Served with rice?
Served with grits?
Served with okra?
Paired with a beer?
Paired with sweet tea?
What is your shrimp identity?
Picturesque Shem Creek, which is located in the town of Mt. Pleasant—a short drive from downtown Charleston, is home to a small but hardy fleet of shrimp boats. During harvest season, the crews rise before dawn, cast off from the docks, and head to open waters for a long day of honest work. The boats—green-winged, diesel-powered dinosaurs with lyrical names like Flying Cloud, Winds of Fortune, Carolina, Lady Eva, and Anna Grace—run parallel to the coast to trawl for seafood bounty. A shrimp boat chugging home at sunset is a familiar local scene and a reminder that water plays a pivotal role in the Lowcountry lifestyle.
For the past 37 years, the Town of Mt. Pleasant has hosted a springtime celebration to honor the local shrimping industry. Mark your calendar for Sunday, April 27, and join us at Memorial Waterfront Park for the popular annual Blessing of the Fleet, a fun one-day festival complete with boat parade, live music, activities for children, arts and crafts, a dance competition, and shrimp-eating contest.
The tradition of plucking food from the waters around Charleston is about as old as the city itself; seafood is a dominant part of our culinary heritage. Shrimp and grits began as a rustic, hearty breakfast that capitalized on abundant local ingredients: rivulets of rich gravy, sweet shrimp, slow-cooked stone-ground grits, and the occasional leftover—like a ham hock—from the previous night’s dinner. Today, this uniquely Lowcountry meal has transcended its humble beginnings to become the savory workhorse of many local menus.
Many Charleston restaurants feature shrimp and grits as a lunch or dinner entrée (in addition, of course, to breakfast fare), and recipe variations span the city.
Slightly North of Broad serves its Maverick Shrimp & Grits with sautéed shrimp, sausage, country ham, fresh tomatoes, green onions, garlic, and Geechie Boy yellow grits.
At Dixie Supply Café, the chef sautés shrimp with bacon and onions, which is ladled over creamy grits.
The recipe prepared at Morgan Creek Grill calls for applewood smoked bacon, garlic, leeks, and fresh tomato to be added alongside the shrimp and grits.
The Sweetgrass Shrimp and Grits at A.W. Shucks includes shrimp, tasso ham, and grilled corn sautéed in a cream sauce that is served over stone ground grits.
Head to The Islander to taste the dish with bell peppers, sweet onions, bacon, tasso ham, shrimp, and grits topped with gravy and parmesan cheese.
Sausage, scallions, mushrooms, and brown gravy set the shrimp and grits dish at the Charleston Crab House apart from most others.
For an added shellfish twist, order the dish at Magnolia’s, where sautéed sea scallops, lobster, and fried spinach are added to shrimp and creamy white grits.
Chopped shrimp, cheddar and cream cheeses, lemon juice, signature seasonings, and “100% Honest to Goodness Shrimp Deliciousness” (It says so right on the lid!) goes into every bite of Big T Coastal Provisions Shrimp Dip. Inspired by a family recipe and made by Charlestonians, this delicious seafood spread is stocked at grocery stores across the South and available via mail order. Enjoy!
Our Charlestonly Tip: Have a few pounds of local shrimp to cook for supper? When you want to de-vein and de-shell shrimp quickly, use the Charleston Shrimp Zipper! This great tool is handcrafted in Charleston with locally-grown Cherry wood.