Crook's Corner's Shrimp and Grits

Crook’s Corner, named an “American Classic” restaurant by the James Beard Foundation is renowned for many things but none quite so well-known as “Shrimp and Grits,” originally a Bill Neal recipe that is still on the menu today. Two-time James Beard nominated final-five finalist for Best Chef in the Southeast, Chef Bill Smith offered Shrimp and Grits and some specialties of his own such as Honeysuckle Sorbet (in season) and Atlantic Beach Pie. You could always find Bill Smith bicycling around town headed to Crook’s Corner or possibly the Carrboro Farmers’ Market. With Bill Smith’s recent retirement, Crook’s kitchen is now led by Chef Justin Burdette and has no plans to retire this timeless dish from the menu.

Shrimp and Grits

Crook's Corner Cheese Grits:
 4 cups water
 1/2 teaspoon salt
 1 cup stoned-ground grits
 1 cup Cheddar cheese
 4 T. butter
 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
 1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
 Pinch of cayenne pepper
 ¼ tsp Tabasco Sauce
Bring salted water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat; Reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes or until thickened. Stir in Cheddar cheese and remaining ingredients.


 6 bacon slices, diced
 1 pound unpeeled, medium-size raw shrimp
 ¼ cup sauce flour (such as Wondra or Shake and Blend), seasoned with salt and pepper to taste
 2 cups sliced fresh white button mushrooms
 1 large garlic clove, minced
 1 cup chopped green onions
 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
 Tabasco Sauce to taste (four shakes!)
 Salt & pepper to taste


 1. Prepare the grits and hold in a warm place or on top of a double boiler over simmering water.

 2. Peel shrimp; devein, if desired. Rinse and pat dry.

 2. Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat 10 minutes or until crisp; remove bacon, but save all of the grease.

 3. Dust the shrimp with the seasoned flour. In the large skillet, begin to sauté the shrimp in the bacon grease over high heat. Turn the shrimp and then add the mushrooms. Let the mushrooms cook a moment, then begin tossing the skillet as for a stir-fry. Pour off some of the grease if it appears too oily.

 4. Cook for a minute or two more until the shrimp and mushrooms appear to be done and have browned a little. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute shaking the pan vigorously. Add the lemon juice, and Tabasco and cook 2 more minutes, stirring to loosen particles from bottom of skillet. Lastly, add the scallions and toss to combine. Correct the seasonings. Spoon shrimp mixture over hot Cheese Grits; sprinkle with crumbled bacon.