Dining

The Best of Southern Month

Recipes, ingredients and travel ideas guaranteed to get the real South in your mouth
Photo: Lizzie Munro/Tasting Table
Biscuits and Gravy

You're a busy person with plenty of things on your plate, and it's up to us to make sure they're all delicious. Our editors spent the past month cooking up tales of the best recipes, cocktails, restaurants, bars and chefs the South has to offer, and we don't want you to miss a single bite.

Here's a buffet of the month's best.

It all starts with biscuits: Fluffy, flaky and endlessly toppable. First, master the method with our photo guide and recipe, then slather 'em with our favorite spreads like pimento cheese, whipped honey, fancy jelly and more. Double down on comfort with a velvety, sausage-studded sawmill gravy, followed by a nap on a sunny porch. And if you don't use up all your buttermilk making batch after batch of biscuits, we have a few clever ways to do just that.

Speaking of buttermilk, do you have the right bottle in your fridge? Our expert shopping list of 13 Southern staples like said traditional buttermilk, plus sorghum, bourbon and Carolina rice, will make sure you've got the real taste of the South in your mouth.

And if you're not a country ham fan yet, trot over to our guide to buying the best artisan slices and whole hams, and you're sure to become one. Same goes for crawfish: If our guide to getting the most of mudbugs doesn't make you want to throw a great big boil with all your friends, well, we just can't wrap our heads around that.

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Where would the South be without its signature hospitality? Invite over a mess of buddies for a generous brunch featuring roasted sweet potato buttermilk hotcakes, a sophisticated spin on stuffed celery sticks, plus plenty more. The menu comes courtesy of Raleigh chef Ashley Christensen—one of the 10 game-changing Southern chefs we think you ought to know better.

Christensen sure didn't neglect adult beverages in her brunch roundup, and that's par for the course in the South. Charleston restaurateur and stylish fella Brooks Reitz is just one of the forward-thinking mixologists our drinks editor, Jim Meehan, says is stirring up the region. In that spirit, he shared this list of five cities that are doing right by cocktails and where you should drink in each one of them.

Feel free to chart a trip around Meehan's picks and also point your GPS toward Richmond, Virginia, North Carolina's Triangle (Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill) and Winston-Salem. Local experts generously shared their top picks for eating, drinking and food shopping in each city, so you don't waste a single bite or sip while you're in the South.

That oughta stir your soul, and perhaps you can channel that into a batch of the most perfect stone-ground grits ever. Nail down the formula and then make them your own with inspired add-ins to make them sweet, cheesy, Italian, green and, of course, definitively Southern.

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