Recipe courtesy of QVC's Resident Foodie David Venable.
- 8 slices thick-cut bacon
- 3 Cups whole milk
- 3/4 Teaspoons kosher salt
- 3/4 Teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Cup instant grits
- 2 Cups (8 ounces) shredded Cheddar
- 2/3 Cups chopped scallions
- 1/3 Cup cream cheese, at room temperature
- 4 Cups canola oil, for frying
- 2 Cups panko breadcrumbs
- 1 Cup all-purpose flour
- 4 large eggs
Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp, 4—5 minutes on each side. Drain the bacon on paper towels. Reserve 3 tablespoons bacon fat in the skillet. When the bacon is cool enough to handle, chop it into small pieces.
Combine the milk, the reserved bacon fat, and salt and pepper in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, add the grits, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the grits from the heat and stir in the chopped bacon, Cheddar, scallions, and cream cheese. Spread the mixture into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Preheat a deep fryer to 350 degrees F. Or, clip a deep-frying thermometer to the side of a heavy deep pot. Add the canola oil to the pot and slowly heat the oil to 350 degrees F.
Place the breadcrumbs in a food processor and process until finely ground. Pour the breadcrumbs into a shallow bowl. Put the flour in another shallow bowl. Put the eggs in a third shallow bowl and beat lightly. Remove the grits from the refrigerator. Using your hands, take 2 tablespoons of the mixture and shape it into a ball. Repeat with the remaining grits. There should be 40 balls.
Roll the balls in the flour, then dip them into the eggs, followed by the breadcrumbs. Using a slotted spoon, add 6—8 poppers to the hot oil and fry for 4 minutes, or until golden brown on all sides. Drain on paper towels and repeat with the remaining poppers. Serve immediately.