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OT: REAL hominy grits

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  • OT: REAL hominy grits

    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.
    Kevin

    More tools than sense.

  • #2
    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.

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    • #3
      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.

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      • #4
        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.

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        • #5
          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.
          .
          "People will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time they will pick themselves up and carry on" : Winston Churchill

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          • #6
            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.
            Last edited by Forrest Addy; 12-28-2013, 01:46 PM.

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            • #7
              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
              Please excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Alistair Hosie View Post
                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.
                Last edited by lynnl; 12-28-2013, 02:24 PM.
                Lynn (Huntsville, AL)

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                • #9
                  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.
                  gvasale

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Alistair Hosie View Post
                    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).
                    Kevin

                    More tools than sense.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by jlevie View Post
                      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.
                      Kevin

                      More tools than sense.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by dp View Post
                        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.
                        Kevin

                        More tools than sense.

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                        • #13
                          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.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Carm View Post
                            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/G...e/nixtamal.htm
                            Last edited by dp; 12-28-2013, 03:52 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by lynnl View Post
                              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 ......................
                              Kevin

                              More tools than sense.

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