Like Barbecue? Then Go Kiss My Grits

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - August 24, 2011
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Kiss My Grits will feature kicked-up Southern food. Photo courtesy Kristen Jackson

Southern food those two words have a way of conjuring up visions of delicious aromas and good home cooking! Fried chicken, banana pudding and barbecue gives Southern food a reputation for sinfulness with high calories, sodium and fat, but Southern food also can be delicious and healthy. For those of us who dream of cornbread, there is a new restaurant on the horizon that promises to bring the delicious tastes of North Carolina to Honolulu.

Kiss My Grits, led by brother-and-sister team Kristin and Rob Jackson, opens in late August in Puck’s Alley (1035 University Ave.). This team has called Oahu home for a few decades and they agreed it was time to share the delicious tastes of the South with their Island ohana.

While Rob is a seasoned chef, Kristin has worked behind the scenes in public relations for many years. She is now stepping into the spotlight with Kiss My Grits.

The restaurant will feature kicked-up comfort food such as big-as-your-head biscuits, fresh seafood and hush puppies, as well as many traditional Southern desserts. One item that promises to be popular is the North Carolina-style barbecue plate along the lines of what we call “pulled pork.” Served with a side of collard greens, it has less fat than a cheeseburger and offers more nutrients than other popular fast food choices. Pork shoulder also is one of the most economical cuts, making it an ideal choice for parties and family get-togethers. You also can freeze it.

Kristin shares her recipe for healthier, yet still wickedly tasty North Carolinastyle barbecue with MidWeek readers. To learn more about the restaurant and how to make Southern food both delicious and healthy, visit

Pork is one of the most widely eaten foods in the world, with evidence that is was consumed as early as 5,000 BC.

Pork must be fully cooked to limit food-borne illnesses. It is high in thiamin, potassium and phosphorus, and is a good source of vitamin B6 and lean protein when well-trimmed. It also contains riboflavin, magnesium, zinc, iron and vitamin B12. It has saturated fat and cholesterol, and should be consumed in moderate quantities.


Traditionally, the whole hog would be cooked in a smoker, but since most of us don’t have these at our disposal, this recipe is adapted for the home cook. You can eat this plain or serve on hamburger buns.

* 1 pork shoulder, brought to room temperature

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Place the pork shoulder in a roasting pan and slow roast for 6-8 hours, at least until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees.

Remove from oven and allow to cool until comfortable to touch. Meat should fall apart. Pull the pork apart with your hands. You also can chop the meat into small pieces.

Pour desired amount of vinegar sauce over the meat.

For Vinegar Sauce:

* apple cider vinegar
* Texas Pete Hot Sauce (can substitute some other hot sauce)
* red pepper flakes

Mix the cider vinegar and hot sauce together in a 3-1 ratio; add red pepper flakes to desired taste.

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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