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Greatest Hushpuppies

cuccubear Mar 25, 2009 01:49 PM

Simple question - Where can one find the best hushpuppies?

It might seem a bourgeois pursuit, but I thought it would be good, once and for all, to get a thread going, regardless or region and regardless of hushpuppy style, about where to find the greatest among those stifled canines! :-)

My opening entry is Darrell's Restaurant in Manteo, NC. We order baskets of them with every meal, keep 'em coming! Rich, soft and buttery, with onion and a crispy, crunchy coating.

  1. d
    Diane in Bexley Apr 2, 2009 08:53 AM

    So, I have a question related to hushpuppies. I think my mother and late grandmother made their equivalent for years without really knowing it. We called it "cookie". Mom & Grandma were Holocaust survivors originally from Hungary and terrific cooks. They never wasted anything and knew how to serve 6 people with $5 worth of food.

    They made a breading for fish/chicken/cutlets with beaten egg, seasoned white flour and seasoned bread crumbs. When the protein was adequately breaded in each of the three bowls, they dumped the flour and crumbs into the eggs, beat them a little and fried it off. Was this Hungarian style Hushpuppies?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Diane in Bexley
      alkapal Apr 2, 2009 09:01 AM

      cornmeal, onions, self-rising flour, and egg to bind, and milk or water. we never added sugar, like this recipe does: http://southernfood.about.com/cs/frit...

      no bread crumbs in hushpuppies, but your family recipe sounds like a good hungarian equivalent. sounds like a realistic "origin" of the fried dough balls, too -- as a use for leftover ingredients. always, the hushpuppies are cooked in the oil in which the fish has already fried.

      1. re: alkapal
        Will Owen Apr 2, 2009 11:37 AM

        Well, it's a darn good way to use up any leftover breading ingredients, isn't it? In both cases. How convenient that it tastes good too! If the common story of hushpuppies' origin is at all true, that they were tossed to the dogs to make them stop begging vocally for fish, it must not have been long before someone took an experimental taste an found it good.

    2. Morganna Apr 2, 2009 07:11 AM

      Up here in Vermont, the best place is my kitchen. ;) I can't stand the hushpuppies anywhere else. They're either too big, or have strange ingredients, or leave out important ingredients that incorporate flavour into them. :)

      4 Replies
      1. re: Morganna
        alkapal Apr 2, 2009 08:40 AM

        morganna, i love ya girl, but hushpuppies don't have "flavour."

        they've got "flay-vah!" {:^D.

        1. re: alkapal
          Morganna Apr 2, 2009 10:29 AM

          *laugh* You know, I got in the habit of spelling flavor with the British style decades ago. I can't seem to get myself out of it! Still, you're right, I'm saying it completely wrong. ;D

        2. re: Morganna
          cuccubear Apr 2, 2009 09:06 AM

          There’s nothing like homemade...
          I’ll add “Morganna’s House” to the “list”. Don’t be surprised if hush puppy chowhounds are running around Vermont calling out your name...:-)

          1. re: cuccubear
            Morganna Apr 2, 2009 10:32 AM

            *snicker* That sounds like fun. There's going to be a rash of people getting lost in the woods and rangers having to rescue them. "Foodies from across the nation keep getting lost in the Vermont wilderness searching for the elusive 'Morganna' and her hushpuppies." ;D

        3. b
          billyjack Apr 2, 2009 06:33 AM

          Around here, stop in at any place with "Fish Camp" on the sign. The Charlotte Observer just had a list of a few local places with good hushpuppies (not that I agreed with all of them).

          Actually some of my favorite were in the mountains in Banner Elk, NC. Mike's Inland Seafood had awesome pups. That location is gone but I believe there is one in Boone.

          1. Will Owen Mar 30, 2009 04:49 PM

            We worked a charity function for many years in Nashville, an annual party called Oyster Easter, with giant piles of raw oysters and sides of Cajun-style boil-up of corn, potatoes and sausage. There were always pans of good bread, too, but what everybody stacked on his or her plate were the hushpuppies from Captain D's! One year - and I'm not clear on the details - for some reason we were hushpuppyless, maybe because Captain D's declined to donate them. Whatever it was, we never heard the last of it, and never made that mistake again. They really are good, though - or were last time I had one! - just the right size, good texture, vaguely sinful flavor. I also like the dolled-up ones some of the catfish houses serve, with little depth charges of red pepper and kernels of corn mixed in. The best were at the long-defunct Catfish Cabin chain.

            6 Replies
            1. re: Will Owen
              lynnlato Mar 31, 2009 03:32 AM

              Hey Will, have you ever had a conch fritter? Kind of like a hushpuppy but w/ minced conch. They are quite common in South Cackalacky (SC).

              1. re: lynnlato
                Will Owen Mar 31, 2009 11:24 AM

                I still have conch only in my future! My limited East Coast travels have taken me no farther south than Ocracoke, but I really want to visit Charleston, Savannah, and everywhere in between. St. Pete, too. Preferably while I still have my teeth and good digestion...

                1. re: Will Owen
                  alkapal Apr 2, 2009 06:13 AM

                  from this floridian, i'd say, take (at least) 5x as much time in charleston as any other place on your list -- esp. st. pete. (and i can talk that way, as a floridian.....you know, it's like you'd better not trash talk my sister, but i certainly can give her grief!!! ;-).

              2. re: Will Owen
                cuccubear Mar 31, 2009 06:28 AM

                I've had those too and they _were_ good, but our local Capt' D' closed. Now that I think of it, the only hushpuppies available in these parts just might be at LJS's. Haven't been there for years, but I'm dubious...

                1. re: cuccubear
                  Will Owen Mar 31, 2009 11:28 AM

                  Long John's are OK too. We had Captain D's because they were based in Nashville, and the influential folks on our party committee could shake them down, oops, I mean solicit a charitable contribution from them of a few hundred hushpuppies. I think LJS is up in Louisville or somewhere...

                2. re: Will Owen
                  b
                  browniebaker Apr 2, 2009 07:29 PM

                  I agree: Captain D's hushpuppies cannot be beat. I grew up on them, right in Nashville where Captain D's started. These days I live near DC, but I will drive an hour to Manassas, VA, or even farther to other parts of VA, just to have some of those hushpuppies.

                3. BeaN Mar 29, 2009 05:37 PM

                  Alas, although I am a southern girl I must admit that the very best hushpuppy I have ever eaten is not far removed from the worst hushpuppy I've ever eaten. I think of them as filler at a fish fry to make the fish go further.

                  1. LA Buckeye Fan Mar 29, 2009 09:37 AM

                    Well let me first start by acknowleging that I am from Southern California, so I don't know a good hush puppy from a hole in the ground. But that being said, I love the hot pups (hush puppies with jalapeno) from Les Sisters restuarant in the San Fernando Valley. An abomination? perhaps. But its all I know.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: LA Buckeye Fan
                      bayoucook Mar 29, 2009 10:51 AM

                      As a life-long southerner, I can tell you that they come all ways here - of course with jalapeno, corn, even fresh tomato. They're at their best when they've been cooked in the same grease as the fried fish, but we frequently make up a batch as a snack or appetizer. It's fun to serve them with different sauces too. It's a staple down here!

                      1. re: bayoucook
                        Catskillgirl Apr 2, 2009 11:31 AM

                        Would that be the same as a corn fritter? I live in upstate NY and we don't have hush puppies here. Although as a kid I remember having some at the Friday night fish fries common in Western NY.

                        1. re: Catskillgirl
                          lynnlato Apr 2, 2009 06:46 PM

                          Afraid not, Catskillgirl. A hushpuppy is kind of like little fried cornbread balls or crescents.

                          Corn fritters are a whole other creature, albeit a darn good one too. ;-)

                          1. re: Catskillgirl
                            alkapal Apr 3, 2009 03:27 AM

                            catskill girl, maybe you can get an idea of hushpuppies from these photos:
                            http://images.google.com/images?clien...

                            do your upstate new york fritters involve cornmeal?

                      2. mcsheridan Mar 25, 2009 04:30 PM

                        I think lynnlato nailed it; the best hushpuppy isn't a 'where', it's a 'when'. Your first hushpuppy lives on in your mind. :)

                        Now that I've got *that* out of the way...I hope someone chimes in with good ones somewhere *near* NJ.

                        1. lynnlato Mar 25, 2009 01:54 PM

                          As long as they are the right size, not too sweet, crispy on the outside, soft and warm on the inside and have onion than they are a great hushpuppy in my book. The best I can remember was my first hushpuppy 13 yrs ago at a fish fry at a friend's house in Statesville NC. I had just moved to NC from PA and knew very little about southern food. These hushpuppies were home made and their were tons of them - mmmm, so good.

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