Harlan Hambright’s International Georgia Shrimp and Grits


 (Harlan Hambright)

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Harlan won the 2011 amateur cooking competition at the annual Shrimp and Grits Festival in Jekyll Island, Georgia. Using fresh, local ingredients and taking a unique approach to a southern standby, he was able to create a flavor-filled dish.



  • 2 pound Wild Georgia Shrimp
  • Georgia Farms Olive Oil, or your favorite brand
  • Crushed garlic cloves
  • Chopped basil
  • Lemon zest
  • Handful of ground sausage
  • Asher Blue Cheese from the Sweet Grass Dairy, or your favorite brand


  • 1 cup stone ground grits
  • 5 cup chicken stock
  • 2 Garlic cloves
  • 1 cup Thomasville Tomme cheese from the Sweet Grass Dairy, or your favorite mozzarella, cheddar or parmesan
  • A handful of chopped basil


  • 1/2 Vidalia onion and 2 or 3 celery stalks
  • 1 to 2 cup chopped, seeded tomatoes
  • 2 Crushed garlic cloves
  • A dry white wine from the BlackStock Vineyard in Dahlonega, or your favorite brand
  • Optional: Palmetto Juice from Darien, or balsamic vinegar



  • Peel and devein shrimp. Marinate in olive oil, garlic, chopped basil and lemon zest.


  • Put grits and chicken stock in a large pot. Shave or crush garlic into the liquid. Add salt.Let rest for a few minutes, then turn stove on high. When boiling, turn to low and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring frequently. Just before the grits are done, stir in cheese and add basil.

Sauce- Step 1:

  • Chop onion and celery stalks and sauté in pan coated with olive oil. When clear, add tomatoes.Add garlic and salt and pepper to taste. When it’s almost done, reduce with wine and a healthy splash of Palmetto Juice, or balsamic vinegar.

Step 2:

  • In a big skillet, sauté a small handful of ground sausage, then break it up. When cooked, remove the sausage, place in the tomato sauce and sauté the shrimp in the remaining grease. Flip the shrimp frequently and do not overcook.

Step 3:

  • Spoon a pile of grits on a plate. Top with several shrimp, ladle sauce over shrimp, and garnish with a few sprinkles of Asher Blue Cheese from Sweet Grass Dairy, or your favorite brand.