gouda cheese grits topped with BBQ shrimp, bacon and green onions in a seafood bowl

BBQ Shrimp and Grits

Shrimp and Grits are a southern staple, but have you ever tasted this classic dish drizzled with BBQ sauce and topped with bacon? The extra kick makes them incredibly sassy!

gouda cheese grits topped with BBQ shrimp, bacon and green onions in a seafood bowl

Where Did Shrimp and Grits Come From?

The first time my hubby and I tasted shrimp and grits was on vacation in Charleston, South Carolina. At the time, we had no idea this lowcountry city was the birthplace of such a delicious dish. Since then, we’ve come a long way in our appreciation of Charleston’s incredible food scene.

As we took our first bite, we completely flipped over the creamy, smoked gouda grits. Then, we fell in love with the savory, garlicky shrimp coated in barbecue sauce and topped with crispy bacon.

Man, oh man…there aren’t enough words to describe that experience. All I can say is if you’ve never had grits before, this recipe will turn you into a crazy grit lover in one fell swoop.

What’s Special About This Recipe?

Ever since our first encounter, we’ve been looking everywhere for BBQ Shrimp and Grits. I finally realized I needed to create my own recipe.

I discovered that most folks around here top their grits with pan gravy, but my recipe ramps up the southernness by adding sweet and sassy barbecue sauce to the mix. It’s as close to the original dish as I can get.

You’ll love the crunchy topping of bacon and green onions ladled over creamy grits filled with smoked gouda cheese. It’s southern comfort food that’s easy and quick to make from start to finish!

shrimp and grits in a sea themed bowl on a blue cloth

What Type of Shrimp Is Best?

Fresh shrimp is preferred, but unless you live on the coast, you may not have access to a fish market. It’s perfectly acceptable to use frozen shrimp, but make sure they are wild caught and completely thawed beforehand.

Wild shrimp are actually caught on boats by fisherman in natural ocean water, while farm raised shrimp are imported and can contain traces of antibiotics. Always choose wild caught shrimp for the best quality.

As far as size is concerned, I like to use jumbo shrimp which are 21 to 25 count, but extra large shrimp ranging from 26 to 30 count works equally as well. Just remember shrimp shrink in size considerably after cooking.

What Kind of Grits Should I Use?

Stone ground grits, (ad) preferably made from hulled white corn, are the grits usually recommended in this dish. They are coarse in texture, and rich in corn flavor, making them the perfect choice.

I like my grits a little smoother, so I use yellow grits made from yellow corn. It turns out great! You’ll get different opinions from most chefs about the type of grits to use, but one thing’s for sure…instant grits are not recommended. They don’t have the correct consistency to compliment the ingredients in this recipe.

ingredients for shrimp and grits including bacon, shrimp, bbq sauce, grits, cheese and onions

Ingredient List

  • stone ground grits
  • minced garlic
  • butter
  • smoked gouda cheese
  • cream cheese
  • salt & pepper
  • half & half
  • bacon
  • shrimp
  • barbecue sauce
  • green onions

How to Make BBQ Shrimp and Grits

Smoked Gouda Grits

Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add grits and garlic salt. Stir and reduce heat to medium low.

Cover and simmer grits about 20 minutes until done. Stir frequently while cooking. Take grits off of heat.

Add butter, cream cheese, shredded gouda, and pepper. Whisk until cheese is melted. Add half & half and salt to taste. Stir, and cover grits until ready to serve.

BBQ Shrimp

Cook bacon pieces in skillet over medium heat until crispy. Transfer to a paper towels to drain. Remove grease from skillet, reserving 2 Tbsp. for shrimp.

Add shrimp to skillet and saute’ until pink on both sides over medium heat (about 2 minutes). Mix in minced garlic and BBQ sauce. Stir a couple of times until shrimp is coated, then turn off heat.

Ladle grits into serving bowls, then spoon shrimp onto grits. Top shrimp with crumbled bacon and green onions to garnish. 

BBQ shrimp and grits with a fork and a spoon on the side of  sea themed bowl on a blue napkin.

Serving Suggestions

BBQ Shrimp and Grits is a great brunch entree served with a side of fruit and buttermilk drop biscuits.

Many folks in the south also like to eat Shrimp and Grits for dinner alongside a southern veggie like collard greens or brussels sprouts.

I don’t recommend serving leftover shrimp and grits because the shrimp doesn’t taste the same after being reheated. It can become rubbery and nobody likes that!

More BBQ Recipes to Love

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gouda cheese grits topped with BBQ shrimp, bacon and green onions in a seafood bowl

BBQ Shrimp and Grits


  • Author: Debi ~ QuicheMyGrits
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Warm and comforting, BBQ Shrimp and Grits puts all the other comfort foods to shame. It’s a southern tradition! 


Scale

Ingredients

SMOKED GOUDA GRITS

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup stone ground grits
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 oz. cream cheese
  • 8 oz. smoked gouda cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 tsp. cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup half & half
  • salt to taste

SHRIMP

  • 6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 lb. wild caught shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup tangy BBQ sauce
  • 1/2 cup green onions, chopped

Instructions

SMOKED GOUDA GRITS

  1. Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add grits and garlic salt. Stir and reduce heat to medium low.
  2. Cover and simmer grits about 20 minutes until done. Stir frequently while cooking.
  3. Take grits off of heat.
  4. Add butter, cream cheese, shredded gouda, and pepper. Stir until cheese is melted.
  5. Add half & half and salt to taste. Stir, and cover grits until ready to serve.

SHRIMP

  1. Cook bacon pieces in skillet over medium heat until crispy. Transfer to a paper towels to drain. 
  2. Drain grease from skillet, reserving 2 Tbsp. for shrimp.
  3. Add shrimp to skillet and saute’ until pink on both sides over medium heat (about 2 minutes). 
  4. Add minced garlic and BBQ sauce. Stir a couple of times until shrimp is coated, then turn off heat.
  5. Ladle grits into serving bowls, then spoon shrimp onto grits.
  6. Top shrimp with crumbled bacon and green onions to garnish. 

Notes

Shrimp and Grits are best when eaten fresh. Shrimp can take on a ‘rubbery’ consistency when reheated, so this dish isn’t a good choice for leftovers. 

  • Category: Seafood
  • Method: Skillet and Saucepan
  • Cuisine: Southern

Keywords: shrimp and grits, barbecue shrimp and grits, seafood

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I’d love to hear what you think about this recipe. Please leave a comment and *STAR* rating below…

8 Comments

  1. Melanie Haney

    Awesome! Awesome! Awesome! Can’t wait to try this. Looks wonderful, love shrimp and grits. Thanks Debi!

  2. I wasn’t even hungry until I read this! Can’t wait to pretend I am back in Charleston!

  3. Michelle

    I love shrimp and grits, and this recipe is delicious!

  4. WOW… WOW… WOW! Absolutely wonderful combination of flavors that compliment each other so well. Definitely a keeper! 😋

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