Our latest “Cooking in the Cave” episode puts a Southern staple in the spotlight. Mercer Dining Food Services Director Jarvis Napier and Executive Chef Jimmy Brown break down how to make the classic shrimp and grits.

Their tasty recipe includes colorful bell peppers, bacon, andouille sausage and plenty of cheese, giving it a rich and unforgettable flavor. So grab your favorite saucepan and skillet and fire up the stove. The ultimate comfort food is right around the corner, and the leftovers are just as good as the first bite.

Shrimp and Grits

Note: This recipe feeds 6-8 people. Our chefs made a smaller batch for the video.


  • 3 cups water

  • 1 cup coarsely ground grits

  • 2 cups half-and-half

  • 2 pounds uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined

  • Salt to taste

  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste

  • 1 lemon, juiced

  • 1 pound andouille sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices

  • 5 slices bacon

  • 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped

  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped

  • 1 medium yellow bell pepper, chopped

  • 1 cup chopped onion

  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic

  • ¼ cup butter

  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup chicken broth

  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese


  • Bring water and 2 teaspoons salt to a boil in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk grits into the boiling water, and then whisk in half-and-half. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until grits are thickened and tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside and keep warm.
  • Sprinkle shrimp with salt and cayenne pepper to taste. Add lemon juice, toss to combine, and set aside to marinate.
  • Place sausage slices in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove sausage from the skillet.
  • Add bacon to the same skillet and increase heat to medium-high. Cook until evenly browned, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain, then chop or crumble when cool enough to handle. Leave bacon drippings in the skillet.
  • Add bell peppers, onion, and garlic to the bacon drippings; cook and stir until onion is translucent, about 8 minutes.
  • Stir cooked sausage and marinated shrimp into the skillet with the cooked vegetables. Turn off the heat and set aside.
  • Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour, stirring to create a smooth roux. Turn heat to low and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is golden brown in color, 8 to 10 minutes. Watch carefully, as mixture will burn easily.
  • Pour the roux over the sausage, shrimp and vegetables. Place the skillet over medium heat, add chicken broth, bacon and Worcestershire sauce, and stir to combine. Cook until sauce thickens up and shrimp turn opaque and bright pink, about 8 minutes.
  • Just before serving, mix sharp cheddar cheese into grits until melted and grits are creamy and light yellow. Serve shrimp mixture over cheese grits.


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