This week’s recipe comes from Devita Davison, founder of The Southern Pantry, an online purveyor of small-batch locally produced artisanal foods specializing in southern cooking. Devita’s family, like mine, is from Alabama, and we both grew up with grandparents who had their own livestock and small animals as well as a full garden and fruit trees to feed the family. Devita shared so many great recipes as ideas for this week’s post that we will come back to them later in the year when the seasons permit, but today we have her grandfather’s Cracklin’ Cornbread recipe. It made me remember my grandmother, who often ate her cornbread with greens, using it to soak up the juices. For a cornbread recipe without bacon/cracklings, you can find Hugh Acheson’s cornbread in our archives. — Kristina
About Devita: Devita feels lucky to have been born into a family of extraordinary southern cooks and restaurant owners who were obsessively preoccupied with food. The store she created was inspired by her great-grandparents, whose general store in Selma, AL, was filled with pantry items that were crafted using the fresh produce grown on their family farm. Today, she is the owner of The Southern Pantry Company in Detroit, Michigan, where she produces gourmet gift sets filled with products made by small-batch food artisans in Detroit who are known for their quality and craftsmanship. Devita loves that she is producing something really special, something that says “made with love” and “made in Detroit.”
See the recipe after the jump . . .
Note from Devita: The texture of cornbread does depend on the type of meal you use — medium and coarse-ground cornmeal are best for making polenta. For making good cornbread, use fine-ground white cornmeal. (I used fine-ground yellow for these images.)
- 2 c. Anson Mills yellow cornmeal or fine-ground white cornmeal
- 1.5 c. Calder Bros. Dairy buttermilk
- 1 egg beaten
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 4 tbs of bacon drippings
- 1.5 c. chopped cracklings or crisp fried bacon
1. Preheat oven to 450F. Put bacon drippings in a 10″ heavy or cast-iron skillet.
2. Place in oven to heat.
3. Mix cracklings or bacon with the dry ingredients.
4. Combine buttermilk and egg.
5. Add to dry ingredients, mixing just enough to make a smooth batter.
6. Pour into hot, greased skillet.
7. Bake about 25 minutes or until done.
My grandfather smoked his pigs for hours, cooking them at low temperatures and turning the meat into a succulent, fall-off-the-bone mouthful of tastiness. He then removed the pork skin and crisped it up separately for the ultimate crackling! Many people buy crackling at the store now or use bacon, but there’s nothing like crisping that pig skin on a wood-burning grill like my grandfather use to do! Good eats! I, however, use bacon, and I get the best “apple-smoked” bacon from a local meat shop here in Detroit called Porktown Sausage.