Being a Southern native, we take our shrimp ‘n grits very seriously.  It’s amazing that there are so many ways to make this dish. Growing up, it could be eaten for breakfast or dinner.  I, personally, love a good shrimp ‘n grits meal for breakfast, topped with a nice egg. What I love most is when I visit various cities and states to see how various chefs, friends, and family members put their unique spin on such a classic dish.  

I recently had the chance to partner with Tillamook for the Melty Fest Tour, which had delicious promotions and events in cities across the East Coast.  And Tillamook has teamed up with chefs and restaurants for the Melty Fest Tour. If you’re not familiar with Tillamook, it is a 110-year-old, farmer-owned cooperative, based in Tillamook, Oregon, and made up of approximately 80 farming families. 

You may have seen Tillamook Cheese while flying on a Delta flight or at your local market.  The brand has earned top awards for their cheese and ice cream products. Needless to say, I am a huge fan of both.  And in case you forgot, when making shrimp ‘n grits, cheese is the key, so it’s recommended that you use sharp cheddar. I love the restaurant Sweet Auburn Barbecue.  So much so that I used their recipe for the grits, in which the Tillamook Cheese melted perfectly.  I was thoroughly impressed because I am all about a creamy, cheesy, flavorful bowl of grits.  

I have made this recipe three times within the last two weeks, and each time, I have used Tillamook’s Sharp Cheddar Cheese and Sharp White Cheddar Cheese.  Both were equally delicious in the recipe. Tillamook cheese and ice cream is now available in Atlanta.  Click here to purchase these items at a store near you: https://bit.ly/1K6MZdn

Shrimp and Barbecue Cheddar Grits

Ingredients

Shrimp and Sauce:

4 slices bacon, chopped

1 1/2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 1/2 cups chopped onion

1 package of Tillamook Cheddar Jack Blend Shredded Cheese

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth

1 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 cup shaved parmesan

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon hot sauce

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup chopped green onions

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1.  In a medium saucepan, add chicken broth.  Bring to a boil. Add salt, white pepper, and butter.

2.  Gradually whisk in grits.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally for five minutes, or until thickened.  Add cheese and butter, stirring until melted.

3.  In a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until slightly crisp.  Transfer to a paper towel-lined platter using a slotted spoon to drain.

4.  Return the skillet to the heat and add the shrimp to the pan.  Cook for one to two minutes on each side. Transfer the shrimp to a platter and keep warm.

5.  Add the onions to the skillet and cook until softened.  Stir in the garlic and cook for one minute.

6.  Whisk in the chicken stock and cook until the sauce begins to thicken.  Whisk in the cream, butter, cayenne pepper, hot sauce, salt, and pepper.

7.  Continue cooking until the sauce starts to thicken more.  Return the shrimp to the pan and cook for three to four minutes making sure not to overcook the shrimp.

8.  Stir in the bacon, green onions, and parsley.

9.  Spoon approximately 1 cup grits onto a plate and top with seven to eight shrimp.  Pour approximately 1 cup of gravy over the shrimp. Serve immediately.

Chef Recipe: Sweet Auburn Barbecue Cheddar Grits

Makes 6 servings

4 cups of milk

4 tablespoons of butter

1 cup of grits

2 cups Tillamook Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

1.  Bring milk and butter to boil in a saucepan.

2.  Turn heat to low to simmer and whisk in grits.

3.  Cook over low heat for 25 minutes, stirring often.

4.  Once grits are done, remove from heat, fold in cheddar cheese, and season with salt and pepper.

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