Make some Cracklin Bread the next time a loved one is having a bad day, just like Calpurnia did on Scout's first day of school in To Kill a Mockingbird.
Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my favorite books and movies. I have enjoyed both multiple times.
In the story, the protagonist, a girl nicknamed Scout, comes home after a horrible first day of school. The maid/cook/nanny Calpurnia makes one of her favorites to cheer her up, Cracklin' Bread.
Cracklin Bread is a quick bread made without flour, just cornmeal, making it a bit dense. If you'd rather just add some cracklings to a lighter cornbread, here's Grandma Ruth's cornbread recipe.
I did not have enough Cracklings on hand when I made this so I threw in some bacon for extra smoky deliciousness. Pork fat rules!
What are Cracklings?
No Spell Checker, there is no "g" at the end. At least you do not pronounce it in the South.
Cracklings are the leftover bits after you render the fat from pork. Technically it can also be the leftover solids from beef or chicken fat as well. But, in the American South it is almost always pork.
The Difference Between Cracklings and Pork Rinds and Chicharrons?
Chicharrons and pork rinds are fried pork skin, made without the fat attached.
Cracklings can have some skin but they have more fat and even a little meat.
Where to get Cracklings?
You might be able to buy some at your local grocery store, but they are quite easy to make at home, and as a bonus you get some lard to add wonderful flavor to other dishes.
I will often remove excess fat from a piece of pork and save it in a zip to lock bag in the freezer until I have a cup or more to render.
- Cut the fat off a piece of pork and chop into small pieces.
- Place in a saucepan or skillet and cook over medium heat.
- Keep cooking, stirring occasionally until the fat has melted and you have brown bits left.
- Strain the liquid fat (lard) and save for other recipes. I freeze mine in a zip to lock bag.
- Use the solids in this recipe.
More Southern Food Recipes from #OurFamilyTable
Do you want more recipes from the heart of Dixie? Here are some delicious Southern Food recipes to try:
- Bacon & Pimento Cheese Burgers from The Spiffy Cookie
- Bacon and Cracklin Bread from That Recipe
- Blackened Mahi Mahi from Art of Natural Living
- Pimento Cheese Macaroni Salad from A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures
- Skillet Shrimp Boil from Cindy's Recipes and Writings
- Slow Cooker Baby Back Ribs from Karen's Kitchen Stories
- South Carolina Bird Dogs from Palatable Pastime
- Southern Fried Potatoes from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Southern Style Hush Puppies from Jen Around the World
- 2 tablespoons bacon grease
- 2 cups cornmeal
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup cracklings or bacon or combination of both (see note)
- Preheat oven to 450°F
- In a cast iron skilled, melt bacon grease over medium heat. Remove from heat.
- In a medium bowl add 2 cups cornmeal.
- Add baking powder and salt. Stir to combine.
- Make a well in the dry ingredients. Pour in buttermilk.
- Add eggs. Quickly whip eggs in the center of the well to break eggs then mix to combine all ingredients. Mixture should be about the consistency of pancake batter. Add extra buttermilk if needed.
- Stir in melted bacon grease, cracklings and/or bacon
- Pour mixture into cast iron skillet. Bake at 450° F until starting to turn brown, 20-25 minutes.
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Until next time, happy eating!