Protein bars, Greek yogurts, green smoothies, and bowls of cereal . . . how depressing!
I’m willing to wager that John Wayne would have laughed at the likes of such a breakfast. What happened to a good ol’ gentleman’s breakfast made with real food?
It still exists in my house. Savvy marketing, foodie trends, and convenience have never satisfied my appetite for a proper meal. And besides, I can whip up a meal of bacon, eggs, and grits—and of course, a morning cocktail—in fifteen minutes flat. Guess what? So can you.
Eating breakfast (a real one) has endless health benefits. Your metabolism gets fired up, awakening your body and mind to take on the day. When you actually eat something in the morning, protein especially, you are less likely to crash or overeat later in the day. I’ve always found that skipping my morning meal meant that I made bad decisions later on (I’m looking at you, Swiss Cake Roll).
With the right portions, a morning breakfast of bacon, eggs, and grits is an entirely reasonable—and healthy—meal. And the cocktail? Well, at least you get some B-vitamins from the tomato juice, right?
Rise and shine—let me talk you through the makings of a proper gentleman’s breakfast.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- I always prefer to bake my bacon in the oven, instead of in a skillet. It produces a crispy, crunchy bacon that’s always perfect, and I don’t have to clean up any splatter on the stove. Because we are cooking the bacon in a short period of time, and because it will take the oven at least five of those fifteen minutes to get to temperature, I opt for a thin slice, “hotel” style bacon. Place a few strips on a foil-lined baking sheet and place on the top rack of the oven when it gets to temperature. Bake for 10 minutes, or until crispy.
- While the bacon is in the oven, it’s time to get the grits started. Instead of instant grits, I go with a ‘quick grit’ variety that can be ready in five minutes. No, it’s not stone ground grit goodness—but it’ll suffice on a busy morning. Combine one cup of grits with four cups of water, a tablespoon of butter, and several pinches of salt. Bring the grits to a boil over medium high heat while whisking to ensure no lumps form. Once they reach a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for five minutes. You can cheat (make it better) by folding in some grated sharp cheddar cheese at the end.
- Coffee or cocktail? I’ll go with the later. I like Charleston-based Dixie Vodka because they make a great Black Pepper vodka that’s perfect for a bloody Mary. Go ahead and mix this up now while the other items are cooking—I always enjoy a cocktail while cooking and eating.
¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp. tomato juice
3 Tbsp. Dixie Black Pepper Vodka
1 tsp. fresh lime juice
¼ tsp. celery salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
2 dashes Louisiana Hot Sauce
½ tsp. prepared horseradish
Pickled okra, garnish
Combine the first 8 ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Cover with lid, and shake vigorously until blended, about 15 seconds. Pour into glass filled with ice. Garnish and serve.
- Last but not least, it’s time to scramble some eggs. Heat up a non-stick skillet over medium high heat and coat with non-stick spray. Crack two eggs into a bowl, season with a pinch of salt and pepper, and whip with a fork until yolks are broken and the mixture is combined. Add to pan, allow to sit for 45 seconds. Use a wooden spoon to lift the cooked eggs off the pan, allowing the runny part to reach the heat. Plate eggs while still moist, yet no runny portions remain.
- Pull the bacon out of the oven and plate next to eggs. Scoop a big dollop of grits on as well. Take a sip of that drink, and savor every bite.
Feels good, don’t it, Gents!