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Asked by:

Photo by Doc Simonson

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Home Town: St. Peter, Minnesota, USA
Doc Simonson is asking: (8 answers)
I've never had grits, but I was wondering is there a major difference between grits and polenta? I've seen recipes from shrimp and grits and it seems to me that polenta would be just as good, but not having tried grits, I can really say that. So what's the hub, bub?

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Last updated: Jan. 13, 2013 3:27 pm
Posted: Jan. 10, 2013 9:00 am
Answered by: BigShotsMom
Jan. 10, 2013 9:06 am
I think they are the same thing. Polenta may be milled to a slightly finer texture, but they seem to be interchangeable.
Jan. 10, 2013 9:11 am
Hi, Aye to me, unfortunately, both totally tasteless. Sorry, don't see the sense re polenta. BUT that's only me. cheers.
Jan. 10, 2013 9:23 am
Gotta disagree Don,Polenta is one of the staples i grew up with,i like it with spaghetti sauce.Grits i don't know never had them.
Jan. 10, 2013 9:25 am
Doc,there's a recipe in my recipe box for polenta,as i said to Don,i like it with spaghetti sauce.You should try it.
Jan. 10, 2013 9:26 am
I'm not a fan of polenta but I like grits. The time I ate polenta it was yellow. Grits are white.
Jan. 10, 2013 9:30 am
Polenta can be served in a firm texture or creamy like grits would be. I think its how you season either of these that gives it its taste really! I think you could sub our the grits for Polenta for that recipe. I have used this recipe before - was good!
Jan. 10, 2013 10:18 am
Hi, sorry manella, love italian food but polenta - NO. Cheers.
Jan. 10, 2013 11:12 am
OK, Don,different tastes is what makes the world go round.
Jan. 13, 2013 3:27 pm
I am a Texas girl who married a guy from Missouri whose mom was the best cook in the world. She made a dish for me each time we went to visit. She never named it for me. It was what we always called Corn Meal Mush, but she cooked it until it was firm, with the scrapings from the ham bone or the end of the Ham butt. She poured it in a loaf pan and refrigerated it until solid. Then for breakfast she would slice it and fry it. Yum! She died and I never did get a recipe or a name for it. My loss. Years later, reading recipe books I finally realized that she was making Polenta. I have wanted to make it ever since, but never eat ham. If anyone has a good recipe for Polenta, please put it in your comment to this blog. Thanks a million.
Answered by: misty
Jan. 10, 2013 9:34 am
When I moved to Texas several years agao; everyone here ate grits. I tried them so many different ways; but the only thing I find them good for is for putting them dry on the red ant hills to kill them. Don't mean to offend anyone, but just don't care for them; I think it depends on where you grew up and what you ate.
Jan. 10, 2013 9:39 am
Very true misty,it does depend on that.
Jan. 10, 2013 9:40 am
The only way I've ever had grits was the casserole on the box of (?Quaker) grits. Delicious, most likely because the dish had cheddar in it!
Answered by: misty
Jan. 10, 2013 9:39 am
I used manella's personal recipe for polenta, it was my first time tasting it. Served with sauce over it, very good.....
Answered by: Doc Simonson
Jan. 10, 2013 9:51 am
I make polenta fairly often. I love it with caramelized onions and slices of grilled flank steak over it. I also love making it firm and then once it's set up, I slice it, dredge in seasoned flour and then fried in bacon grease or butter. It's so good! I'll try your recipe manella! I think I have one in my box too called cheesy polenta.
Answered by: Doc Simonson
Jan. 10, 2013 9:53 am
Jan. 10, 2013 10:33 am
Both polenta and grits are a corn based product. Polenta is generally made from a yellow corn and grits are usually from a white corn. But still...both are a corn based product. And both can be made into "mush" (grits) or cooked and allowed to "set up" and then cut into bars or scooped into balls and coated and deep fried. Being from the south and having cooked both - I think the biggest mistake made is in the way grits are cooked and served. Commercial restaurants serve grits because they're cheap - or at least by the way they make grits. Grits, water, salt & pepper = commercial style grits...YUCK!!! No wonder northerners don't like them and won't eat them. Basically it would be the equivalent of eating wet sand - - who likes that???? Not me nor anyone else I know. So anyone with any Southern roots to them KNOWS the secret to grits - - and I have turned many a hardened Yankee to a hot bowl of southern lovin by introducing them to the "right" way to make grits. First make sure you're working with white corn meal grits - - then you heat up MILK - NOT WATER - - repeat - - MILK - - and when I make my grits it's not just milk - it's half and half milk PLUS heavy cream - - now you add REAL BUTTER to the warm milk - - then you add salt & pepper - - and then you SLOWLY add your grits - - stirring while you add them - do not let them settle to the bottom - keep stirring for at least 4 or 5 minutes - until the grits have had a chance to "plump" some (absorb some of that good milk & butter) - then you turn your heat down low and SLOW cook them. I let my grits cook for an hour - at least. This is your "basic" grits. But you can also add some bacon or ham or fatback and/or cheese - - but FIRST start with some good grits to begin with - - otherwise you're just wasting a perfectly good pig over wet sand. You eat some GOOD grits - made the RIGHT way - and you'll come back for more.
Jan. 12, 2013 6:42 am
Thank you luv2cook, for taking your time in giving a good answer.. Ivonne
Answered by: Cookin Up A Storm
Jan. 10, 2013 10:29 am
I have used polenta as a sub for grits in shrimp and grits. Essentially, grits are a meal made with white corn and polenta is usually made with yellow corn, having said that, I've also seen yellow grits available when I lived in the south. Both are basically bland until you flavor them up by cooking in stock, salted water and/or adding a boatload of cheese, butter and/or cream to them. In any case, I love them both. Polenta, creamy or cold, cut, then fried, I would eat it any day. You've got me hungry for some spicy garlickly shrimp over a bowl of creamy polenta/grits!
Mike Harvey, daPITA
Jan. 10, 2013 10:43 am
There is a bulk food store that sells polenta, hominy grits and yellow corn grits. Out of curiosity, I bought the polenta and the yellow corn to decide for myself. I tried each and found no difference. However, the polenta did have a richer golden color than the yellow corn. Preparation, taste and texture seemed to be the same.
Jan. 10, 2013 11:14 am
Very true Mike,preparation is key.
Jan. 12, 2013 6:44 am
you are totally right... thank you Ivonne
Answered by: plzeat
Jan. 10, 2013 2:20 pm
Love them both, they are both cooked ground corn. Cheesy polenta recipe on this site is very good. Serve Italian sausage with pepper & onions over it. Grits with butter and maple syrup or sugar mmmm. N
Answered by: pattyD
Jan. 10, 2013 2:34 pm
To me, polenta is just a fancy name for grits. I love shrimp and grits,I also like a more savory style grit made with chicken broth and cheese. Grew up on cream of wheat,but once I moved to Georgia, grits were served everywhere and I was hooked.
Jan. 10, 2013 3:13 pm
I have to say that I was born in raised in Texas. I never tried grits until I was 43 yrs. old. Not everyone in Texas eats grits. I like them but I don't make them. I only eat the occasionally. As for polenta, I only had it once at a restraunt and it was dry and tasteless. Doc you make it sound good. I would give it a try again if it was made one of your ways.
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