This Southern cooking classic is rich, creamy, savory, and as spicy as you like.
In a medium saucepan, combine 4 1/2 cups water with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt; bring to a boil. Whisk in grits; reduce heat to medium-low; cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until creamy, about 30 minutes. Stir in butter and pepper sauce.
In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer bacon to a paper towel; let cool, then crumble.
Add half the shrimp to the rendered fat in skillet; season with salt and pepper. Cook, turning, until pink and opaque throughout, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate, and repeat with remaining shrimp.
Serve grits with shrimp and crumbled bacon on top. Season with additional pepper sauce, as desired.
Bacon adds smokiness and texture to the dish. If you prefer, you can leave it out and cook the shrimp in 1 tablespoon oil or butter.