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Grits Basics: 5 Tips to Make Perfect Stone Ground Grits

July 04, 2016

Grits Basics: 5 Tips to Make Perfect Stone Ground Grits

Preparing our stone ground grits is as easy as can be. But like everything else, there are tricks for perfecting the process. Here are five helpful tips for making an excellent batch of Barkley's Mill Stone Ground Heirloom Grits every single time!


Thoughts on Straining Chaff

Stone ground heirloom grits includes a few harder bits of corn hulls, called chaff. While there's nothing wrong with chaff, some of the larger pieces may not soften completely with cooking. Many stone ground grits lovers think the toothsome bits are part of heirloom grits' charm. We certainly do. That said, there may be some occasions or certain recipes when you want your grits a bit more uniform, for instance, in dessert recipes. Chaff is simple to remove. Just pour the grits into the cooking liquid you're using and stir them a few seconds. The will chaff float to the surface pretty quickly, as it does, simply skim it off. That's it!

Using Different Cooking Liquids 

Our heirloom grits are naturally rich and creamy simply cooked in water. That said, simmering stone ground grits in milk or broth just might be the perfect touch, especially when pairing them with certain dishes or using them in recipes. Here are a few cooking liquid considerations. Most prepared stocks and broths contain a lot of sodium, so reduce or eliminate salt in recipes. As for milk, because it contains solids and is thicker than water or broth, it's harder to absorb. That's why we recommend a 50/50 blend of milk and water. Heavy cream is twice as thick milk. In most cases it should be added to grits during the last minutes of cooking. 

Presoaking Stone Ground Grits

If you have the luxury of time, soaking grits in their cooking liquid for a few hours or overnight does amazing things. Hydrating each kernel to its cores reduces cooking time and improves texture and flavor. Presoaked grits come out extra delectable—tender through and through. Bonus: the soaking liquid becomes infused with extra corn essence, enriching the flavor. Win and win! If soaking grits for more than two hours, pop them into the fridge to preserve freshness.



Strategy for Salting Grits

Cooked grits don't absorb salt so well once they're cooked so we recommend adding some salt from the beginning—in the cooking water, or if presoaking, in the soaking liquid. If you’re making grits for a dessert recipe leave out the salt.



Reach Suspension then Relax 

What's suspension? It's when grits have absorbed so much cooking liquid that they no longer sink to the bottom of the pan. It's kind of like magic because once suspension has happened you can ease up on the watching and stirring. On the stovetop, it usually takes 7 or 8 minutes—5 minutes for the liquid to come to a boil, then 2 or 3 minutes of simmering and stirring while the grits to expand and thicken. You'll know you've reached suspension when the mixture is thick like split pea soup. After that, turn down the heat, cover the pot, and circle back occasionally with your spoon until the grits are cooked to your liking.