Smoky Shrimp and Cheesy Grits


When Savannah cook Martha Nesbit prepared this dish on FoodNation with Bobby Flay, Flay loved it. The steaming hot grits are mixed with plenty of cheddar cheese, then topped with shrimp cooked with garlic and smoky bacon. "This is, hands down, the best dish anybody ever made for me during my travels in the U.S.," Flay said. His version of her recipe is loaded with cheddar cheese, bacon, and garlic, resulting in a flavorful dish that's ready in 25 minutes.

Smoky Shrimp and Cheesy Grits
Photo: Photo by Antonis Achilleos / Food Styling by Ruth Blackburn / Prop Styling by Christina Daley
Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
25 mins


  • 3 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth

  • 3/4 cup quick grits

  • 1/4 pound white cheddar cheese, shredded (1 cup)

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 3/4 pound slab bacon, cut into 1/4-inch matchsticks

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 pound shelled and deveined large shrimp

  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley


  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the stock to a boil. Whisk in the grits and cook over moderately high heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and the grains are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the cheese and butter, season with salt and pepper and whisk just until the cheese is melted. Cover and remove from the heat.

  2. In a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the bacon and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the fat is rendered and the bacon is golden, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

  3. Pour off all but 4 tablespoons of the fat in the skillet. Add the garlic and cook over moderately high heat just until fragrant. Add the shrimp and cook until curled and pink, about 3 minutes. Stir in the parsley and bacon; season with salt and pepper.

  4. Spoon the warm, cheesy grits into shallow bowls and top with the shrimp and bacon. Serve right away.

Suggested Pairing

A rich Chardonnay with a smoky note, such as one from Napa Valley.

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