Hush Puppies

The origin of the hush puppy is an interesting story. According to Mrs. H. R. Dull from her 1941 edition of Southern Cooking, “Hush puppy is a Southern dish cooked at all fish frys and hunting trips. At first they were made to feed the hungry, howling hounds or hunting dogs to keep them quiet, hence ‘hush puppy.’ Later they were more carefully made and eaten by the entire party. This old colonial custom has been handed down to the present day.“

  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
  • 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Peanut oil for frying

Sift together the cornmeal, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Stir in the onions, buttermilk, and egg until thoroughly mixed.

Fill a cast iron skillet half way with oil. Using a frying/candy thermometer heat the oil to 350 degrees. It’s preferable to use the same skillet and oil where you’ve just fried fish. Gently drop the batter by spoonfuls, measuring about two teaspoons, into the hot oil. Fry until golden brown turning once. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels and serve hot.

Note: I use an iced tea spoon, which has a long handle, for dipping and placing the hush puppy batter in the oil. I also keep a cup of water nearby so I can dip the spoon in water after dropping each pup in the oil. This prevents the batter from sticking to the spoon. Be careful not to splatter the oil. It will burn you. Instead of dropping the hush puppy batter, you’re actually placing the batter in the oil. Turn the hush puppies earlier than you think. When frying they tend to get bottom heavy and will not always turn easily.