Chef Ricky's Blog - What are grits?


One question I often hear about southern food is this: What's the difference between polenta, grits, and hominy?

Grits are a staple here in the south, and they're also one of my favorite foods. Around three-fourths of grit sales come from Virginia down to Florida and over to Texas.  from Virginia down to Florida and over to Texas. 

One of the main differences between polenta and grits is the taste. That's because both typically come from different corn. With grits, you get more of the corn taste you are probably used to. Polenta is a little sweeter and usually ground finer.

Grits usually come from dent corn, which has a little softer, starchy flavor. Polenta often comes from the flint side of the kernel and it has a nice, almost grainy texture, which adds a lot of contrast. They've been using that type of corn in Italy for a long, long time.

Finally, there's hominy--which is an alkali-treated kernel that removes the hull and allows you to cook a little faster.


If you're looking for grits with a little less corn flavor, try white grits. At Joe's, we use an all-natural organic grit for our shrimp and grits dish. They typically take 2 to 4 hours to cook. If you're using yellow grits, the key is to make sure you skim the husk once they come to a simmer. Don't be afraid to add a little cheese and enjoy.

Got any more question about grits? Come on in to Joe's and ask me! Or send an email to [email protected].


  Joe's 2nd Street Bistro located in Fernandina Beach, FL offers fine dining in a family atmosphere.