Gullah Shrimp & Grits

Gullah Shrimp & Grits Wit’ Crab Gravy

“A lot of people don’t know that shrimp and grits was created in Gullah Geechee culture,” says Gregory “Gee” Smalls, executive chef of Virgil’s Gullah Kitchen and The Breakfast Boys. “It’s evolved in many ways but at the core of it, the real shrimp and grits has a brown gravy. Not a red gravy, not a cream gravy. It’s a brown gravy and it’s basically like a smothered shrimp.”

To make the real shrimp and grits, Smalls says you should fry bacon, saute onions and peppers, and use seafood shrimp stock to make a gravy. Saute the shrimp and put it on top of either grits or a bed of white rice.

Read more about Chef Gee’s Gullah heritage here and see below for his recipe on the “real” Shrimp & Grits. 


  • 3 slices of bacon (optional)
  • 1 cup of diced yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup of diced green pepper
  • 1/2 cup of diced red pepper
  • 3/4 stick of butter
  • 1 tablespoon of browning sauce (I use kitchen bouquet) 
  • 1 lb of claw or lump crab meat
  • 1 lb of med shrimp
  • 8 cups of seafood or crab stock, or 3 table spoons of crab base
  • Flour + water to thicken
  • Garlic
  • Seasoning salt
  • Onion powder
  • Old bay seasoning 
  • Pepper


RELATED: Shrimp Creole Sauce by Chef Lorenzo Washington.


  • Fry bacon to a crisp in a large stock pot.  Add butter 
  • Saute onions and peppers in melted butter
  • Add seafood stock (or 8 cups of water + crab base) & browning sauce, bring to a boil
  • Add crab meat
  • Add small amounts of flour + water at a time, until you reach desired thickness
  • Season to desired taste. 
  • Add shrimp, and let cook for 5-7 minutes. 
  • Serve over Grits (or steamed white rice)   


Makes 6 servings. 


Consider pairing this meal with the Goddess of the Herbs cocktail by bartender Pia Days. 
Jada Smith
Author: Jada Smith

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