For those from the South, hushpuppies are our French fries.
The name “hushpuppies” is often attributed to hunters and fishermen who would fry some basic cornmeal mixture (possibly that they had been coating or battering their own food with) and feed it to their dogs to “hush the puppies” during cook-outs or fish-fries.
Originally just crunchy cornmeal and flour fritters, variations of this simple recipe abound. My favorite being a meat and cheese version, like these with diced bacon and Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar. I mean…cheese and bacon…C’MON!
This recipe makes about 36 hushpuppies, or 12 servings.
Chef Perry’s Bacon-Cheddar Hushpuppies
2 cups cornmeal
1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. Cayenne pepper to taste
3 large eggs, beaten
2 Tbsp. canola oil
2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
4 oz. Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar Cheese, diced
8 pieces bacon*, fried crisp and diced
1/2 cup shallots, diced
1 Tbsp. black pepper
2 tablespoons sugar
4 cups canola oil (for a 12 inch skillet)
*Next level tip: For outrageous flavor, cook your bacon in your Traeger or smoker instead of frying. See our recipe, here.
Heat 4 cups of canola oil in a 12in cast iron skillet, over medium-high heat to 350F)
Whisk together cornmeal, self-rising flour, baking powder, salt, and cayenne pepper in a bowl.
In a separate bowl, combine and whisk together eggs, oil, buttermilk, and yogurt. Slowly add the dry mixture to the wet mixture, stirring to combine.
Once combined, add in the cheese, cooked diced bacon, diced shallots, black pepper, and sugar. BTW – You don’t have to use the Cabot single-serving cheddar like I did, they just happened to be on hand.
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Use a medium-size spoon, scoop the batter and drop at close range in the heated oil. If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, a regular frying pan with high sides will work, as will a deep fryer.
Cook for 3-4 minutes per side, or until deep golden brown, and drain on paper towels. Serve hot alongside yoru BBQ or fried fish, with malt vinegar, lemon mayo, or red sauce for dipping (recipe below).
1/2 cup buttermilk ranch dressing
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon Franks Redhot Sauce (more to taste)