My father Russell Sr still makes the finest pone of cornbread I’ve ever eaten. His technique is an odd one as he pours the batter into a cold pan that’s been liberally rubbed with Crisco shortening. Most top bar cornbread cooks aver that starting with a scalding hot pan is the one true method. And actual lard should be the pan grease.
I’ve made hundreds if not thousands of pans of cornbread over the years. When I was head chef for a busy catering outfit in Austin, cornbread was one of our de facto offerings, and Texans could not get enough of the stuff. I must admit that that recipe would’ve gotten me thrown out of The South as it included eggs and sugar.
But Texas is not The South, it’s Texas, it abuts the actual South but it is its own glorious thing.
Here’s my recipe for Kentucky Cornbread
6 T. Lard or bacon drippings
1 c. cornmeal, self-rising
3/4 c. flour, self-rising
1 t. salt, kosher
2 each, eggs, beaten
1.5 c. buttermilk
* Preheat oven to 425 degrees
* Grease a cast-iron pan with favorite fat (I use bacon drippings)
* In a large bowl combine cornmeal, flour, and salt
* In separate bowl combine eggs, bacon fat, and buttermilk
* Pour the buttermilk mixture into the cornmeal mixture
* Fold together til well integrated
* Pour the batter into the (cold) pan
* Bake for 20-25 minutes til top is golden and toothpick comes out clean when inserted into center
Use genuine lard if at all possible
Get the best buttermilk on offer, the real deal buttermilk from a farmer or co-op
Serve cornbread with a big bowl of soup beans and green onions
A fried pork chop with a bowl of cream gravy would go great with this pone
Save the leftover cornbread and make mush or coush coush