Makes 3 cups | Cooking time: 45 to 60 minutes
Combine the cold water, grits, and salt in a heavy, medium size saucepan. If you wish to do so, stir to loosen the hulls and chaff, wait a few seconds, then skim the surface. (To learn chaff, check out the link to the tips mentioned above.)
Turn the heat to medium-high and stir the grits frequently as they come to a boil—6 to 7 minutes. Turn the heat down so that the mixture comes to a steady simmer. Stir constantly until the grits become fully suspended in the cooking liquid—about 3 minutes. The mixture will resemble very thick soup.
Reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. Cook the grits, stirring occasionally, until they are smooth and creamy—35 to 45 minutes. If they become too thick, add a little water.
Remove the pan from the heat, uncover, and add more salt if necessary. If using heavy cream and butter, now's the time to stir them in. Serve the grits immediately, or if that's not possible, check out our 5 Tips to Keep Grits Warm.