Listen up ya mess o’ Yankee bitches. Yes I’m talking to you…you AND your Pyrex using, Pam spraying ways. I’m tired of y’all messing up cornbread. It’s time for an intervention. As they say back home, listen up and pay attention so I can learn you right.
This isn’t some highfalutin, fancy society cornbread. The results bear little or no resemblance to that stuff that comes out of the tiny blue box you get in the grocery store, neither. It’s just plain simple corn goodness.
First and foremost, you need a nice heavy cast iron skillet…the kind Elin Woods should have reached for instead of the golf club. Ideally the skillet has been passed down for generations, has never ever seen a drop of soap, and is seasoned to perfection. If not, don’t panic. It’ll still come out damn tasty. It just won’t be perfection.
Now don’t get too squirmy at the next statement. I’m going to need you to drag out that old coffee can or mason jar you’ve got crammed in the back of the fridge/freezer. Yes, I’m talking about the one filled to the brim with those bacon drippings that you didn’t want to dump straight down the drain last time you gorged yourself on crispy, salty yummitude. Don’t judge. It’s a recession people – we’re supposed to be thrifty. Now let’s reuse that pork fat!
Oh hey, maybe I should list the ingredients at some point, eh? Did I mention the skillet yet? Cast Iron, damnit. No substitutions. Put the cake pans down and don’t even THINK about reaching for that glass Pyrex. Paula Dean would shank you. (You don’t mess with a woman that can take a ham to the face.)
- 12 inch Cast Iron Skillet (Yes I’m listing it as an ingredient. Are you picking up on how serious I am about the skillet thing?)
- 2 cups buttermilk (If you’re a cheater like me, just put 2 tablespoons of vinegar or lemon juice into your measuring cup, and then add enough regular milk to make 2 cups. Let it sit and think about what it’s done for five minutes and that mess will curdle faster than MTV can put together another over-hyped reality show.)
- 2 cups stone ground cornmeal
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3 eggs
- 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings (You can substitute shortening. You can try using oil instead but I can’t make any promises.)
Plop those milky white congealed globs of bacony goodness right into the middle of that CAST IRON SKILLET. Go ahead and stick the gooped skillet in the oven while it preheats to 450 degrees.
In the meantime, mix together the cornmeal, salt, and baking soda. Then you can stir in the eggs and buttermilk. Try and get the clumps of dry mix completely combined.
Once all the fat has melted into a potential torture device, CAREFULLY remove the skillet from the oven and pour the batter into the hot skillet. Stir the molten bacon goo into the batter and return to the oven.
Bake the cornbread for 20 – 25 minutes or until your knife remains clean after stabbing.
Its tasty plain, but it’s even better with butter or some homemade blackberry jam (shout out to Mom and her mad jam making skillz). It’s also wicked tasty underneath a mound of chili or black eyed peas. Hell, I’ve been known to macerate some fresh strawberries in just a tidge of sugar, whip up some cream, then dress up the cornbread and call it strawberry shortcake.
I promise, if you just try this once you’ll never go back to your Jiffy corn muffin, Pyrex baking ways. Trust the Elly. Have I ever steered you wrong before? (Siblings, spouses, and relatives are not allowed to answer that question.)