Buttermilk Bacon Grease Cornbread

By • October 28, 2013 • 21 Comments



Author Notes: Whether you like it slathered in butter or drizzled with honey, plain or with milk like I take mine, I give you cast iron cornbread: the classic buttermilk and bacon grease version of my youth. Beth Kirby | {local milk}

Makes one 9" skillet of cornbread

  • 1 1/4 cup (175 g) cornmeal
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons bacon grease, plus extra for greasing the pan
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  1. Heat oven to 425° F.
  2. Grease a cast iron skillet with bacon grease and place in the oven while it heats.
  3. Mix the first four ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Cut in the fat with your fingers or two knives, mixing well until you have a sandy texture.
  4. Combine the eggs and the buttermilk, add to the dry ingredients, and mix to combine well.
  5. Pour the mixture into the hot skillet and bake for 20 minutes. Invert onto a plate. I like to serve it upside down with the nice crispy side up like my grandma did!
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Comments (21) Questions (0)

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2 months ago Diana

We had this with our dinner last night. None of us liked it. Not saving this recipe. And we love various cornbreads & bacon grease!

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3 months ago Karen C

...And finally, here are the ingredients for a cornbread mix which tastes just like Jiffy Mix...

2 Cups Flour
1 1/2 Cups Meal
4 1/2 Tablespoons Sugar
3 Tablespoons Baking Powder
3/4 Teaspoon Salt
3 Eggs
1 Cup Buttermilk
6 Tablespoons Grease

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3 months ago Karen C

This is a recipe I developed for a sweeter cornbread:
Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Coconut Cornbread
This cornbread still retains it's cornbread consistency, but is similar to a cake-and it smells heavenly!

1 lb. dried whole kernel corn, or 2 2/3 cups plain cornmeal
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup golden flax meal
1/4 cup almond meal
2 level tablespoons Rumford baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons honey
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup melted coconut oil, cooled slightly
1 can coconut milk

• Preheat oven to 400 degrees

• Grind and sift 1/2 pound corn to meal, and 1/2 pound to fine flour, if using whole corn, or use 2 2/3 cups plain cornmeal.

• Mix dry ingredients in large bowl. Sift to mix thoroughly.

• Mix beaten eggs, honey, cooled butter and milk; add all at once to dry mixture, stirring just until blended.

• Add more milk if desired to get proper consistency.

• Scrape into greased and floured pan, bake 30-35 minutes. Let rest a few minutes, then turn out onto a board. Serve hot with butter.

Makes 16 servings

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3 months ago Karen C

Here is a version of cornbread I developed, and have used for many years..
Gluten-Free Quick Buttermilk Cornbread
1 lb. plain white cornmeal, or 2 2/3 cups
1 cup fine corn flour (Masa Harina) (4.6 oz)
2 level tablespoons Rumford baking powder, or another variety without aluminum in the mix
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar, honey or Agave Nectar, or to taste (Optional, but very, very good with it)
3 large eggs, beaten, or 3 tablespoons chia, mixed with 12 tablespoons of water and allowed to gel
1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter or lard, melted and cooled
2 1/2 cups full-fat Bulgarian style buttermilk (Very important to get the full-fat buttermilk, even if you have to make your own, which is not hard at all)
2 teaspoons xanthan gum (optional)
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
Hot water to thin

• Preheat oven to 400°.

• Mix dry ingredients in large bowl.

• Mix beaten eggs, honey, cooled butter and milk; add all at once to dry mixture, stirring just until blended.

• Add more milk or hot water if desired to get proper consistency.

• Scrape into red hot greased #10 cast iron pan, bake 35 minutes, until a straw inserted into the bread comes out clean. Let rest a few minutes, then turn out onto a large cutting board. Serve hot with butter.

Pantry Mix:
5 lbs. cornmeal
5 cups corn flour (1 lb. 4.6 oz)
10 tablespoons Rumford Baking Powder
5 teaspoons salt

For an interesting variation, use Redd's Apple Ale for the hot water, and use Apple Flavored Deer Corn to grind for the cornmeal.



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3 months ago Dani Dudovick

And now for the big question, white or yellow? Not being from the south, I have no idea who regionally prefers which.

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4 months ago Karen C

I had to laugh, I've been making it this way for over 40 years. How do you know when the pan is hot enough? If you sit it on the back porch, it burns through the wood!

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4 months ago Regena

Finally a recipe for cornbread published without sugar in the mix. I grew up in the country in Tennessee. Never had it with sugar until a Boston Market came to town and have never willing had it again. To me, sugar makes it taste like a cake and I surely would not eat a cake with fried catfish. However,to each their own. Thanks for the authentic (to me)recipe.

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4 months ago karmaya

i have coarse grind Bob's Red Mill cornmeal -- i am quite confused about the different kinds of grinds. Will coarse be good for this? or if not, what?

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4 months ago Lionel

Kosher salt + bacon grease, cannot compute :-)

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4 months ago Lynne Holt Miller

I see it I'm sorry, but I don't have a nine, I have a 10, how should I adjust the cook time?

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4 months ago Lynne Holt Miller

Sounds good, what size skillet did you use?

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5 months ago Melissa Lee Borghorst

So good. Just like my first mother-in-law, Nita Gifford, made. Makes me want some pinto beans to go with it and use the cornbread to soak up the juice.

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6 months ago Brenda

Sounds just like the cornbread my Mama made when I was growing up n Alabama, but she used self-rising corn meal and no flour. That mixture makes fantastic hush puppies with a thinner batter and chopped onion and lots of black pepper; then deep fried in hot oil in a cast iron Dutch oven. Yummy.

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7 months ago Hark

Mine were a little dry. I did try to bake them in muffin tins, and I added some brown sugar, so one of those things probably messed them up. Just for all y'all's reference. Learn from my mistakes.

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7 months ago Embrosia

Probably baked too long. In muffin tin, 12- 15 minutes size would be plenty. Brown sugar usually makes things moister, not dry.

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7 months ago Jackie_Jackie

I know it's delicious, I know...but all I can think is my artheries clogging every time I see something being cooked with bacon grease.

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9 months ago walkie74

Hey Beth, would you please do a piece on hot water cornbread? A colleague of mine and I were talking about it today, and we both miss it. Thanks!

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10 months ago Beth

Sounds just like what I grew up with. If I do not have exact measurements, I can whip a cornbread with the 1 measure. 1 cup buttermilk, 1 cup cornmeal, 1 cup flour, 1 egg, about that amount (hollow of palm) baking powder and 1 tsp salt. I will try yours because it sounds very familiar and I remember cornbread and buttermilk. YUM.

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10 months ago ladyana

Can I use something other than a cast iron skillet? Would a baking tin suffice?

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10 months ago Embrosia

Bob, with almost any oil or butter you would get a good cornbread.. but without the special flavor of the bacon. You'd not use butter to grease the skillet & I'd say not olive oil but a high heat tolerant oil.

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10 months ago Bob Y

Lovely traditional corn bread. Could I substitute butter for the bacon grease? Some other oil/shortening? Thanks in advance.