Cooking with Grits
No, we’re not talking about that clever acronym G.R.I.T.S. that you see on cheesy apparel. We’re talking about the actual cheesy goodness of cheese grits. The kind made from corn. The kind that’s stone-ground the old-fashioned way. The kind that Mike Weeks sells through his line of delicious food, drink, and do-it-yourself mixes: Southern City Flavors.
Like many a good story, it begins with a bunch of fraternity brothers gathered together in the name of barbecue. Mike Weeks founded Southern City Flavors in 1992 after his group of buddies had been entering and placing well in barbecue and chili contests for a few years. His first product was their barbecue sauce that won an award at the prestigious Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest. At that point, all of the original crew did their smoking, grilling, and cooking on the side. When the business took off, Mike led the way, and it became a family business.
“Everyone had day jobs, and about 15 years ago, I started to expand. It’s a family thing now. All of our recipes, I developed or got from family. My daughters are involved, but it’s mostly a one-man operation with part-time help when I get busy in the summer season.”
But, back to those cheese grits! Southern City Flavors has two mixes: Shrimp & Grits and Beef & Grits. Follow the simple directions on the packaging, and you have a delicious southern meal made for sharing.
My family made the Beef & Grits recipe for dinner recently. Well, let’s be real. My husband cooked, and my daughter and I ate. It was a crowd pleaser. It’s a hearty meal akin to pot roast, and we added carrots to the recommended mushrooms for just a bit of additional color. We also love to eat grits for breakfast, so we used the remainder of the bag a week or so later.
When asked his favorite way to eat grits, Mike answered without missing a beat, “Cheese grits. Most of the time I do shrimp and grits or beef and grits.” He particularly likes the shrimp variation, however. “Everyone knows shrimp and grits. But, you don’t have to go to the beach to get it. The spice mix and a two-pound bag of grits does enough for about three meals. It’s basically a 30-minute meal you can do at home.”
More on those grits, so you really understand they’re a do-not-miss: “They come directly off a farm just north of Knoxville — no chemical process to them,” Mike noted. “They have so much more flavor than the ones you get at the grocery store or even Waffle House, IHOP, or Cracker Barrel.” So, if you think you’re not a grits person, give ‘em one more chance and start over fresh with Southern City Flavors.
Check out the full line of Southern City Flavors goods at Batch.