The name “hush puppies” has always made me laugh because it reminds me of those retro ads for men’s shoes with the adorable Basset Hound. For the life of me, I can’t remember the first time I tried them and I thought it would be fun to make them with my kids. We had a lot of fun making these tonight, as we did some research on the origin of the name and how they became so popular. The stories of their history are endless and many are just plain hilarious. I found a great article called “The Real History of Hushpuppies” and while it is a long read, I highly recommend it. My favorite version is the one where people on fishing trips would begin cooking their catch, and their hounds would howl and yap in anticipation, so the cooks would fry bits of dough in the fryer and throw them to the puppies to hush them. Hey, it works for me and it worked with my dog tonight. Vinny, (my huge wiener dog) loves to bark at me while I cook in hopes I will throw him some love. Tonight I caved and gave him a small hush puppy, which he loved and it indeed stopped him from barking. Miracle. Speaking of which, I do not know if hush puppies is one word or two, as I have seen both. Anyway, it should be noted that many states claim to be the birthplace of the hush puppy in the same way that there are so many variations of how they got their name. At the end of the day, all that matters is how doggone good they are.
This was my first time making these from scratch (I used a box mix once or twice before, lazy I know) and I can’t believe how dang easy they were. I will never buy a box mix again because not only are these cheaper, they taste so much better and for that I can thank Martha Stewart. I found her recipe on Pinterest and figured it would be delish. Simply whip up a batter made from corn meal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, Cayenne pepper, an egg, buttermilk and fresh grated onion and then deep fry these little balls of goodness. Serve warm with either hot sauce or a dipping sauce of your choice. I splashed mine with my current favorite hot sauce of the moment made by a local restaurant in Tampa by the name of Roux. (We will visit Roux when I get to Louisiana)
Ok, so I am really not sure why these are called “Arkansas Hush Puppies” but I am thrilled to feature them as part of my Arkansas recipe collection. I have more fun stuff coming this weekend like a fun cocktail and possum pie so be sure and come back ya hear!
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- Coarse salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
- 3 tablespoons grated onion with juice
- Vegetable or peanut oil, for frying (about 2 quarts)
- Whisk together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt, and the cayenne. Whisk together egg, buttermilk, and onion. Stir egg mixture into cornmeal mixture. Batter will be as thick as a heavy pancake batter.
- Heat 4 inches oil in a large heavy pot or Dutch oven over high heat until a deep-fry thermometer reaches 360 degrees. Working in batches, drop batter by the tablespoon into oil. Cook, turning occasionally, until cooked through and deep golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. (Adjust heat so that temperature remains constant.) Transfer hush puppies to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet. Serve warm.