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Jul 13, 2006 09:39 PM

"Southern Hospitality" Themed Food

Hi there, I've never been to the South before, and need some help. I've got a client (I work for a catering company in San Francisco) that wants to do a Southern Hospitality Buffet for a luncheon on October. Some menu items I'm thinking of are:

Cajun spiced rubbed Beef Roast
Chicken and Dumplings
Cajun-Andouille Sausages
Spicy Chicken Wings
Chicken Po-boy sandwiches
Barbecued Baby Back Ribs

cheese and crackers, and crudite w/dip

I'm sure there's lots of other things I can serve--can anyone help out and give me some suggestions? I don't want the food to be too messy, so I'd actually rather delete the ribs and come up with something else. Many thanks in advance for any and all suggestions!

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  1. Okay, most of what you've listed is "Cajun" and not "Southern".Even Southern in it's self has regional variations.

    For Southern (General):

    If you do ribs you're looking at side ribs, not BB's and cooked low and slow with smoke or over hardwood.

    Fried!! Any or all of fried chicken, catfish or chicken fried steak. All but the catfish would be served with milk gravy and mashed potatoes. There is also fried okra and believe it or not, fried dill pickles. Of course, there's fried green tomatoes as well.

    Greens. Either collards or mustard greens or something like that. Cooked to death I might add.

    White beans (Cooked similarly to the beans below). Creamed corn, squash casserole and/or sweet potato casserole.

    Green beans or black eyed peas cooked in a pot with a bit of onion and a smoked ham hock. 'Til the hock falls apart. Also, see "Hoppin' John"

    Cornbread. A must.

    Coleslaw and/or potato salad.

    Pulled pork (Or barbecue). On cheap burger buns with slaw and sauce.

    Some more regional stuff would be things like "Shrimp and grits" or Brunswick Stew. You could also look up "Frogmore Stew."

    Look up "Low Country Cooking"

    For desert try banana pudding (See back of 'Nilla Wafers package), pecan pie, peach cobbler and coconut cake.

    It's really very easy to google recipes on all of this stuff.


    4 Replies
    1. re: Davwud

      Yep, I was looking at a menu that was a New Orleans theme from a few years ago. But your info is EXTREMEMLY helpful, I really appreciate it!

      1. re: rednails

        Don't forget the sweet (iced) tea and lemonade


        1. re: Davwud

          Must add the suger while the tea is still hot to get the proper saturation!

          1. re: hokie2009

            I usually use 1 3/4 cups of sugar to make a gallon of sweet tea. Don't forget the lemon slices.

    2. Sounds fun! I hope they're not too health-conscious.

      I would suggest getting some books - The Blue Willow Inn Bible of Southern Cooking and Mrs. Wilkes' Boarding House Cookbook. Oh, and I love Sylvia's Family Soul Food Cookbook, Paula Deen's cookbooks and Party Receipts from the Charleston Junior League.

      One of the highlights of southern food are the vegetables - peas, squash, corn, limas, beans, tomatoes, okra - I notice you have only meat on your list. I'm not sure if you want to go down-home or upscale, but I would skip the fried chicken (too obvious and people can get it at a fast food joint) and go with something like pulled BBQ pork. I think the Cajun-spiced beef roast would be popular and easy from a catering standpoint, as would Jambalaya. I agree with the PP's ideas of cornbread, coleslaw, greens, squash casserole, and the desserts and iced tea (Davwud's post made me so hungry!), but I know you are also trying to appeal to the palate of Californians as well as the constraints of catering (i.e., sometimes it's hard to fry food and take it somewhere).

      Another thing you could do is ham and biscuits, if you make the biscuits small enough, it can be a finger food. Baked macaroni and cheese is also popular.

      Frogmore Stew (also called Lowcountry boil in parts outside of SC) is probably too messy but is wonderful - you must try it sometime at home to entertain some close friends. If you were to serve a very tasty shrimp and grits, it would be something that people will talk about for a while.

      Instead of crudites you could serve pickled okra or pickled green beans - they are yummy!

      To Davwud's dessert suggestions I would add Red Velvet Cake or pound cake.

      Good luck! I would love to be there to see how it all turns out.

      1. Don't forget the deviled eggs. They're required for a Southern buffet.

        1 Reply
        1. re: kathleen purvis

          Yes, with sweet pickle relish in them.


        2. Brunswick stew is very southern and easy to do for a catering job.

          1. I think buttermilk bisuits are just as important as cornbread. The country ham biscuit is an ideal way to work them in. I would also add that I have eaten deviled eggs for a lifetime, and recently had some with crumbled bacon...WOW! Why did I not think of that before.

            Looks like you are on your way.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Chapel Will

              Hey, that's my deviled egg recipe! ;) I like to add a little crumbled bacon and grated sharp cheddar cheese.