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Barking Dogs(Recipe: Hushpuppies)

January 24, 2013

The legend of the hushpuppy is a wonderful part  of Southern foodways.  So the story goes, bits of cornbread were fried up by hunters to feed their dogs so they would “hush”.  The cornmeal used  to make the hushpuppies was probably on hand for use as a batter to cook the hunter’s  food.

Cornmeal was a kitchen staple for Southerners and the connection between hunting and the South has long been established. Long before Piggly Wiggly came to town, folks had to head for the woods to do their grocery shopping. Both of these points add credence to the popular story of the origin of the hushpuppy.

In parts of the South, it’s flat out against the law to have a fish fry without hushpuppies. Flat out. I’m serving mine with roasted chicken thighs tonight.  Fish and hushpuppies are a marriage made in heaven. However, hushpuppies know how to get along  just fine with chicken.  They’re Southern and got the same lesson on manners that we all did.

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Hushpuppies ~ Syrup and Biscuits





yield: about 30

The key to making hushpuppies come out with a crispy outside and soft, but done inside, is to have plenty of hot oil.  The hushpuppies need to float or they will not cook evenly.  Also, only drop a teaspoon full of batter per hushpuppy. The batter will poof up and expand when it hits the hot oil.   A small size is key to getting the proper amount of doneness before the little nugget gets burned on the outside.  With a small diameter and hot, hot  grease, hushpuppies cook fast and don’t soak up lots of oil. When cooked right, they are surprisingly light for a food that’s been deep-fried.

1 cup cornmeal (not cornbread mix)

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

1 cup buttermilk

1 egg

1/4 cup green onions, finely diced

Mix first 5 ingredients.  In a separate bowl, add  buttermilk and egg.  Whisk until egg is well beaten.  Add green onion and stir.

Add buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients and stir until well blended.

Pour about three inches of oil into a deep pan.  Heat to medium high.

Drop teaspoons of batter into the hot oil in batches.  Don’t overcrowd the pan.  Do not walk away from the pan.  These puppies fry up quick.

As soon as they start to brown, which will be a minute or less, turn them over. Keep turning to ensure they brown evenly. Fry until deep golden brown.

Take a batch out and test for doneness. If they are getting too brown on the outside before the insides cook, the heat is too high.  Add a little oil to the pan to cool it down.

Drain on paper towel. Sprinkle on salt while still hot.

Serve with ketchup.

You might also enjoy:

Pan-fried Buttermilk Breaded Catfish

 Sweet Coleslaw




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18 Comments leave one →
  1. January 24, 2013 8:47 pm

    what a funny name given to these treats …heheh. And i enjoyed reading that legend about how it came to exist. it’s always fun to learn the history behind cool food 🙂

  2. January 25, 2013 2:29 am

    Flat out, hushpuppies and catfish “cry out for each other at night”. Hushpuppies are the bomb,so I’ll be cooking up this recipe soon, Jackie!

  3. January 25, 2013 8:54 am

    Mmmm Mmmmm – I might just have to have me a fish fry this weekend!!! Thanks Jackie – I can see my daddy frying up a big mess of fish outside on the gas burner!!! Nothing better!!!

  4. Joann Thiessen permalink
    January 25, 2013 9:02 am

    Almost the same way I make them except no sugar and I add chopped jalapenas and a handful of frozen corn. They are almost veggie cornmeal fritters but we love them that way.

  5. Jean permalink
    January 25, 2013 2:08 pm

    There is nothing better than cornbread in one form or another. A very long time ago I used to eat at this fish place out in the boonies and they told me they dropped their hush puppies from off a knife into the hot oil.They were always delish.

    • January 25, 2013 3:20 pm


      I can’t imagine the reason for using the knife to drop hushpuppies. Maybe to keep the size small? Or, perhaps to keep their hand farther from the oil? Interesting!

  6. Carolyn Tyler permalink
    January 25, 2013 6:44 pm

    Try hushpuppies with a big pot of pinto beans…awesome!

    • January 26, 2013 10:30 am


      This is an awesome idea! I don’t know why I’ve never thought of it. I always have cornbread to go along with dried beans and I love to chip up onion to put on top of the beans. Having hushpuppies would be cornbread and onions in one package. Thanks, Carolyn! 🙂

  7. January 25, 2013 7:36 pm

    I love hush puppies and fried fish ! Good eating ! Love your blog !

    • January 26, 2013 10:27 am

      Thanks, Kay! I hope you enjoy many platefuls of fried fish and hushpuppies. 🙂

  8. Robin permalink
    October 4, 2013 12:07 am

    Funny how the different legends are told. I’ve always heard the story behind the name “hushpuppies” originated from Civil War times when the soldiers were cooking one of their few things they had, cornmeal fried in fat, and the dogs would bark wanting some too. The soldiers would toss them a piece of the fried bread and say, “hush puppy!” so their location wouldn’t be given away to the enemy from the barking dogs.

    • October 4, 2013 6:39 am

      I’ve never heard the Civil War twist. It’s certainly possible because the soldiers would have dogs at their encampments.

  9. Christine permalink
    September 4, 2016 2:53 pm

    Fish fry and hush puppies go together well.

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