The South has contributed some delicious dishes to the world culinary stage. Often making use of cooking methods such as frying, and ingredients such as butter, buttermilk, cornmeal, and types of meat, it’s easy to see why Southern food is so addictive.
As rich and filling as the cuisine of the South can be, many of the dishes are very hard to get sick of. Full of flavor and warmth, they’re the kind of foods you just can’t stop eating. Keep reading to find out which 10 Southern dishes you will fall in love with, if you’re not already lucky enough to be eating them regularly!
Gumbo is a popular Southern dish that is seemingly impossible to get sick of. In fact, you won’t be able to get enough. Originating from the state of Louisiana, gumbo is a flavorsome stew. It’s based on the Louisiana Holy Trinity of veggies: bell peppers, celery, and onions.
The stew also contains meat or shellfish and has been influenced by a number of international cuisines. Hearty and filling, gumbo might be considered a form of comfort food and is adored by people all over the South. It’s widely available in cafés and restaurants throughout New Orleans.
9 Fried Green Tomatoes
It’s not just a cliché, nor just the name of a movie. Fried green tomatoes really are eaten in the South, and they are divine. Typically served as a side dish rather than a main meal, fried green tomatoes are made with tomatoes that are green because they are unripe.
Like many dishes in the South, the main cooking method here is frying. Before they are fried in oil, the green tomatoes are coated with cornmeal, giving them a delicious crunchy exterior. Another popular fried side dish in the South is fried okra. Mouthwatering!
8 Brunswick Stew
Gumbo isn’t the only stew that is adored throughout the South. There is also the iconic Brunswick stew, which Virginia and Georgia both tend to claim as their own. This stew is made with a base of tomato, which influences its rich and delicious taste.
Traditionally, game meat was included in Brunswick stew. Today, it’s less common to find game when eating Brunswick stew at cafés and restaurants. Instead, you might find chicken or pulled pork in your stew. It’s often served as a side with barbecue meat, or on its own with crackers.
7 Chicken Fried Steak
The most confusing thing about chicken fried steak to people who aren’t from the South is that this isn’t always a chicken dish. Actually, when most people refer to chicken fried steak, they’re actually talking about beef steak, which is then coated in bread, dusted in flour and spices, and fried. It is often served with country gravy.
If you are looking for the chicken alternative, you should look for country-fried chicken instead. While not served in all states, this is the same breaded cutlet but with chicken instead of beef.
6 Mississippi Mud Pie
If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll definitely fall in love with the cuisine of the South. There are endless desserts on offer, each more delicious than the last. One of our favorites is Mississippi mud pie. Yes, it is as decadent as it sounds.
Mississippi mud pie should definitely be on your must-try list if you have a soft spot for chocolate. The chocolate is layered over a graham cracker crust, topped with sweet fudge, and the result is utter perfection. Just in case there wasn’t enough sweetness, this dish is also often served with ice cream.
5 Skillet Cornbread
You pretty much can’t travel through the South without trying cornbread at least once. In fact, you’ll probably have it all the time, as it’s served with just about everything. Made with cornmeal, skillet cornbread is a staple of the South and as quintessential as Gone with the Wind or Johnny Cash.
The ingredients that normally go into the cornbread mixture are cornmeal, egg, and milk. It is cooked on heated grease, usually made from bacon or lard, before being baked in the oven. The bread has a cake-like texture and it is incredibly tasty. You can also get cornbread muffins!
4 Fried Chicken And Hot Chicken
Fried chicken is available all over the world, but we still think of this as a quintessentially Southern dish. Recipes vary between families and even states, but fried chicken is a delicacy of the South that your taste buds will never get sick of.
In addition to fried chicken, be sure to try hot chicken while in the South. Originating from Nashville, Tennessee, hot chicken is fried chicken that is topped with a spicy sauce. Usually, the sauce is made with cayenne pepper and the dish is served with pickles and white bread.
Another popular Southern dish originating from Louisiana is Jambalaya. Similar to the Spanish paella, this dish consists of a meat, vegetable, and rice combo. The exact ingredients tend to differ between recipes, but the meat is often some kind of sausage. Smoked meat might also be used in cooking, along with seafood such as shrimp.
Traditionally, the type of vegetables that go into Jambalaya includes celery, bell peppers, onion, carrots, tomato, chili, and okra. The dish is also flavored with garlic and broth before cooking and serving.
2 Shrimp And Grits
Cornmeal tends to feature a lot in Southern cooking. Boiled cornmeal is often made into grits, which are then turned into a variety of dishes in the cuisine. In coastal South Carolina and Georgia, one of the specialties where grits are the star of the show is shrimp and grits. Pretty self-explanatory, pretty delicious.
Grits are also typically served for breakfast around the South. They are sometimes eaten with eggs and bacon, but can also be eaten with country ham, or other seafood such as fried catfish.
1 Deviled Eggs
Deviled eggs, as with some of these dishes, aren’t exclusive to the South, but they are popular enough there to be considered a Southern dish. The hard-boiled chicken eggs are halved and then topped with a paste made from yolk and ingredients like mustard or mayonnaise.
If you’ve ever attended a party or celebration in the South, you’ve probably come across deviled eggs before. These are often served at get-togethers and for special occasions and are normally eaten cold. The plate of deviled eggs hardly ever stays full for long!