It was a beautiful weekend for the 20th Annual National Cornbread Festival in South Pittsburg, TN. – the home of Lodge® Cast Iron. Cornbread lovers flocked to the small town to celebrate the perfect marriage of cornbread and cast iron.
Martha White® invited five past cook-off judges – all cornbread experts – to compete for a donation to their favorite food related charity. The competitors prepared an original appetizer recipe made with corn meal or a cornbread mix and cooked in cast iron. Every recipe was so creative, and the judges had a challenge to select a winner. After much deliberation, Bob Carlton, a food writer for The Birmingham News, was declared the winner for his Bob’s Bama Hoecake Sliders. He selected Magic City Harvest and Jones Valley Teaching Farm to share the $2,000.00 donation.
In addition to being delicious, part of the charm of Bob’s recipe is his use of Southern ingredients. Bob created his appetizer sliders by making little buttermilk hoecakes using Martha White Self-Rising Flour to use as bun, filled with pimento cheese, local smoked sausage and spicy pickles.
BOB’S BAMA HOECAKE SLIDERS
2 cups Martha White® Self-Rising White Enriched Corn Meal Mix
1 large egg
1¾ cups buttermilk
¼ cup Crisco® Vegetable Oil
2 to 3 tablespoons of Crisco® All-Vegetable Shortening (optional)
12-ounce container of pimento cheese (your favorite brand or see recipe below)
1 pound of smoked sausage
1 16-ounce jar of spicy pickle slices
Beat egg in medium bowl. Add buttermilk, vegetable oil and corn meal mix and stir until smooth. Set aside.
Slice smoked sausage into 2-inch pieces. Then slice pieces lengthwise to cut in half. Set aside.
If making your own pimento cheese, follow the recipe below or use a favorite family recipe.
Cut individual pickle slices into quarters. Set aside.
Heat a 12-inch Lodge Cast Iron skillet (or a Lodge Cast Iron griddle) over medium to medium high-heat.
After skillet gets hot, add the sliced sausage and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. After sausage reaches the desired degree of doneness, remove from skillet and let drain on paper towel. Repeat this step until all of the sausage is cooked.
Leave sausage drippings in skillet and (while skillet is still hot) begin dropping heaping spoonfuls of corn meal mixture into skillet to create medallion-sized hoecakes (about 2 inches in diameter).
Brown for about 1 to 1-1/2 minutes and then flip. Brown other side for 1 to 1-1/2 minutes and then remove hoecakes.
Place on a cookie sheet and keep warm in oven on low heat (about 200 degrees). Repeat this step until all of the corn meal mix is cooked. If sausage drippings run out, add 1 tablespoon of shortening to the pan for each batch of hoecakes.
To build the hoecake sliders, take one hoecake and spread with pimento cheese. Top with two slices of sausage and about four of the pickle quarters. Spread pimento cheese on another hoecake and then place it on top to create a small sandwich or slider. Hold it together with a toothpick if necessary. Repeat this step until you have used all of the ingredients.
Serve immediately and enjoy.
Makes 16 servings
Optional pimento cheese recipe:
8 ounces of sharp white cheddar cheese
8 ounces of red-wax hoop cheese
2-ounce jar of diced pimentos, drained
1/3 cup of mayonnaise
2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
Grate cheese into large mixing bowl. Add mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce and pimentos and stir thoroughly until all ingredients are blended. Serve immediately or store in a sealed, plastic container in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.
Lodge is a trademark of Lodge Manufacturing Company.
National Cornbread Festival is a trademark of National Cornbread Festival, Inc.