Barbecued Shrimp with Cheese Grits
© Brown W. Cannon III

Barbecued Shrimp with Cheese Grits

  • ACTIVE: 40 MIN

By happy accident, Amber Huffman combined leftovers of two low-country staples—barbecue and cheddar cheese grits—for a quick Southern fusion meal. It became a Jess Jackson favorite. Here, Huffman tops her grits with grilled shrimp slicked with a tangy, bourbon-based barbecue sauce. "I seriously have received three marriage proposals over a bowl of my cheese grits," says Huffman. "I've accepted none so far."

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  1. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  2. 1 small onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  3. 2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
  4. 1 1/4 cups ketchup
  5. 1/4 cup bourbon
  6. 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  7. 2 tablespoons molasses
  8. 2 tablespoons honey
  9. 2 teaspoons Tabasco
  10. 1 teaspoon chopped thyme
  11. 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  12. Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  13. 1 1/2 pounds peeled and deveined large shrimp
  14. 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  15. Cheese Grits, for serving
  1. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the ketchup, bourbon, cider vinegar, molasses, honey, Tabasco, thyme and cayenne. Simmer over low heat, until thickened, about 40 minutes.
  2. Transfer the barbecue sauce to a blender and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Pour 1/3 cup of the sauce into a small bowl and reserve the rest.
  3. Preheat a grill pan. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper and brush on both sides with the 1/3 cup of barbecue sauce. Grease the grill pan with the oil. Grill the shrimp over moderate heat, turning once, until cooked through, about 4 minutes. Transfer to plates and serve with cheese grits and the remaining barbecue sauce.
Make Ahead
The barbecue sauce can be refrigerated for up to a week.

Suggested Pairing

Huffman's rich cheese grits need a wine with some substance, but one that isn't so tannic and massive that it will overwhelm the sweet shrimp—in other words, Pinot Noir.