Can we talk about Southern food for a hot minute? I grew up surrounded by it. I immersed myself in it. Heck, we had fried chicken as our entree at our wedding. It is delicious. It is good for the soul. It is creative, and resourceful. It is meant to be enjoyed over long Sunday suppers with your people. It has heart and sabor and it’s never so fru-fru that you don’t know what you’re eating.
But, but, but. Southern food is o b s e s s e d with lard. And, listen, I get it. Lard has a lot of sabor. But it gives me hives, y’all. So it also means that whenever I eat my beloved Southern food I have to ask whether it has pork in it, and the answer for most things from black eyed peas to gravy, is the most unfortunate yes.
And yes, even most cornbread has traces of bacon grease or lard in it, so I almost never venture to order it because I’m scared I’ll see it, smell it, and knowwww that one delicious bite will make me sick. Thankfully, most of the people I grew up around in the South didn’t eat lard or pork either. My Grandma Marty (you can read more about her here) used to make fried cornbread to go with her tomato soup. These little rounds of goodness are flavor chameleons: you can pile them high with goods, or use them to scoop up the juice and flavor of the foods around them.
I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves, but here are three reasons why I like fried cornbread:
- I am impatient and these are ready in 10-15 minutes
- They are crunchy, and I loveee crunchy textures.
- They taste good savory or sweet.
In order to make up for the texture that lard gives cornbread I subbed coconut oil for the lard. They have really similar consistencies and I couldn’t taste the coconut in them. If you are really sensitive to coconut flavors, I would suggest using melted margarine or avocado oil. And okay, lardies, if that’s your thing, you can skip the subbing and lather it on.
I also used a little bit of gluten free all-purpose flour (my fave is from TJ’s, duh) to give mine a little extra rise. These won’t be fluffy light oven cornbread, but the all purpose flour does help to give them a little volume boost and adds some soft texture to the graininess of cornmeal.
When you’re cooking them, make sure to not overcrowd the pan. If you put too many in your cast-iron it will lower the heat which will affect your cook time. These fried corn bites are meant to be kind of rustic and simple, so don’t worry if your shapes are inconsistent.
Here is some inspiration of two different ways I eat my fried cornbread. First up: I loveeeee to use them to mop up all the delicious juices from pinto beans. In my head, these two flavors are fused together and meant to be.
I also love them loaded with fruit and sprinkled with honey. I am not much of a sweet breakfasts kind of gal, but these are d e l i c i o u s. Between the savory and crunchy exterior of the fried cornbread, and the natural sweetness of the fruit (plus some tart flavors in there) they’re really something else. It also doesn’t hurt that they look beautiful, because as we all know, food that looks beautiful tastes better.
I hope you all enjoy these simple bites as much as I do! If you make them, be sure and let me know how it goes for you.
Love & Fried Southern Food Without Lard,