your grill to about 350 degrees (I used a panini press grill). Rinse, peel and devein the shrimp leaving the tail in tact. If you have never peeled and deveined shrimp before, use this tutorial from Epicurious to guide you through the easy process. Rinse the shrimp and pat dry. In a bowl, toss the shrimp with 3 Tbsp of BBQ sauce and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Let marinate while you continue making the bacon and grits. In a skillet cook your bacon over medium heat until crispy but not burnt. Remove from skillet and let cool. In medium to large sauce pan boil 4 cups water. Reduce heat to low simmer and slowly whisk in the grits. Continuously stir until the grits have become quite thick (just about 5 minutes). Add in the butter, milk, chives, 2 tsp of salt, 1/2 Tbsp pepper and the grated cheese. Stir until both the cheese and butter have melted. Remove from heat. Lay your shrimp on the grill and cook for 2 minutes on each side or until they are done all the way through (shrimp doesn't take long at all) While the shrimp are cooking, begin assembling your plates. A scoop of grits topped with a little grated cheese and bacon. Drizzle a little BBQ sauce (I way over did it in my dish so don't use my picture as a guide for drizzling!) Pull the shrimp from the grill and brush with a little more BBQ sauce and lay in the dish of grits. Serve immediately!
See my pictures below to check out my process - I forgot to show the bacon cooking but you get the point.
My personal favorite BBQ sauce ::wink wink::
The big finale! Again, just a drizzle of BBQ sauce is all you need.....I had a heavy hand today and ended up over-doing it - oops! (oh well!)