If you were a dock worker or a high society bruncher in New Orleans in the 1880s, you’d know about Grillades and Grits.
Thing is, everybody should know about this dish.
That’s why we’re adding it to the new spring dinner and lunch menu, available April 4 through May 19.
A traditional New Orleans brunch dish, Grillades and Grits are usually made with beef or veal that is braised into submission and served with its accompanying gravy over grits.
We are big fans of pork around here, so we actually slow-cook local pork shanks until the meat falls off of the bone. We tried this once before as a brunch special with poached eggs, and it wasn’t too popular with our guests.
The staff, both in the dining room and the kitchen, loved the dish and we couldn’t understand why it wasn’t popular. After some discussion we realized the name, “grillades,” pronounced gree-odds, might be the culprit.
What exactly are “grillades?” A descendant of New Orlean’s rich meat history.
You may think of NOLA as a seafood town, but the city is known for its meats too, which started with the butchers who moved to New Orleans from the Gascony regions of France.
They and their descendents monopolized the city’s butcher business well into the 20th century and their influence provided a wide variety of meats, including the cuts which led to grillades, according to one source, “New Orleans Cuisine, 14 Signature Dishes and Their Histories.”
In the late 1880s, grillades appeared on nearly every brunch menu in the city. The “sailor’s breakfast” of grillades and grits was first cooked in modest homes, and eventually served in the most affluent homes, as well.
The “brunch” concept started in New Orleans for the city’s dock workers. Most workers finished work by 10 am and they still wanted breakfast, so boarding houses down by the docks created the second breakfast. Voila.
At Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen, our new 2012 definition for grillades is slowly braised pork shank, served with its braising liquid over our cheesy grits and garnished with fried jalapenos.
We also know that a fantastic dish can’t remain unknown for long around here, so we’ve decided to re-introduce the dish (sans eggs) to the feature menu – at lunch and dinner – and believe in it until it gains acceptance.
We know that, one taste and folks’ll be hooked. Then we just need to keep up with the demand.
A great problem to have.
Posted April 2012