The Best Thing to Do With Leftover Grits

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Photo: Claire Lower
Photo: Claire Lower

I have never met a bowl of grits that I didn’t immediately fall in love with. Whether buttered, cheesed, shrimped or yolked, a creamy bowl of boiled corn mush is — to me — the perfect breakfast. I usually make a big batch, then reheat the leftovers with a splash of milk or pat of butter as needed throughout the week. But sometimes I am left with an awkward amount — not enough grits for a whole bowl. But it will be an awkward amount no longer, because this amount is enough for grit cakes.

Honestly, I had forgotten about grit cakes until my stepmother kindly reminded me of their existence about a week ago. I was telling her and my father about some fancy grits I’d ordered, and how I was excited to eat nothing but grits every morning for the rest of my days, when Annette interrupted with “But have you ever fried them in bacon grease?” I had, but it had been far too long. (Regarding the “fancy” grits, I have to report that they don’t seem that much better than regular, cheap grits, but maybe my grit palate — much like my upbringing — is unrefined.)

Last night, when I was cleaning out my fridge/playing a solo version of Chopped, I found the aforementioned awkward amount of grits, and so I moulded them into two little patties (cold grits are very mouldable). Out of bacon grease, I fried them in butter, and that worked very well. I ate my grit cakes with an egg (my last egg!) and I was happy. To make your own grit cakes, you will need:

  • Leftover grits
  • Bacon grease or butter

Heat your fat of choice over medium-high heat, and mould your grits into 1/3-cup sized mounds. Once the fat is hot, gently press the mounds into the pan, then leave them alone until a crust forms. (If you try and flip your grit cake too soon, it will fall apart.)

Once the edges of the grit cake are a deep golden brown, and it moves across the pan like a cohesive puck, flip it and brown the other side. Slide onto a plate, top with cheese, green onion or a little hot sauce, and devour. Repeat every time you have an awkward amount of grits.

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