Angel Biscuits North Carolina Buttermilk Biscuits Deer Camp Gravy Cracked Pepper Gravy Howdy, Howdy, Howdy! Here we go with a new year again folks! When I was a little bitty redneck they seemed to jes’ crawl by, but since I’ve passed my 60th birthday some four years and nine months ago, they seem to be moving at "warp speed"! (Don’t beam me up Scotty I’m having too much fun!) I remember a conversation between Keith Little and myself when I turned 41, back in March of 1979. Keith was 24 at the time and he said to me, "Boy, J.D. you’re really getting old!" Whereupon I replied, "Son, you’re gonna be my age before you know it, and it’ll seem like two weeks!" Well, here two years ago Keith and I were visiting during the IBMA week in Louisville and I reminded him of our conversation back in 1979. I said, "Keith, aren’t you going to be 45 this December? Where did 21 years go? Seems like two weeks ago when I turned 41 doesn’t it?" He answered, "You’re right, J.D. But you know 45 doesn’t seem that old when you get there!" Heck, 65 doesn’t seem that old until you try to do some of the things you did at 45! (Like walk, run, or lay down without hurting!) But be that as it may, I ain’t ready to quit, so let the years roll! We’re just getting started, so cinch ‘er down tight and let ‘em buck! Well, it’s the second week of December as I write this month’s column, and it looks like we’re finally gonna get some winter weather. I’ve got a big pot of real Cowboy Coffee on the stove, so come on in here where its nice and warm, pour yourself a big mug of "good to go" and we’ll palaver over some vittle fixins! During the Veterans’ Day Festival in Woodland this year a gentleman who is a member of our fine organization asked me if I would feature some recipes for biscuits and gravy. I informed him that he had just stepped into "my office"! The two things that I love best after God, Country and family are Biscuits and Gravy! A big plate full of biscuits and gravy will bring out the "redneck" in just about anybody! Daddy always said, "You show me someone who don’t like biscuits and gravy and I’ll show you someone who ain’t worth knowing". Pretty much everybody I know is worth knowing, ‘cause I know they sure like my biscuits and gravy! Here are two of my all time favorite recipes for biscuits. I featured this first one back in June of 2002, but here it is again. These come out so light and fluffy I call ‘em Angel Biscuits. Angel Biscuits 5 cups flour 3/4 cup shortening 1 TBSP baking soda 3 TBSP sugar 3 TBSP baking powder 2 cups buttermilk 1 cake or package of yeast dissolved in 1/2 cup of water Mix dry stuff. Cut in shortening. Mix in buttermilk and yeast. Turn out and knead some. Roll out and cut biscuits. Cover and let rise for 15-20 minutes in a warm place. Bake at 400º F until nice and brown. These make the lightest biscuits you’ll ever have! They are absolutely heavenly with butter and homemade Apple Butter on ‘em too! This recipe is great for company because it makes a lot of biscuits! I can’t remember where I got this next recipe for biscuits. I think I cut it out of a newspaper some 10-12 years ago. I usually write the origin of each recipe in the corner of the card, but I failed to do so on this one. But, wherever it came from, I’m glad I’ve got it to share here with you folks. Since the recipe came from North Carolina, I know that John Murphy will probably lay claim to it, but he only wishes he could make biscuits this good! North Carolina Buttermilk Biscuits 3 cups flour 1 tsp. Salt 1 TBSP baking powder 1/2 tsp. Baking soda 1/4 cup shortening 1 1/4 cup buttermilk 1 egg white, beaten Mix dry stuff together. Cut in shortening. Mix in buttermilk. Turn out on a floured surface and knead lightly. Roll out 1/2" thick, cut and place on a lightly greased pan or skillet. Punch tops with a fork lightly and brush with egg white. Bake at 450º F for 8-12 minutes or until golden brown. Now there is some real North Carolina redneck, gourmet eatin’! John Murphy comes from North Carolina and when he was about 18 or 20 years old, someone asked him if he was a gourmet. John said, "Heck no! I’m a Baptist! My whole family is, you know that!" That’s telling ‘em John! I’ve been interested in fixing vittles all of my life, so as a result I’ve read and collected recipes and cookbooks from all over the world. French cooking is acknowledged to be some of the finest there is by a lot of folks, and that includes this ol' redneck. The one thing that the French stress in all of their cooking is that "the sauce" is what makes the meal. And of course, they’re right. What the sauce is to French cooking "Gravy" is to Redneck Vittles! You can whip up the finest, highest, tastiest biscuits in the world, but if you pour thin, watery gravy on ‘em, I’d hate to be in your boots! The perfect gravy is nice and thick and velvety smooth (with no lumps in it), with a rich, creamy taste. My favorite is made with some of the grease and "the leavins’" in the skillet from frying chicken. Chicken gravy is hard to beat! Here are two of my favorite Gravy recipes of all time. This first one is one that I’ve cooked over a campfire more times than I can remember. I know for a fact whenever I’d cook this for the boys in our hunting camp I never wanted for firewood or water! They’d fetch all I needed. All I had to do was fix ‘em some biscuits and gravy. Deer Camp Gravy 3 or 4 TBSP bacon drippings or lard 4 or 5 TBSP flour 1 12-oz can evaporated milk, plus 1/2 can water Salt and pepper to taste Heat the drippings in a heavy cast iron skillet over the fire. Stir in the flour and cook until browned nicely. Add milk and water; cook, stirring with a spatula, constantly or until thickened to suit. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve right now! You take about four Buttermilk Biscuits; tear ‘em up just right. Then slather some of this "redneck sauce" over ‘em, and son you have pure "Manna" from heaven! I’d be willing to bet that this is what the Lord fed the Israelites on those 40 years they wandered in the wilderness. That’s why they were so healthy! The Lord fed ‘em on Biscuits and Gravy! This next recipe for gravy is probably the best doggone gravy recipe that you’ll ever taste! It is the creation of Mr. Grady Spears, the author of the cookbook "A Cowboy in the Kitchen." It is reprinted here with his permission. This has got to be my favorite cookbook of all time and I use it constantly. I’ll tell you folks how to get a copy, but first, here’s how to make some: Cracked Pepper Gravy 1/4 cup unsalted butter 5 TBSP flour 2 1/2 cups milk 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt 4 tsp. Cracked pepper* *Crack each peppercorn into 8 to 10 pieces Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan or skillet. When the foam goes down, whisk in the flour. Continually whisk until the flour cooks, becoming a fragrant, light brown. Slowly add the milk, continuing to whisk to keep lumps from forming. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer gravy for 10 minutes to cook and reduce. Serve not. Makes about 3 cups. Now this is real Cowboy Chuck! This is what Grady calls his jazzed up version of old-fashioned Cream Gravy. Grady is not only the author of "A Cowboy in the Kitchen"; he also has three restaurants named "Reata" in Alpine, and Fort Worth, Texas and the newest one in Beverly Hills, California. I talked with him on the phone a year or so ago to ask permission to use a couple of his recipes here in my column. He graciously said "sure, use any of ‘em you want to, and if you’re ever in Beverly Hills drop in to the Reata and say howdy!" I told him I didn’t know if they’d let this ol’ redneck in there. He assured me that if they let him in (being an ol’ cowboy), that I was more than welcome! What a guy. To get a copy of this wonderful cookbook, contact Ten Speed Press at P.O. Box 7123, Berkeley, CA 94707 or contact them on the web at w

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