Big Flavor. Big Personality. Unforgettable Southern Cuisine
On screen and in the kitchen, Jason Santos is known for two things: his smack-you-in-the-mouthflavored dishes and his larger-than-life personality. Buttermilk&Bourbon, the name of Jason’s wildly popular restaurant and his standout cookbook, showcases incredible recipes inspired by the exciting flavors and culture of New Orleans.
Jason has gathered his best Southern-inspired recipes—the ones that restaurant-goers write about impassioned letters and the ones even his line cooks can’t resist—and laid them bare for you.
Make his signature dishes at home like Literally the Best Fried Chicken Wings in the History of Chicken and Flamin‘ Hot Cheeto Mac&Cheese. Binge on Smoked Gouda Cornbread or go all in on New Orleans BBQ Shrimp with Jalapeño Grits. Finish with a signature cocktail like Voodoo on the Bayou and desserts like Fresh Fried Beignets.
What you hold in your hands is a collection of epic recipes and electric commentary like no other.
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About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Signatures — whether it's a signature basketball dunk, wrestling move or even a movie catchphrase — are the things you really remember. Strong signature moves or dishes are important for a chef and a restaurant because they're what you become known for. As a chef, however, you don't always get to choose what your signatures are — the guests do! Signatures are the dishes people talk about or the ones that make them return. And so for you, in this chapter, I have a year's worth of the things people couldn't help but come back for.
LITERALLY THE BEST FRIED CHICKEN WINGS IN THE HISTORY OF CHICKEN
About 15 years ago, I had fried chicken at my friend Chef Jasper White's restaurant The Summer Shack, and it was the best I have ever had by a landslide. He told me a couple of things about the marinade and the cooking, but he said the rest was a secret. I never forgot that while I was perfecting my own recipe. Now the secret recipe is passed down to you, and you get the whole thing. So here it is? I present to you the best fried chicken wings EVER. Serve them tossed with Sweet and Spicy Glaze, dipped into White BBQ Sauce, drizzled with Jalapeño BBQ Syrup or tossed with Nashville Hot Spice.
Makes 24 Wings
1 dozen chicken wings, split and wing tips removed
8 cups (2 L) cooking fat (canola oil, lard, duck fat, etc.)
2 cups (475 ml) Buttermilk Marinade
4 cups (500 g) Signature Fry Dredge Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 300°F (149°C). Place the wings in a deep pan and cover with canola oil or other cooking fat. Place in the oven for 1 hour. Remove the wings from the fat (reserve the fat for your next batch) and soak the chicken wings in the Buttermilk Marinade in the refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours, preferably overnight.
Once ready to cook, heat the cooking fat to 350°F (177°C) in either a medium pot or a cast-iron pan. Remove the chicken from the marinade, discarding the marinade, and toss the chicken in the fry dredge until completely coated. Shake off excess dredge. Carefully add the chicken to the hot fat and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, until golden brown. When done, season with salt and pepper and eat as is or toss with your favorite sauce.
BUTTERMILK & BOURBON'S HONEY-GLAZED BISCUITS
Every Southern grandmother thinks that her biscuit recipe is the best! Well I assure you, in this case I am THE Southern grandma. I tested this recipe almost every day for a year until this was the best biscuit I had ever eaten.
Makes 12 Large Biscuits
1 cup (227 g) unsalted butter, melted
5 cups (710 g) self-rising flour, plus extra for shaping
1 cup (227 g) chilled unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch (6-mm) pieces
1 cup (227 g) chilled unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch (12-mm) pieces
3 cups (710 ml) full-fat ice-cold buttermilk Infused Honey, for serving Large flaked sea salt, to taste Pimento Cheese and/or Smoked Cinnamon Butter, for serving
Preheat the oven to 375°F (191°C). Using a 10 x 12–inch (25 x 30–cm) baking pan that is 2 inches (5 cm) deep, add the melted butter and evenly distribute, then set aside.
Sift the flour into a mixing bowl, then add the ¼-inch (6-mm) butter cubes and, using your fingers, snap the butter into the flour until the mixture is crumbly. Then add the ½-inch (12-mm) butter cubes and snap until nothing bigger than a bean remains. Do not take more than 5 minutes or the butter will start to melt. Add the cold buttermilk and mix gently until the dough just barely forms, then turn the mixture onto a floured surface and pat and shape the dough into a ¾-inch (18-mm) thick sheet (do not overmix).
Using a flour-dusted 3-inch (8-cm) ring mold, cut the biscuits and place in the baking pan. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes depending on how brown you like the top to be. When done, brush with warm Infused Honey of your choice and sprinkle with the flaked sea salt. Serve warm with Pimento Cheese and Smoked Cinnamon Butter.
CHICKEN & WAFFLE TACOS
This is one of the coolest presentations you will find. Is it a taco or is it chicken and waffles? Well, it's both. It's obviously at heart some good Southern chicken and waffles but with a Latin twist for some flair and funk. We actually serve this at my Mexican restaurant, but it's a nod to the good old South.
Makes 8 Servings
8 large boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat and cut in half the long way
2 cups (475 ml) Buttermilk Marinade
4 cups (500 g) Signature Fry Dredge
8 cups (2 L) canola oil or other fat, for frying Salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups (475 ml) agave syrup
1 tbsp (16 g) Asian chili paste (sambal oelek)
Zest and juice of 2 limes
½ tsp smoked salt
Watermelon Pico De Gallo
2 cups (304 g) diced watermelon
¼ cup (40 g) minced red onion
2 tbsp (30 ml) lime juice
2 tbsp (2 g) minced cilantro
1 tsp minced jalapeño Salt and pepper, to taste
½ cup (115 g) fresh avocado pulp
1 tbsp (15 ml) lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced
½ tsp ground cumin
½ cup (115 g) unsalted butter, softened Salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups (240 g) all-purpose flour
1 cup (120 g) blue cornmeal
6 tbsp (75 g) sugar
1 tbsp (14 g) baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp (30 ml) bourbon
1 cup (237 ml) milk
1 cup (237 ml) buttermilk
6 tbsp (85 g) unsalted butter, melted
Cilantro sprigs, for garnish Lime wedges, for serving
Once the chicken is cut, soak the pieces in the Buttermilk Marinade in the refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours but preferably overnight. Once ready to cook, remove the chicken from the marinade and toss in the fry dredge until completely coated. In either a medium pot or a cast-iron pan, heat the canola oil to 350°F (177°C). Carefully add the chicken to the hot oil and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, until golden brown. When done remove the chicken from the oil and season with salt and pepper.
For the lime syrup, bring the agave syrup to a boil on the stovetop. Remove the pan from the heat and add the chili paste, lime zest and juice and smoked salt. Keep warm.
For the watermelon pico de gallo, combine the diced watermelon, red onion, lime juice, cilantro and jalapeño and season with salt and pepper to taste.
For the avocado butter, puree the avocado pulp, lime juice, garlic and cumin in a food processor until smooth. Add the butter and puree to combine. Season with salt and pepper. This will keep in the refrigerator for a week, or you can freeze it until you are ready to use. For the waffles, preheat the waffle iron according to the manufacturer's settings. Sift together the flour, blue cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the bourbon, milk, buttermilk and eggs. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until halfway combined. Pour in the melted butter and continue mixing very gently until combined. Scoop the batter into the preheated waffle iron in batches and cook according to the manufacturer's directions, or until the waffles are deep golden and crisp.
Remove the waffle from the iron, fold it and place in a taco stand. Top with 2 strips of fried chicken and pico de gallo. Garnish with cilantro and serve with lime wedges, lime syrup and avocado butter.
10-WAY CUT NASHVILLE FRIED CHICKEN
OMG this is hot! BUT it has so much zip it's worth the burn. You can obviously use less spice to tone it down, but I think if you are going to do it, do it right! Traditionally, once cooked, the chicken gets tossed in some additional frying oil then spiced in order to almost create a paste, and that is what gives the chicken its beautiful fiery red color. I know tossing something that was just fried in more fat seems crazy and a bit of overkill, but that is the key. And MY secret is I use rendered pork fat instead of frying oil. It gives it so much added flavor and richness. I promise that if you don't like my version better, especially with pickled tomatoes instead of basic pickle chips, I will personally come and eat the rest of it for you. It hurts so good!
Serves 2 TO 4
Green Tomato Relish
1 cup (237 ml) water
1 cup (237 ml) white vinegar
¼ cup (50 g) sugar
¼ cup (75 g) salt
¼ cup (25 g) minced scallions
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeño, minced
3 medium-size green tomatoes, diced
1 bay leaf
1 tsp mustard seed
½ tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp ground turmeric
¼ tsp crab boil spice seasoning (I prefer Zatarain's)
½ tsp red pepper flakes
1 whole chicken, washed with cold water and dried with paper towels
2 cups (475 ml) Buttermilk Marinade
4 cups (500 g) Signature Fry Dredge
8 cups (2 L) canola oil, for frying
¼ cup (59 ml) warm rendered pork fat (aka lard)
2 tbsp (14 g) or more Nashville Hot Spice Salt and pepper, to taste
To make the relish, bring the water, vinegar, sugar and salt to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Place the scallions, garlic, jalapeño, green tomatoes, bay leaf, mustard seed, smoked paprika, turmeric, crab boil seasoning and red pepper flakes in a bowl. Pour the hot liquid over the ingredients in the bowl and let the mixture sit in the refrigerator overnight. This will last about 10 days in your refrigerator.
To break down your chicken into 10 pieces, first you name your chicken. I will name mine Frank.
1. With Frank breast up, cut Frank's leg away from his body.
2. Turn Frank on his side. Bend each of Frank's legs back until his thigh bone pops out of its socket. Cut through the joint, then cut through the skin and remove completely.
3. With Frank on his side, pull each of his wings away from his body. Cut through the joint and remove the wing.
4. Lift up Frank and cut downward through his rib cage and then his shoulder joints to separate the breast from the back. Save the backbone for stock.
5. Place Frank's breast skin-side down. Cut the center bone to separate into 2 pieces.
6. To cut Frank's breast halves into quarters, turn each piece skin-side up and cut in half diagonally through the bone.
7. To divide Frank's legs, turn each leg skin-side down and cut through the joints (along the white fat line) to separate the thigh from the drumstick.
8. If you did this right, you'll end up with Frank cut into 10 pieces. If you have 11, something went horribly wrong.
Once the chicken is cut, soak it in the Buttermilk Marinade in the refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours but preferably overnight. Once ready to cook, remove the chicken from the marinade, discarding the marinade, and toss the chicken in the fry dredge until it is completely coated.
In either a medium pot or a cast-iron pan, heat the canola oil to 330°F (166°C). Carefully add the chicken to the hot oil and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, until golden brown. When done, remove the chicken from the oil and place in a large mixing bowl. Toss the chicken with the pork fat and dust with the Nashville Hot Spice until it is well coated (the more you add, the hotter it gets). Season with salt and pepper and top with the relish.
FLAMIN' HOT CHEETO MAC & CHEESE
I believe the title speaks for itself. Not much to say about this one except trust me and — oh, yeah — this is the '1 selling dish in my restaurant.
4 tbsp (56 g) unsalted butter, divided
1 cup (225 g) meat scraps, diced (bacon, andouille, tasso, pork belly, ham, etc.)
½ cup (50 g) diced celery
¾ cup (120 g) diced shallots
1 tbsp (8 g) minced garlic
1 tbsp (16 g) tomato paste
1 cup (237 ml) white wine
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp (3 g) fresh thyme, chopped
8 oz (227 g) cream cheese
1 cup (237 ml) heavy cream
1 cup (237 ml) half & half
½ cup (50 g) grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup (56 g) shredded fontina
½ cup (56 g) shredded yellow cheddar
½ cup (56 g) shredded gouda
½ lb (227 g) campanelle pasta, cooked Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup (45 g) spicy cheese puffs (I like Flamin' Hot Cheetos), slightly crushed
¼ cup (12 g) minced chives
½ cup (22 g) spicy cheese puffs, whole
Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C). In a heavy-bottomed pot, melt 2 tablespoons (28 g) of the butter and sauté the meat scraps until lightly browned, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the meat, reserving the fat. Then add the celery, shallots and garlic and cook until soft, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for another 3 minutes to incorporate. Deglaze with the wine and reduce by half, about 10 minutes. Add the bay leaves, thyme, cream cheese, heavy cream and half & half. Bring to a simmer for 10 minutes. Add the Parmesan, fontina, cheddar and gouda and simmer for 10 more minutes. Remove the bay leaves and puree the entire mixture with a stick blender (or in batches using a regular blender/food processor). Add the meat scraps back to the pot.
Combine the sauce with the cooked pasta and season with salt and pepper.
Divide the mixture into 4 casserole dishes. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons (28 g) of butter and combine with the crushed Cheetos, and scatter on top of the pasta mixture. Bake for about 7 minutes or until bubbly. Garnish with chives and the whole Cheetos.
NOTE: If you are making this ahead of time, wait to combine the sauce with the macaroni until you are ready to bake the entire dish. Otherwise, the sauce will get absorbed into the pasta and you will lose the wonderful creamy sauciness of the dish.
PORK BELLY CRACKLINGS WITH CHEDDAR SALT
When we first opened we were always running out of this dish, until one day I realized that the cooks were eating more than we were actually selling. Well, I had to lead by example on this one, so instead of stopping them, we just ramped up production to feed our cravings.
Serves 6 as a snack
8 cups (2 L) House Brine
2-lb (907-g) slab meaty pork belly, skin removed About 6 cups (1.4 L) fat (lard, blended oil, duck fat, etc.)
2 bags powdered cheese mix from boxes of mac and cheese
1 tsp crab boil spice mix (I prefer Zatarain's)
1 tbsp (17 g) salt
1 tsp House Cajun Spice
Canola oil, for frying
Pour the brine into a container large enough to hold the pork belly and add the pork. Refrigerate overnight. Remove the pork belly and rinse under cold water. Pat dry. Preheat the oven to 275°F (135°C). Choose an ovenproof pan that is only slightly larger than the pork belly and has a lid; the pot should be deep enough that the pork will be submerged. Put the pork belly in the pan and cover with the fat. The fat should cover the pork by ½ to ¾ inch (1.3 to 1.9 cm).
Transfer to the oven, and cook until the pork is tender; this will probably take 4 hours or more, but start checking after 3 hours. Remove the pan from the oven and let the pork cool to room temperature. It can simply be refrigerated in its fat for up to 1 week, or you can use it once it's cold.
To make the cheddar salt, combine the cheese mix, crab boil spice, salt and Cajun spice and mix.
Remove the pork from the fat (reserve the fat for later use) and cut into medium-size chunks. In a pot or cast-iron pan, heat 2 inches (5 cm) of canola oil to 350°F (177°C). Line a plate with a paper towel. Put the pieces of belly in the oil and cook until crispy but not dried out, about 5 minutes. Season liberally with cheddar salt and serve with any of the sauces from the Brines, Rubs, Seasonings & Marinades chapter.
NOTE: Blended oil is something I buy. Essentially it is a 90/10 canola to extra-virgin olive oil mix.
NEW ORLEANS BBQ SHRIMP WITH JALAPEÑO GRITS
This recipe makes the top 5 of all time in my opinion. It's spicy, salty, creamy and vinegary all in one bite. We tried to take this off the menu at the restaurant and I received sternly worded letters from guests asking me why I would do such a thing. It is back on the menu and will probably never leave.
Serves 4 as an appetizer
1 tbsp (15 ml) blended oil Reserved shrimp shells
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 lemons, peeled
½ cup (118 ml) Worcestershire sauce
½ cup (118 ml) hot sauce
2 tsp (9 g) butter
1 tsp blended oil
1 jalapeño, small diced
1 cup (150 g) diced onion
4 cups (1 L) chicken stock
3 cups (710 ml) water
2 cups (340 g) stone-ground grits
8 oz (227 g) cream cheese Salt and pepper, to taste
1 lb (454 g) shrimp, peeled and deveined, reserve shells
2 tsp (5 g) House Cajun Spice
1 tbsp (15 ml) blended oil
¼ cup (59 ml) of your favorite beer
2 tbsp (28 g) cold unsalted butter, cubed
For the BBQ base, place the oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the reserved shrimp shells and the garlic, stirring frequently until the shells are golden brown, about 4 minutes. Add the lemons, Worcestershire and hot sauce. Lower the heat to medium and let simmer until reduced by half, about 4 to 6 minutes. Strain and set the sauce aside. This can be made a day ahead.
For the grits, heat the butter and oil in a pan and add the jalapeño and onion. Cook until softened, 5 minutes or so. Pour in the chicken stock and water. Stir, and then bring to a boil. Whisk in the grits, then reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the cream cheese. Stir and cook until the grits are tender, another 20 to 30 minutes. At any time, add more stock if the grits look like they need more cooking liquid. Remove the grits from the heat and season with salt and pepper.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Buttermilk & Bourbon"
Copyright © 2019 Jason Santos.
Excerpted by permission of Page Street Publishing Co..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
LITERALLY THE BEST FRIED CHICKEN WINGS IN THE,
HISTORY OF CHICKEN,
BUTTERMILK & BOURBON'S HONEY-GLAZED BISCUITS,
CHICKEN & WAFFLE TACOS,
10-WAY CUT NASHVILLE FRIED CHICKEN,
FLAMIN' HOT CHEETO MAC & CHEESE,
PORK BELLY CRACKLINGS WITH CHEDDAR SALT,
NEW ORLEANS BBQ SHRIMP WITH JALAPEÑO GRITS,
MUST-HAVE MEATS & SAUCES,
GRILLED BABY BACK RIBS,
GRILLED CIDER-BRINED PORK TENDERLOIN,
HONEY AND HOISIN-GLAZED DUCK CONFIT,
DUCK LEGS WITH DUCK FAT FRENCH FRIES,
BLACKENED PRIME BURGER SLIDERS,
TURKEY AND DUMPLINGS,
RICH & LUSH COMFORT FOODS,
SMOKED GOUDA CORNBREAD,
SOUTHERN-STYLE POTATO SALAD,
BOILED PEANUT HUMMUS,
CELERY ROOT BISQUE SALAD,
CAJUN GUACAMOLE WITH BLACKENED SHRIMP,
QUAHOG AND BACON CHOWDER,
CRISPY, CRUNCHY DISHES,
BUFFALO DUCK WINGS,
ANDY'S NEW-STYLE FRIED COD,
BOURBON BARREL ALE-BATTERED SOFT-SHELL CRABS,
PEPPER JACK CRACKERS,
CELERY ROOT SLAW,
SHARP CHEDDAR KETTLE CHIPS AND BUTTERMILK ONION,
CAST IRON-BAKED BRIE,
FISH WITH SHELLS,
CRAWFISH AND CRAB SOUP,
LEMON SHANDY-POACHED PEEL-AND-EAT SHRIMP,
OYSTERS ON THE HALF SHELL WITH 3 SAUCES,
ROASTED CHARGRILLED OYSTERS,
PAN-SEARED SEA SCALLOPS AND TASSO HAM,
BISCUITS AND GRAVY 2.0,
DEVILED EGG TOAST WITH COUNTRY HAM AND HOT PEPPER,
CRAB MEAT AND BACON HASH WITH POACHED DUCK EGGS,
HOT SAUCE HOLLANDAISE,
RED VELVET PANCAKES,
CRISPY SOFT-BOILED EGGS WITH PASTRAMI HOME FRIES,
ANDOUILLE SCOTCH EGGS,
LEAVES & DRESSINGS,
HEIRLOOM TOMATO SALAD,
SWEET GEM SALAD,
SIMPLE LOCAL LETTUCE SALAD,
BABY SPINACH SALAD,
RED ONION VINAIGRETTE,
FRESH FRIED BEIGNETS,
CAST IRON CARAMEL BISCUIT PUDDING,
ROASTED STRAWBERRY AND GLAZED DOUGHNUT,
WARM GINGERBREAD CAKE,
BANANA CREAM PIE,
BOURBON HOT CHOCOLATE,
WARM BUTTERSCOTCH FONDANT,
THE MARIE LAVEAU,
VOODOO ON THE BAYOU,
CAJUN BLOODY MARY,
OKRA VEGETABLE VODKA,
BRINES, RUBS, SEASONINGS & MARINADES,
WHITE BBQ SAUCE,
APPLE CIDER BRINE,
HOUSE CAJUN SPICE,
NASHVILLE HOT SPICE,
SWEET AND SPICY GLAZE,
JALAPEÑO BBQ SYRUP,
CAROLINA GOLD SAUCE,
SIGNATURE FRY DREDGE,
THINGS YOU SHOULD ALSO KNOW,
BOILED PEANUTS, CHEATER'S VERSION,
SMOKED CINNAMON BUTTER,
SMOKY HAM STOCK,
NATURAL CHICKEN STOCK,
REFRIED RED BEANS,
ABOUT THE AUTHOR,