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KJ1I
12-27-2013, 09:36 PM
I just received a bag of “hominy” grits that turned out be just plain coarse ground white corn. I know that -legally- ground corn grits can be labeled hominy grits, but to grit fans they're not the same.

Can any of our Southern brethren let me know if anyone still makes true southern hominy (processed with alkali) grits. And I mean regular, slow cooking, 20 to 30 minute grits. We used to buy Jim Dandy, but since they were bought out by Martha White (IIRC), the taste has gone to …..

We’ve tried several "small producer" varieties, but they all turn out to be just corn grits and lack the true, historic, Southern flavor that we miss so much.

jlevie
12-27-2013, 10:52 PM
I get stone ground corn grits from a nearby watermill. They grind the whole kernel, but the bran/skin is lighter and easily washed off. The flavor, because it is freshly ground and has not been treated in any way, is equal to what I remember from true hominy grits from long ago. Surely there is some local mill not far away that grinds grits.

dp
12-27-2013, 11:15 PM
See if you can find coarse ground masa harina. The yellow corn stuff you see is probably polenta which is pretty damn good stuff, but not true grits. The nixtamalization process is probably sufficiently expensive to have driven it from industrial grits production. The newer process doesn't require so much energy for cooking/drying the grain and is probably headed if not already arrived at obsolescence.

Carm
12-28-2013, 08:34 AM
Masa harina has the right flavor but grits it ain't.
If you have an ethnic store near you, try posole. Goya sells both canned and dried, but I haven't tried either so can't recommend.
I'm a woodburner surrounded by dent corn farmers....sometimes damn Yankees gotta roll their own.

TGTool
12-28-2013, 09:38 AM
No help for grits I'm afraid but the best hominy I've ever eaten was at a supper put on by Osage church parishioners. I've had lots of hominy, probably always the canned stuff, but this was obviously made from whole corn and the flavor was clearly up to a whole new level.

Forrest Addy
12-28-2013, 12:34 PM
I did a little Google research and concluded hominy, pasole, masa etc are all corn based but there's a question of reagional selection, milling, and treatment the corn prior to cooking that makes a difference in flavor and nutritional value.

Corn requires alkali treatment to realize its full nutritive potential. There are amino acids conversion etc that I don;t understand but, trust me, as much as I like cornbread I love it made with masa and the differences is in a little lime (slaked calcium oxide). Hominy is corn treated with lye (sodium hydroxide) and there are other named variations too numerous for me to go into at my state of ignorance.

Anyway, my point was to suggest a little research before discussion ranges too far in the virtues of one over the other. Otherwise, it's easy to get into apple Vs oranges arguements.

Regardless, let us savor them all and celebrate their differences and similarities as simple healthy food. Grits are grits and, given the same starting ingredients, the difference from one dish to the next is preparation; as is hominy, pasole etc. But the starting ingredients? That is the question opened by on-going discussion and that is where definition of terms comes in. Without these definitions we are doomed to endless quibbling.

Alistair Hosie
12-28-2013, 12:48 PM
We don't have grits in the uk could someone please explain what they are to me? How they taste? and how you cook them.? I always heard on tv people complain when they are forced to eat grits what the heck are they? Alistair

lynnl
12-28-2013, 01:20 PM
We don't have grits in the uk could someone please explain what they are to me?

First let's start with hominy. Hominy is made from dried corn by soaking it in a lye or alkali solution in hot water, which after a while will remove or dissolve away the outer skin from the corn kernels, leaving the swollen kernels of corn. Then to make grits the hominy is dried and then ground coarsely into little particles about the size of very coarse sand.
(My grandmother made hominy by soaking in hot water with wood ashes from the fireplace. Even after several rinses it retained a grayish hue, but it was good.)

Grits are then cooked in water until about the consistency of oatmeal and typically served as a breakfast side dish, like hash brown potatoes.

I'm not a grits expert, nor have I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express, but I did work a couple of years at a hybrid corn seed company in Iowa, and learned a bit about corn. There are literally thousands of varieties of corn nowadays, both in production and development. Each developed for specific growing conditions (soil, climate, growing hours, etc.) and uses (e.g. feed, alcohol, cornflakes, etc., etc.). For example, Kelloggs corn flakes only uses a specific variety grown in one area in Illinois. (this was as of 1989, so things may have changed)

As I said, new varieties are being continually developed, so it's not to be unexpected that what we consumers get will change over time.

gvasale
12-28-2013, 02:26 PM
Said another way, grits is "redneck" food. No offence to any of my redneck friends. So, I'm a-fixin-to get ready to get off this thread.

KJ1I
12-28-2013, 02:42 PM
We don't have grits in the uk could someone please explain what they are to me? How they taste? and how you cook them.? I always heard on tv people complain when they are forced to eat grits what the heck are they? Alistair

Because it's a lazy Saturday afternoon, I'm going to do this a several posts rather than combining them into one.

lynnl is basically right. The easiest way to think of grits is -- grits are made from white corn, polenta is made from yellow corn, though grits are usually, but not always, slightly coarser. Otherwise, not much difference (except for the question of "real" hominy grits).

KJ1I
12-28-2013, 02:45 PM
I get stone ground corn grits from a nearby watermill. They grind the whole kernel, but the bran/skin is lighter and easily washed off. The flavor, because it is freshly ground and has not been treated in any way, is equal to what I remember from true hominy grits from long ago. Surely there is some local mill not far away that grinds grits.

We've purchased both local and internet stone ground grits. While good, they're just not hominy grits.

KJ1I
12-28-2013, 02:48 PM
See if you can find coarse ground masa harina. The yellow corn stuff you see is probably polenta which is pretty damn good stuff, but not true grits. The nixtamalization process is probably sufficiently expensive to have driven it from industrial grits production. The newer process doesn't require so much energy for cooking/drying the grain and is probably headed if not already arrived at obsolescence.


I think you've hit it on the head. That and the "whole food" "natural food" movements have pushed the "processed" foods into the background.

Bob Fisher
12-28-2013, 02:49 PM
Grits are an awful thing concocted in the south in an effort to keep us snowbirds away from their warm climate. They don't actually eat the stuff. I should think it's on a par with Haggis. Bob.

dp
12-28-2013, 02:49 PM
Masa harina has the right flavor but grits it ain't.

Technically, there is no solid definition of what grits means as it has regional variation. But a well known recipe for making grits (as defined in some regions) begins with masa. Masa harina also begins with masa, and masa is well defined as being dent corn that has gone through the nixtamalization process (alkali treatment). Grits is coarse ground masa (nixtamal) that has first had the hulls removed. Grind grits and you get no-hull masa harina. Masa and masa harina are well known outside the south and one is more likely to find coarse ground masa by asking for coarse ground masa than by asking for grits.

Edit: You can also prepare your own nixtamal and grind grits: http://www.greensense.com/Features/Green_cuisine/nixtamal.htm

KJ1I
12-28-2013, 02:51 PM
Grits are then cooked in water until about the consistency of oatmeal and typically served as a breakfast side dish, like hash brown potatoes.

A hefty side of grits, with a dollop of butter, next to a medium-rare Porterhouse steak ......................

KJ1I
12-28-2013, 03:00 PM
Grits is coarse ground masa (nixtamal) that has first had the hulls removed. Grind grits and you get no-hull masa harina. Masa and masa harina are well known outside the south and one is more likely to find coarse ground masa by asking for coarse ground masa than by asking for grits.

Edit: You can also prepare your own nixtamal and grind grits: http://www.greensense.com/Features/Green_cuisine/nixtamal.htm

Now there are two ideas - I wonder if adding a tablespoon or two of masa (harina, which I've got in the pantry) to the stone ground corn grits would bring back that old fashioned flavor without making them gooey?

And so maybe we'll just have to grind our own. We make our own bread, and cheese, and beer, -- I guess I'll have to add a grain mill to the "shop tools" budget.

KJ1I
12-28-2013, 03:04 PM
Grits are an awful thing concocted in the south in an effort to keep us snowbirds away from their warm climate. They don't actually eat the stuff. I should think it's on a par with Haggis. Bob.

Obviously, you've never had properly prepared grits. Next time you're in New England, stop by. We'll talk shop and have steak and grits for dinner.

PS: I do agree with you about haggis. I've tried it and offal is awful.

Baz
12-28-2013, 03:13 PM
Like many Brits I wondered for years after seeing My Cousin Vinney what grits were. Thought they must be like a yam cake or something until I found them on the breakfast menu in a Chicago hotel. Turned out to be just semolina! however the references above to hash browns makes me think they can sometimes be prepared with minimal water and fried? Coarse porridge is much better and haggis is delicious.

skunkworks
12-28-2013, 03:15 PM
Am I the only one that read the title as "REAL horny girls"?

KJ1I
12-28-2013, 03:19 PM
Yes, grits can be prepared many, many ways, just as polenta. Made with less water, poured into a loaf pan, chilled, cut into slices and sauted in butter. Mmmmmm.

PS: Semolina is made from wheat (Durham), both grits and polenta are made from corn.

KJ1I
12-28-2013, 03:20 PM
Am I the only one that read the title as "REAL horny girls"?


YES. I already have one of those (and have had for over 40 years)!

dp
12-28-2013, 03:22 PM
I sometimes add masa to chili to give it an old Mexico flavor. It does thicken the sauce some as it is intended to make tortillas. Fried, it makes great chips for salsa. Two tablespoons of masa in a gallon of chili is very noticeable.

jep24601
12-28-2013, 05:12 PM
Interesting thread. Having tried grits I consider them inedible - like okra or tripe - haggis on the other hand is delicious and available in St. Louis at the right place.

Carm
12-28-2013, 06:00 PM
Technically, there is no solid definition of what grits means as it has regional variation. (snip)


Yes that's confusing. To some "masa" means dough and needs a qualifier to denote whether corn or wheat.

Having lived and worked throughout the south and eaten diner and home cooked grits, my definition of grits is hominy that has been cracked to a size between rice and raisins that when well prepared is creamy yet has some tooth.

I make it like Lynnl's grandmother and the Inca. Needn't be industrial.

Polenta, at least the Italian style, can't be compared even if the texture is the same as it lacks the alkali treatment.

KJ1I
12-28-2013, 06:11 PM
Having lived and worked throughout the south and eaten diner and home cooked grits, my definition of grits is hominy that has been cracked to a size between rice and raisins that when well prepared is creamy yet has some tooth. Polenta, at least the Italian style, can't be compared even if the texture is the same as it lacks the alkali treatment.

YES. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.

Looks like another do it yourself project. I guess its sort of like why we have shops; if you want it right, or maybe different, ya gotta do it yourself.

1-800miner
12-28-2013, 08:07 PM
This was passed down from my Grandmother in Pennsylvania Dutch country.

When we butcher hogs leave lots of meat on the bones.
Cook them down until it falls apart. separate the bones and grind the cooked meat.
Put it back in the broth and add the spices you like. Mexican,Italian,German spices...your choice.
Bring to a boil and keep adding grits until its too thick to stir. Pour into breadpans, chill and slice thick as bread.
Griddle fry like pancakes, either butter,salt& pepper or something sweet like syrup.

Part of my Sunday breakfast for years.

Paul Alciatore
12-28-2013, 08:42 PM
Grits are an awful thing concocted in the south in an effort to keep us snowbirds away from their warm climate. They don't actually eat the stuff. I should think it's on a par with Haggis. Bob.

No, northerners don't eat grits, they eat greasy hash browns. I'll stay with my grits.

I am not a grits expert, but I do eat them every morning. One bowl of grits and three strips of turkey bacon: that's my breakfast. My daughter says if I ever need a transfusion, they will need a bag of grits.

Personal opinion is the Three Minute brand is the best available in the local (south Texas) groceries. They do have the word "hominy" on the package but I do not know how that relates to the real thing.

As for the taste, they are fairly bland by themselves: cream of wheat with a mild corn flavor is probably the best description I can do. But that is not fair because I do not like cream of wheat. I usually add butter flavor and cheese (or cheese flavor). I have to watch my diet and they fit well. A quarter cup of dry grits, before adding water and cooking, gives me 140 calories; 0.5 grams of fat; 0 saturated fat, cholesterol, & sugar; 125 mg of salt, and 1 gram of carbohydrates. Beats the pants off greasy hash browns.

Those numbers are for the way I cook standard grits, using only water and do not include any additions. I consider them to be a healthy breakfast.

One more thing. There is a product called "instant grits". They are NOT grits and the manufacturer's should be sued for using the word on the package. Oh, and they do not cook even one second faster than regular grits so the use of the word "instant" is also a falsehood. Both "cook" in three to four minutes if you count the time to boil the water for the instant product.

Paul Alciatore
12-28-2013, 08:47 PM
Yes, grits can be prepared many, many ways, just as polenta. Made with less water, poured into a loaf pan, chilled, cut into slices and sauted in butter. Mmmmmm.

PS: Semolina is made from wheat (Durham), both grits and polenta are made from corn.


Many old southern cooks, one of my aunts included, will slice the chilled grits that are left over from breakfast and will fry it for a later meal. As a child, I was quite surprised by fried grits when I said that I liked grits at dinner time. I surprised her by explaining that grits can be rewarmed if a little water is added.

Lu47Dan
12-28-2013, 09:16 PM
Hell, I eat grits about twice a week, I also make my own Hominy from White Hickory corn, I grow here.
I use the cold soak method instead of using hot water, hot water in a stone crock is not a good idea. I have made up to 60 pints of hominy at a time.
Grits, a slice of ham, and two sunny side up eggs make for a great breakfast.
Dan.

Daveb
12-28-2013, 10:35 PM
Very interesting thread. Polenta is available here but grits are something we surface our roads with. I intend to buy some corn and try these recipes.
Haggis is delicious, you have to go north of Hadrians wall to get the proper stuff, best taken with a large dram or two, very nice indeed!
Does anyone have a good recipe for possum belly pie?
Dave

dp
12-28-2013, 10:49 PM
A civilized breakfast, Hawaiian style:

A generous scoop of Calrose rice in a bowl
A patty of ground round or a couple rectangles of SPAM, fried, placed on top of the rice
An egg, fried over medium, placed on the meat
A scoop of beef gravy over the top of everything

h12721
12-28-2013, 10:59 PM
Just to ad to the confusion to people who do not know!
When you speak of " Corn "
In English speaking countries Mais is Corn.
In German Corn is Rye. Corn Bread would be Rye Bread. US Corn is Mais in German ' Mais Brot " and the word Corn is a kernel .
I believe in the northern countries the word Corn becomes Oat .
And "stone ground" is better is a myth. I can come to the same product with Rollers as 99.9 % of the Mills do it .

Hilmar

WhatTheFlux!
12-28-2013, 11:04 PM
A civilized breakfast, Hawaiian style:

A generous scoop of Calrose rice in a bowl
A patty of ground round or a couple rectangles of SPAM, fried, placed on top of the rice
An egg, fried over medium, placed on the meat
A scoop of beef gravy over the top of everything

That sounds pretty damn good actually!

dp
12-28-2013, 11:43 PM
It's called loco moco in the islands and it is pretty damn good, for sure. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loco_Moco

WhatTheFlux!
12-28-2013, 11:50 PM
Ok now I have a reason to go.

Heck I went to Canada just to experience "real" poutine I'm sure I can justify this.

Euph0ny
12-29-2013, 08:38 AM
Ok now I have a reason to go.

Heck I went to Canada just to experience "real" poutine I'm sure I can justify this.

No need to go to Canada. Go to the Isle of Man and ask for "chips, cheese and gravy". It's where the poutine originally came from...

On grits / semolina / polenta, etc - I prefer Flahavan's Progress Oatlets for breakfast, myself. Make them with half-milk-half water and some salt. Serve with milk or cream and sugar. Delicious!

jep24601
12-29-2013, 09:00 AM
No need to go to Canada. Go to the Isle of Man and ask for "chips, cheese and gravy". It's where the poutine originally came from.!

..........and then there's chip butties in Blackpool.

KJ1I
12-29-2013, 09:03 AM
On grits / semolina / polenta, etc - I prefer Flahavan's Progress Oatlets for breakfast, myself. Make them with half-milk-half water and some salt. Serve with milk or cream and sugar. Delicious!

And another topic altogether -- the difference between "steel cut", "pinhead", or "Irish" oats (or oatmeal) served with cream and brown sugar and "American" aka "Quaker" steamed mashed wall paper paste :p ! Flahavan's pinheads are a pantry staple.

gvasale
12-29-2013, 09:09 AM
Hmmmm....why not we just enjoy our grits/grains, whatevers in a hoisted glass, 100 proof...The New Year is coming.

1-800miner
12-29-2013, 09:45 AM
For Christmas I was given a half pint of the smoothest home brew corn whiskey I have ever tasted.
I will be toasting you on New Years Eve.
I will not be posting anything here until late on New Years Day.

It lights with a match.

Carm
12-29-2013, 10:32 AM
This was passed down from my Grandmother in Pennsylvania Dutch country.

When we butcher hogs leave lots of meat on the bones.
Cook them down until it falls apart. separate the bones and grind the cooked meat.
Put it back in the broth and add the spices you like. Mexican,Italian,German spices...your choice.
Bring to a boil and keep adding grits until its too thick to stir. Pour into breadpans, chill and slice thick as bread.
Griddle fry like pancakes, either butter,salt& pepper or something sweet like syrup.

Part of my Sunday breakfast for years.

That's a different subject too.
I'm in southcentral Pa. now. The above is called "scrapple" here. The Amish call it ponhaus. Uses everything except the squeal. The cereal added to the pork trimmings is usually cormeal (not treated).
Go a little west or north and they use buckwheat alone or with the cornmeal.

Boucher
12-29-2013, 10:35 AM
The owner of a RV park that we frequent has a Hit-and-miss engine on an old corn grinder.​It is interesting to watch it work.

wierdscience
12-29-2013, 02:00 PM
I've tried some from these folks-
http://palmettofarms.com/Stone-Ground-Grits/Stone-Ground-White-Grits.html

and these-
http://www.louisianapridegristmill.com/stone-ground-grits.php

Both are good IMO with a price prefrence towards the latter.I haven't bought any in a few years though as a family friend grows Shoepeg corn and grinds his own.

As I have witnessed there are people who "cook" Grits and people who "soak" Grits.I am squarely in the soak colum.All I ever do is bring them to a boil,cover and shut the heat off then come back about 15 or so minutes later.IMO Grits are as much about the consistency as flavor.

gambler
12-29-2013, 02:18 PM
this thread makes me hungry.:)

RWO
12-29-2013, 02:24 PM
I use the Palmetto Farms grits and find them to be pretty good. They are uniformly ground and screened to remove the fines. I take issue with the Louisiana Pride Grist mill page stating that white grits are made from hulled yellow corn. That is definitely not true. White grits are made from white corn. White corn is not grown commercially except in a few places in the South where it is used exclusively for white corn meal and grits.

I tried Anson Mills so called "Antebellum Coarse Grits" ( http://ansonmills.com/products) The grind is inconsistent and there are lots of fines mixed in. The flavor is good, however they take at last 30( 45 is better) min. to cook. Anson Mills is the current darling of several TV chefs. So far, I'm staying with Palmetto farms after trying several other internet sources.

RWO

Paul Alciatore
12-30-2013, 10:12 PM
I have to really agree on the consistency thing. Nothing worse than watery or lumpy grits. Should stick to the spoon or fork and be lump free. But the flavor thing is important too. Some brands are too bland with no flavor at all.



I've tried some from these folks-
http://palmettofarms.com/Stone-Ground-Grits/Stone-Ground-White-Grits.html

and these-
http://www.louisianapridegristmill.com/stone-ground-grits.php

Both are good IMO with a price prefrence towards the latter.I haven't bought any in a few years though as a family friend grows Shoepeg corn and grinds his own.

As I have witnessed there are people who "cook" Grits and people who "soak" Grits.I am squarely in the soak colum.All I ever do is bring them to a boil,cover and shut the heat off then come back about 15 or so minutes later.IMO Grits are as much about the consistency as flavor.

BigMike782
12-31-2013, 10:05 AM
Soaking corn in lye does not make me hungry. Being a northern boy I'm sure my exposure has not been the best but I have had grits,probably from a can or a box, and they are ok with some jelly or butter and brown sugar.
There is an Amish place the wife and I like that has fried corn meal mush,sometimes I feel like I have eaten my weight of the stuff it's so good.

Hash browns are greasy in restaurants because the need to be cooked fast so they add grease.I like mine dry with some onions thrown in.
Now if I could find a place that makes sausage gravy from scratch I'd be on my way.

KJ1I
12-31-2013, 04:48 PM
Just make your own. Homemade is always better --

Iowa Farm Sausage

40 oz. Pork butt
8 oz. Fat back
1 1/2 T. Rubbed sage
1 1/2 T. Dried tarragon
1 T. Powdered ginger
2 tsp. Kosher salt
2 tsp. Dried basil
1 tsp. Freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. Ground dried Thai Dragon pepper (optional)
3 oz. Finely minced onions
0.5 oz. Finely chopped fresh parsley
2 Cloves garlic, crushed
2 oz. Cold water

Grind the pork and fat back using a medium small (1/4”) blade. In a small bowl, combine the dried spices. In a large bowl, mix the ground pork with the combined spices and the onions, parsley, and garlic. Knead and squeeze the mixture until well blended. Package in 8 ounce portions. Keeps in the refrigerator for 3 days or in the freezer for 3 months.

Sausage Gravy

8 oz. Pork sausage
6 oz. Diced onions
8 oz. Milk
8 oz. Light cream
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
Prepared roux

Brown the sausage in a large frying pan. Add the onions and sauté until translucent. Add the milk, cream, and salt and bring to a boil. Stir in the roux, reduce the heat, and cook until thickened.

Note: The quantity of roux is not specified. This is to allow you to thicken the gravy to your desired consistency. Some like the gravy to be as thick as wall paper paste, others the consistence of pancake batter. Start with 1 tablespoon and allow to cook for about 2 minutes. Add more, a small amount at a time, until the gravy reaches the desired thickness. Be aware it will thicken more as it cools.


Buttermilk Biscuits

8 oz. All purpose flour
4 oz. Pastry flour
0.5 oz. Granulated sugar
1 oz. Baking powder
1/4 tsp. Baking soda
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
1.5 oz. Vegetable shortening
0.5 oz. Butter
6 oz. Buttermilk

Sift together the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Cut in the shortening and butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the buttermilk to the flour all at once. Stir just enough to make a soft dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll or pat out to 3/4” thick and cut with a 2 1/2” round cutter. Bake at 425° F on an ungreased baking sheet for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.