Whether you’re from the South, live in the South, or have never even been to the South, you’ve surely heard about one of the most-beloved dishes south of the Mason Dixon: shrimp and grits. Y’all, let’s be honest – this is a duo you want to make a regular in your kitchen.
There’s something truly irresistible (and irreplaceable) about the cozy combination of creamy grits and juicy shrimp. Whether you stick to traditional versions or turn up the heat with flavor and spice, this is one dish sure to provide the same comfort you find in a rocking chair on momma’s front porch.
To celebrate this timeless pairing, Jekyll Island, Ga. is hosting its 8th annual Shrimp & Grits: The Wild Georgia Shrimp Festival from Sept. 20 to 22. This spirited three-day event is the only festival dedicated to the prized local product, Wild Georgia Shrimp, and its Southern counterpart, grits.
The theme is simple: taste, sip, enjoy, repeat! Whether you’re a chef, foodie or shrimp and grits lover, this laid-back event, held under the cover of live oaks in the Jekyll Island Historic Landmark District, is worth your while. From never-ending options of shrimp and grits dishes and chef demonstrations, to live music, arts and crafts vendors, and a Craft Brew Tasting, the annual festival is a true playground for good (and tasty) times. General admission is free but tickets to specific events can be purchased online.
If you can’t make the trip to Jekyll Island for this knock-out festival, test out this crowd-pleasing recipe courtesy of Vanessa McNeil Rocchio – food stylist, editor and test kitchen professional at Southern Living – who will also be attending this year’s festival as a special guest.
To make the recipe even tastier, enter below for a chance to win the ultimate shrimp and grits package courtesy of Jekyll Island. One lucky winner will receive 5 lbs. of Wild Georgia Shrimp (shipped directly to their doorstep on dry ice), 2 lbs. of Old-Fashioned Speckled Yellow Grits from north Georgia’s Logan Turnpike Mills, and a beautiful Jekyll Island coffee table book.
- 2 ears fresh corn
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup uncooked, quick-cooking grits
- 1 cup (4 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 teaspoons minced, canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
- ½ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove, pressed
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 pound peeled, jumbo raw shrimp with tails (1 6/20 count), deveined
- 16 (6-inch) metal skewers
- 1 pint grape tomatoes
- ½ package (8-oz.) fresh mushrooms, quartered
- 1 small green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
- ⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Preheat grill to 350° to 400° (medium-high). Grill corn, covered with grill lid, 10 minutes or until done, turning once. Cut kernels from cobs. Discard cobs.
- Bring salt and 4 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Gradually whisk in grits. Cook grits, stirring occasionally, 8 minutes or until thickened. Stir in corn kernels, cheese, and chipotle pepper. Cover and keep warm.
- Stir together olive oil and next 3 ingredients (lemon juice, garlic, ground pepper) in a large bowl. Toss shrimp with olive oil marinade mixture; let stand at room temperature 3 minutes.
- Remove shrimp from marinade, discarding marinade. Thread shrimp onto skewers alternately with tomatoes, mushrooms, and bell pepper pieces.
- Grill kabobs, covered with grill lid, 4 to 5 minutes on each side or just until shrimp turn pink. Serve kabobs with grits, and sprinkle with cilantro just before serving.