In the Southern part of the U.S., barbecue aficionados have a lot of pride. Whether it’s Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee, or another state, they all have a claim to fame when it comes to barbecue and are all sure their barbecue is the best. One thing remains the same though, southern barbecue is downright delicious and will have y’all coming back for seconds.
If you like barbecue with all the trimmings, the southern states go big on side dishes and hospitality. From mint juleps and sweet tea all the way to the bread pudding for dessert, it’s down-home comfort food that fills you up and makes summer a special occasion.
So put on some Cajun or country music, mix up some mint juleps and get ready to fire up the grill. Savory Texas smoked brisket, black-eyed peas and earthy collard (spring) greens are on the menu. Finished up with New Orleans famous dessert of bread pudding, and your guests won’t be able to wait for their invitation to your next barbecue!
Mint Julep – A Classic Summer Southern Drink
The mint julep has a long and interesting history, but the fact that it’s the official drink at the Kentucky Derby says a lot. Each year around 120,000 are sold over the two-day race weekend at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.
- 1 teaspoon powdered (icing) sugar
- 4 mint leaves
- 2 teaspoons water
- 2 oz. Bourbon whiskey
In a highball glass add the mint, sugar, and water. Muddle the mint by pressing on it with a wooden spoon. Be careful not to tear the mint leaves. Fill the glass with crushed ice, add Bourbon and stir until well mixed. Garnish with a mint sprig.
Savoury Smoked Brisket – Slow Smoked for Unbelievable Taste and Tenderness
Brisket is not for the faint at heart. It takes a lot of time and attention, but the end result is totally worth it. In the U.S. brisket competitions in the South are fierce as to who has the best method. They argue about what kind of grill to use, what kind of wood to smoke it with, whether to inject it, and what spices to use.
If you have a smoker, cook your brisket in it using the tips and guide below. But brisket can be smoked on a regular charcoal grill and still turn out juicy and tender with a beautiful bark. The video below shows the simplest method and results are fantastic. Along with the tips below, even if it’s the first time you have attempted to smoke a brisket, you will be amazed at how well it comes out.
- For the best results, buy a prime cut of brisket. If you cannot find one at your butcher shop it can be ordered from The Grid Iron Meat Co., Albert Mathews, or Meat and Cleaver.
- If you are cooking for just a few people, you can ask the butcher to cut you a smaller portion. Ask for the point part of the brisket which has more marbling.
- Trim fat to ¼ inch thick while the meat is cold and be sure to use a sharp knife.
- Keep it simple by using ½ cup of kosher salt and ½ cup black ground pepper for the rub. Allow the meat to come to room temperature before placing on the grill.
- Maintain an even temperature by keeping the grill vented and not lifting the lid too often. If the meat seems too dry you can spritz it with apple juice.
- Be sure to let the meat rest for at least an hour after taking it off the grill. You can place it in a picnic cooler to keep it warm.
- Make sure to cut your brisket against the grain on the flat side until you get to the point. Then turn the brisket 90 degrees and cut against the grain.
Black-eyed Peas Southern Style
In the south, black-eyed peas are a staple on New Year’s Eve to ensure good luck for the coming year, but are eaten all year round because they are nutritious and delicious. They are often served at barbecues as a matter of tradition.
- 4-5 green (spring) onions, chopped (or 1 medium white onion, chopped)
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 (16 oz) bag dry black-eyed peas
- 8 pieces of bacon
- 6-8 cups of chicken broth (or enough to cover the beans)
- Red pepper flakes,
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Sort & wash the black-eyed peas.
- Chop onions & garlic.
- In a frying pan, fry the bacon and set aside
- In a large pot, add 2 Tablespoons of the bacon grease and sauté the onions and garlic until tender.
- Cut up the bacon and add bacon, black-eyed peas, red pepper and chicken broth to the pot
- Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until ham hock and black-eyed peas are tender. About 1 to 1-1/2 hours.
- Remove from heat and let sit covered for about 10-15 minutes.
- Season with salt and black pepper if desired.
Collard (spring) Greens and Ham Hocks
- 12 cups collard (spring) greens washed, stemmed, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 cup yellow onion, diced (1/4-inch)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
- 1 smoked ham hock
- 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 2 quarts (2275ml) chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons Tabasco or to taste
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Wash the collard (spring) greens thoroughly with cold water, cut off the bottom stem and stack the leaves, chop the leaves into medium size pieces.
- Heat the canola in a large pot over medium heat. Place ham hock into the pot and sear it on all sides. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the vinegar and gradually add your collard (spring) greens. Cook the greens over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until they are all in the pot. Add the chicken broth and 1 teaspoon of Tabasco.
- Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Add more chicken broth, if necessary, until the greens are done. Take the ham hock out and pull the meat from the bone and cut into bite sized pieces and put the meat back into the greens.
- Add another teaspoon of Tabasco (or to taste) and salt and pepper to taste.
Bon Ton Café Bread Pudding
The Bon Ton Café in New Orleans opened in 1953 and was one of the first few authentic Cajun restaurants in the French Quarter. The owners retired in 2020 but their famous bread pudding recipe is still in circulation. Served warm this dessert is crispy on top, with a creamy custardy inside and the whiskey sauce gives your tastebuds a little zing. It’s a staple in the South.
- 1 loaf French bread
- 1 quart (1135ml) milk
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 tablespoons vanilla
- 3 tablespoons margarine
- 1 cup raisins
- Soak the bread in milk and crush with hands until well mixed.
- Add eggs, sugar, vanilla, and raisins and mix well.
- Melt butter and pour into a 9×13 pan. Add pudding mixture and bake at 350℉ until very firm, about 35 minutes.
- Let cool then cut pudding into squares.
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- Whiskey to taste up to 1/4 cup
- Cook sugar and butter in a double boiler until very hot and well dissolved.
- Then add in well beaten egg and whisk quickly so egg doesn’t curdle.
- Let cool and add whiskey to taste.
- Pour sauce over individual servings and enjoy!
The Southern region of the U.S. is known well for their cuisine, and they love to barbecue. The tender smoked brisket, black- eyed peas, and collard greens are a plethora of taste and texture that will satisfy your soul. I hope these recipes will pique your curiosity and make you want to try other southern dishes.
Let us know in the comments below if you tried these recipes and how good they tasted!