Memphis in May

Soon after the National Cornbread Cook-Off, another great Tennessee festival takes place at the opposite end of the state. Memphis in May will celebrate the unique culture of this grand old Mississippi River town. In addition, the festival pays tribute to another country. This year the festival will honor Colombia, showcasing the country’s food and culture.

The month kicks-off with the Beale Street Music Festival which celebrates the music of African-American musicians who have been coming to Memphis’ Beale Street to perform since the1800’s. The festival features well-known artists performing with local musical acts.

In late May, the festival will host The World Champion Barbecue Contest – the largest pork barbecue competition in the world. The cuts, rub, sauce, wood and preparation methods come together to produce amazing varieties, the merits of each hotly debated among aficionados.  And I must pay tribute to those small pit masters who patiently perfect their craft for local tastes and inspire our love for barbecue.

Barbecue sides like slaw, beans, pickles, white bread, cornbread or hushpuppies are another matter for debate and vary all over the South. Not surprising is my love of barbecue on cornbread – the true inspiration for my Open Face Barbecue Sandwich on Jalapeno Cornbread recipe.  I was in Memphis recently and saw that a local barbecue restaurant is making an appetizer featuring layers of crumbled cornbread, beans, slaw, barbecue and sauce. Wish I had thought of that!

BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger Muffins

This post was written by our friend, Stephanie, at Plain Chicken.

BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger Muffins are a favorite in our house. We eat them for a quick lunch or dinner. They only take a few minutes to make and they taste fantastic!

These BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger Muffins start with a packet of Martha White® Buttermilk Cornbread Mix. I love the Martha White mixes! They are such a time saver! I doctored up the muffin mix with some flour and an egg. Then I added in hamburger meat, BBQ sauce, bacon and cheese. OMG! Let me tell you, these were crazy good! We ate them for lunch, but they would also be good for parties. Serve them with some chips or French fries for a meal and you’re guaranteed to please everyone!


BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger Muffins

12 muffins

1 (6-oz) package Martha White Buttermilk Cornbread & Muffin Mix

½ cup flour

¾ cup water or milk

1 egg

½ lb ground beef

½ cup BBQ sauce

4 slices cooked bacon, chopped

1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese


Preheat oven to 425º F. Lightly spray a muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

In a skillet over medium-high heat, cook ground beef until no longer pink. Drain fat. Stir in BBQ sauce and bacon.

Mix together muffin mix, flour, water/milk and egg. Stir in beef mixture. Stir in cheese.

Pour batter into prepared muffin pan.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.


Reinvent Corn Cakes as Stylish Appetizers

As many of you know, Martha White® has been associated with bluegrass and country music for many years beginning in the early 50’s. During that time, we were planning a release party for a new bluegrass album. We wanted food reminiscent of the roots of Bluegrass, but with a little flair, too. My friend Mindy suggested we serve mini corn cakes topped with barbecue. I thought it was a fabulous idea and so did the guests.

Of course, in the intervening years, we’ve seen creative chefs reinvent traditional Southern recipes in an amazing variety of creative ways. I’ve been so impressed by young cooks who are serving traditional Southern food, like grits, collards, fried green tomatoes and catfish, in their trendy restaurants. These talented chefs, along with cookbook writers and traditional home cooks, have reminded us to pass on our food heritage to the next generation.

There are so many wonderful examples of how simple recipes like corn cakes can be transformed into a delectable appetizer. My favorite is Roasted Corn and Red Pepper Corn Cakes with Avocado Salsa. Enjoy!