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Sidemeat, Hogshead biscuits?

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Am reading Dorothy Allison's stories about growing up poor in the South. She mentions sidemeat and grits and hogshead biscuits (as a side with chicken fried steak or ham with red-eye gravy).

What are sidemeat and hogshead biscuits?

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  1. My mom used to cook sidemeat for us now and then. I haven't seeen any in the store in like forever, but a fellow in my church was cooking some once when I went to visit him. It's sort of like bacon, thicker with more meat on it. My mom used to cook it under the broiler--the only time I remember her ever using the broiler.

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    1. re: revsharkie

      My DH was born and raised in Tennessee. His mother used to make "cat head's biscuits", biscuit dough that was dropped on the cookie sheet instead of being rolled and cut. I'm wondering if "hogshead" biscuits are another term for the same thing or perhaps it's a biscuit with bits of ham mixed into the dough. Will have to research that idea...DH pronounced "hogshead" an unknown word."Sidemeat" to him was just what revsharkie said.

    2. Based on a quick wiki and google search I think (or better said - guess)
      - a hogshead is a large wooden barrel, the kind used for shipping and storage of bulk goods and liquids
      - beaten biscuits were a hard cracker, more like hardtack than homemade biscuits (similar to pilot bread on the coast)
      - hogshead biscuits were these biscuits sold out of a barrel in the general store - the cracker barrel
      - Side Meat is a character in the Riders in the Sky musical group (the cowboy with the battered hat and excess saliva)
      - sidemeat is probably better known today as pork belly, though I don't know if it was curred or not. Maybe it was salted but not smoked - salt pork.

      paulj

      4 Replies
      1. re: paulj

        I grew up in SE Georgia and my grandmother would cook side meat for us. I believe it is pork belly and it was salted, not smoked. We also called it salt pork or fatback. She fried it in an iron skillet, like bacon. It was really salty, very greasy, and the "rind" which I guess was skin would get extremely hard.

        1. re: alliedawn_98

          On a recent camping trip in Canada I found some smoked pork jowl. This is from the neck, just in front of the port shoulder. This piece was about 6" square, and included the rind. It was about as fatty as a medium quality bacon. I sliced it thin, and usually cut off the rind, dicing the rest. The thing strips of rind were edible if fried real crisp.
          paulj

          1. re: alliedawn_98

            Yeah, I remember how hard that one side of it got. I haven't seen any anywhere for years, except that one time when I was at Lucky's house and he was cooking some. He was frying it in a skillet, very slow.

            1. re: alliedawn_98

              In Mississippi, we called it streak o'lean ---- from the one narrow strip of lean meat in the middle of the fat. My grandmother would fry it up and serve it with veggies out of the garden.