Tuesday is National Southern Food Day so we asked the team of NBC 5 Today what their favorite dishes are.
Meteorologist Samantha Davies: Fried chicken
Meteorologist Grant Johnston: Chicken fried steak
Meteorologist Keisha Burns: Fried green tomatoes
Reporter Tim Ciesco: Homemade mac and cheese
Anchor/Reporter Katy Blakey: Grandmother’s fried okra
Anchor/Reporter Evan Anderson: Fried chicken
Anchor Marc Fein: Barbecue
Anchor Deborah Ferguson: peach cobbler
Reporter Courtney Gilmore: Crawfish (Louisiana style with corn and potatoes), The BEST Texas Pecan Pie from Goode Company, fried corn, baked macaroni and cheese, fried zucchini
Producer Jordan Morton -- Any kind of mac n cheese, jalapeno mac and cheese, bacon mac and cheese, regular mac and cheese, pulled pork mac and cheese.
Videographer Dennis Holmes is from Montgomery, Louisiana so he's mastered Southern cooking. Here are his favorites:
Oxtails, turkey necks, pig feet, Mexican cornbread, squash, sliced tomatoes seasoned with black pepper, milk and cornbread (mixed in a glass), catfish, grits and pancakes, gumbo, boudin, fried alligator, crawfish, swimp Etouffee, oysters, fried oysters, buffalo fish, catfish, brim fish, white perch fish, swims, roast beef Po’Boy, smothered pork chops with rice and gravy, purple hull peas, red beans and rice cracklings, hog head, cheese bread pudding, blackberry cobbler, pineapple coconut cake, pink lemonade pie, strawberry jam made out of figs, collard, mustard, turnip greens, chicken and dumplings, grilled goat, squirrel, rabbit, raccoon
Reporter Larry Collins:
Biscuits and Gravy: It’s a southern staple and a personal favorite, but funny enough the best I ever had was in Baltimore, MD.
Shrimp and Grits: You can’t visit the LowCountry of South Carolina and Georgia without getting shrimp and grits. Who needs bacon and eggs when this buttery, smooth favorite is on the menu?
Bananas Foster French Toast- Nothing says New Orleans like Bananas Foster – SO, you’ve GOT to try Bananas Foster French Toast when in the Big Easy. “Laissez les bon temps rouler!”
MUST TRY UNIQUE SOUTHERN BREAKFAST ITEM YOU’VE NEVER TRIED BUT SHOULD:
The Big Nasty at Hominy Grill in Charleston, SC.
Nothing ‘nasty’ about it! It’s the perfect decadent start to your day.
Biscuit with fried chicken breast, cheddar cheese and sausage gravy.
Chicken Fried Steak: It’s when Texas and Southern cuisine hold hands. Try it with old fashioned biscuits instead of Texas Toast.
Pimento Cheese Burger: You’ll never be the same after this. You’ll look at your cheddar and Swiss cheeseburger with absolute pity after trying this southern favorite.
Snack / Appetizer:
Pimento Cheese: It’s as common in South Carolina as salsa is in Texas. Spread it on anything!
Fried Pickles: Everything is better fried. Yes, even pickles. Just trust me on this one and thank me later.
Hush Puppies: Yes, the same fried cornbread that you eat with your fried fish! It is a classic appetizer in the South. If you haven’t dipped your steaming hot hush puppy into some honey butter before a meal; you haven’t lived.
MUST TRY UNIQUE SOUTHERN SNACK PAIRING YOU’VE NEVER TRIED BUT SHOULD:
Fried Green Tomatoes: Yes, as a snack or appetizer! Try them served with feta, tomato sauce and basil oil like they do it at Vickery’s in Mt. Pleasant, SC. They call it the fried green tomato tower.
Banana Pudding: You THINK you know banana pudding, but you’ve never had it until you’ve had it from the South. Put a little bourbon whipped cream on top and you’ll be tempted to finish the entire batch.
Bread Pudding: Nothing goes to waste in the South. Even stale bread becomes the star of the meal when it’s turned into bread pudding. Everyone loves it, the real debate is “with or without raisins.” Cover it in bourbon or rum sauce for the full experience.
Pralines: Many states claim ownership of this dessert – Louisiana, Georgia and South Carolina to name a few. I’m a Louisiana boy, so I’m going to give the crown to New Orleans (Don’t @ me.).
BEST SOUTHERN TAKE ON A CLASSIC DESSERT YOU MUST TRY:
Coconut Cake: Every other dessert in the world is an imposter – pretenders to the throne. I don’t condone violence, but the coconut cake at Peninsula Grill in Charleston, SC will make you want to slap someone (It’s a Southern saying – bless your heart!). I have made a trip downtown JUST to get a slice of this cake. Though you’ll want to, you don’t have to thank me. Just send me a slice – they ship!
Things that are Southern Classics that I don’t like:
Boiled Peanuts: A Carolina favorite. Folks love them, but I think they taste like black-eyed peas. *shudder*
Sweet Tea: This is THE quintessential Southern food item. It’s too sweet for me. (Judge me now)
Vinegar-based BBQ: I love the Carolinas, but I just can handle this. I feel the vinegar in my veins after every bite. I tried to love it – I promise.