Classic Charleston Breakfast Shrimp

This is what most Charlestonians think of as shrimp and grits. The secret to a nonpasty gravy is to cook the flour, which takes about 5 minutes. Even the largest shrimp need only cook for 3 minutes.


  • 1 cup (½ pound) peeled shrimp
  • 2 tablespoons ( cup) fresh lemon juice
  • salt and cayenne pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons bacon grease
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped (about ¼ cup) about ¼ cup finely chopped green bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons ( cup) unbleached (all-purpose) flour Creamy Grits
  • ¾ to 1 cup hot water or stock (shrimp, chicken, or vegetable)


In a bowl, sprinkle the shrimp with the lemon juice, salt, and cayenne and set aside. Heat the bacon grease in a skillet and sauté the onion and pepper over medium heat until the onion begins to become transparent, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir constantly for about 2 minutes, until the flour begins to brown. Add the shrimp and about ¾ cup water or stock, stirring constantly and turning the shrimp so that they cook evenly. Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked through and the gravy is uniformly smooth, thinning with a little extra water or stock if necessary. Serve immediately over the grits.