Jed Portman

Why Meatballs are "Texas Mexican"

By Jed PortmanGood EatsJuly 29, 2014

Tex-Mex cuisine has taken its share of slings and arrows over the years. Truthfully, Adán Medrano has no real issues with processed cheese or greasy refried beans. But in his recent cookbook, Truly Texas Mexican, the San Antonio native outlines a different kind of Texas cooking, with recipes that rely upon fewer—and fresher—ingredients. Medrano’s history of what he calls “Texas Mexican” food begins centuries before the first Europeans set foot in the United States, with the simmering beans and roast wild chiles of the tribes that first inhabited the Lone Star State, and continues into the homes of families across the Southwest today—including his own

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Field Report: Hank Williams Comes to Dinner

By Jed PortmanGood EatsJuly 25, 2014

Earlier this week, a couple walked into Seven Sows restaurant, in Asheville, wanting to talk with chef Mike Moore about Hank Williams. They were visiting from England, and they’d heard that Moore, in his capacity as the founder of the Blind Pig Supper Club, had just overseen a rather unusual tribute to the country music icon. “We talked for hours,” Moore says. “They were going on about how they’re so in love with Hank, and asking all sorts of questions about our event. That’s testimony to how far-reaching his legend is.”

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Build a Better Chicken Biscuit

By Jed PortmanGood EatsJuly 24, 2014

Jason Roy makes biscuits. Pulled pork biscuits, country ham biscuits, biscuits loaded with black-eyed pea cakes and green chile hollandaise, and with fried green tomatoes and hunks of halfway melted brie. The two locations of his Asheville, North Carolina restaurant, Biscuit Head, may be two of the only places in the country where a person can enjoy a gravy flight—a selection of several options from a list that includes pork gravy, fried chicken gravy, sweet potato and coconut gravy, and smoked tomato gravy, as well as a changing but reliably eccentric gravy of the day. To garnish further: bananas foster jam, smoked apple butter, chocolate banana butter, and many other condiments from the self-serve jam bar.

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A Meeting of the Barbecue Minds

By Jed PortmanGood EatsJuly 15, 2014

Last Thursday night, at Scott’s Bar-B-Que in Hemingway, South Carolina, two giants of Southern barbecue met for the first time. As the sun went down, John Lewis, the lanky head cook at La Barbecue in Austin, stepped around the pits where whole-hog veteran Rodney Scott smokes more than a dozen pigs each week. The Texas pit master peppered the South Carolina pit master with questions: How much space do you keep between the hogs and the coals? How do you keep the temperature steady? Lewis helped Scott move a piece of furniture. They walked to the picnic tables across the street, sat down, and ate together.

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Tennessee Whiskey Jam

By Jed PortmanGood EatsJuly 7, 2014

The pairing of whiskey and country ham is one of the most timeless and reliably delicious in all of Southern cuisine. And at the 404 Kitchen in Nashville, Tennessee, chef Matt Bolus has devised a fresh way to bring the two staples together. He serves shaved country ham with biscuits, red-eye gravy, and dollops of whiskey jam, a spiced fruit butter with a base of raisins, apple cider, and corn liquor. It’s strong stuff, and pairs nicely with cured meats of all sorts, as well as cheese and, hell, just about anything else you might enjoy with a glass of brown water.

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Made in the South Awards Winner Update

By Jed PortmanGood EatsJune 30, 2014

When Bittermilk nabbed the top spot in the drinks category of our 2013 Made in the South Awards last year, the Charleston, South Carolina, line of craft cocktail mixers consisted of three products: a smoked-honey whiskey sour mix, a hopped and elderflower-perfumed Tom Collins mix, and an outstanding burnt-sugar Old Fashioned mix, all carefully positioned at the intersection of bitter, sweet, and sour. Demand for the mixers soared, and founders Joe and MariElena Raya, buoyed by the company’s quick and early success, set to work on a fourth formulation. “Did the Made in the South Awards change our business? It launched our business, basically,” says Joe Raya, who also runs the Gin Joint, one of the Holy City’s best bars, with MariElena. “We were bottling by hand when we got into the magazine, and suddenly, I swear, I was working twenty-four hour stretches some days. But it was amazing, and really got us off the ground.” 

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Behold the Bisnut

By Jed PortmanGood EatsJune 26, 2014

If you’ve kept even a wandering eye on the culinary world over the past year, you’ve probably heard something about the cronut, the flaky croissant-doughnut hybrid that made a minor celebrity of New York City pastry chef Dominique Ansel in 2013. The cronut has inspired plenty of imitators, but none have hit quite as close to home for us here at Garden & Gun as the latest, from fast-food chain Carl’s Jr.

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Happening Now: Texas Tiki Week

By Jed PortmanGood EatsJune 24, 2014

If you’ve noticed a resurgence of fluorescent, umbrella-topped drinks in your favorite darkened haunts, you’re not alone. Tiki is back. “It’s a nice antidote to how precious cocktails became for a lot of people,” says Jessica Sanders, who runs the Austin, Texas, bar drink.well. “Bartenders got a little bored with themselves, and this whole idea that cocktails must be brown and bitter and stirred. Now, we’re taking all the knowledge and craft that we’ve learned in the past decade and applying it to something creative and fun.”

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Southern Classics: The Ark of Taste

By Jed PortmanGood EatsJune 22, 2014

This year’s Atlanta Food & Wine Festival offered plenty of opportunities to sample small-batch and heritage treats. But the very scarcest bites of the weekend came out at a couple of discussions hosted by chef Linton Hopkins, of Holeman & Finch and Restaurant Eugene, about Slow Food and the organization’s Ark of Taste.

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Dean Fearing's Barbecue Beans

By Jed PortmanGood EatsJune 18, 2014

Last week, we shared chef Dean Fearing's recipe for chili, which appears in his new cookbook, The Texas Food Bible. Today, we're back for a second helping. Any patriotic Texan knows that beans don't belong in chili, but they sure do taste good alongside burgers, hot dogs, and potato salad. Here's Fearing's take on baked beans. The recipe might be a little bit lengthier than most, but it really isn't much harder to pull off—and it's worth the extra effort, anyway.

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