Jed Portman

Discover North Carolina Barbecue

By Jed PortmanGood EatsMay 28, 2015

It’s safe to say that diners today know more about barbecue than any previous generation. Once, we ate whatever was nearby. Now, we drive hundreds of miles to visit the likes of Snow’s BBQ in Lexington, Texas, and Scott’s Bar-B-Q in Hemingway, South Carolina. But amid the big names are hundreds of joints that have yet to earn national recognition. Sometimes for good reason, and sometimes only for lack of traffic or promotional funds. Those hole-in-the-wall spots have a friend in Amanda Fisher, who traveled across North Carolina with partner and fellow barbecue enthusiast Paul Bright to find the 434 joints on the Great NC BBQ Map, a guide to regional legends and hidden secrets alike.

Read More »

Lessons in Biscuit-Making from a Seasoned Baker

By Jed PortmanGood EatsMay 18, 2015

For the past few years, I’ve subscribed to a straightforward biscuit-making method, learned from a pastry chef friend. (Sorry, Grandma!) First, I put a stick of butter in the coldest corner of the freezer. When I wake up the next morning, I grate that frozen butter into a bowl of White Lily self-rising flour, and then add enough buttermilk to turn the dry mix into a soft but foldable dough, handling all ingredients delicately to keep the butter cold and the biscuits flaky.

Read More »

Five Questions With One of the South's Best Chefs

By Jed PortmanGood EatsMay 12, 2015

Last Monday night, Jason Stanhope won Best Chef: Southeast at the James Beard Foundation awards in Chicago. It was the first nomination for the executive chef at FIG restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina, where he has earned a reputation as a hard-working but soft-spoken standout in a demanding field crowded with outsized personalities. The chef is back at work now, and he took a few minutes to talk with us about the honor.

Read More »

The South Wins Big at the James Beard Awards

By Jed PortmanGood EatsMay 5, 2015

The James Beard Foundation awards are probably the highest-profile in American food, and a win can elevate a chef to the heights of the industry. The South represented itself well at the awards ceremony last night. (And also at the Broadcast and Journalism Awards, on April 24, where Heritage, chef Sean Brock's seven-month-old cookbook, and Gravy, a quarterly magazine published by the Southern Foodways Alliance, both won big-deal endorsements.)

Read More »

A Dinner to Remember: Celebrating the Civil War's End

By Jed PortmanGood EatsApril 30, 2015

At the end of the Civil War, the city of Charleston, South Carolina, was starving. It had been years since even the rich had seen some of the dishes that locally renowned caterer and restaurateur Nat Fuller served to a group of war-weary diners in April of 1865, drawing upon his many connections in and outside the area. But perhaps more surprising than the fare on the table at his restaurant, the Bachelor’s Retreat, was the racial makeup of the restaurant that night. Fuller was a former slave, and he invited both white and black guests to the banquet. The dinner ruffled some aristocratic feathers at the time, and it also served as a modern-day inspiration for two culinary scholars who decided to bring its message of reconciliation into the twenty-first century—to a city that still needs it.

Read More »

The Art of the Beaten Biscuit

By Jed PortmanGood EatsApril 29, 2015

The beaten biscuit doesn’t disintegrate into buttery crumbs. It lacks the tang of buttermilk and the lightness of baking powder. It’s a dense holdover from the antebellum era that can require more than an hour of hard work, or a bulky, nearly extinct piece of equipment. Even so, devotees like chef Karl Worley of Biscuit Love Brunch in Nashville believe it’s worth the trouble.

Read More »

Case Closed on Pappygate? Not So Fast...

By Jed PortmanGood EatsApril 22, 2015

The sheriff always thought it was an inside job. In 2013, when the Buffalo Trace distillery reported that sixty-five cases of Pappy Van Winkle whiskey had disappeared from a secure area, it seemed likely that the perpetrators had access to the supply. Until recently, authorities couldn’t prove it. Then yesterday, a grand jury indicted a group of nine people in conjunction with the thefts. The likely ringleader, Gilbert “Toby” Curtsinger, is indeed a twenty-six-year veteran of Buffalo Trace, where he worked on the loading dock. (Another one of the accused worked at the Wild Turkey distillery, which suffered similar losses.) Here are five more things you should know about the latest developments in the biggest bourbon theft in recent history.

Read More »

If You Like Green Tomatoes...

By Jed PortmanGood EatsApril 22, 2015

At the Market Place restaurant, in Asheville, North Carolina, strawberries are more than just rosy slivers in springtime salads and the stuff of sweet preserves and cocktails. Chef William Dissen also buys firm, not-quite-ripe green strawberries from local farmers. He pickles them, and then deploys them as an acid-spiked condiment for grilled venison, rabbit paté, and more.

Read More »

The Dressing the South Forgot

By Jed PortmanGood EatsApril 16, 2015

Pimento cheese. Coleslaw. Potato salad. Those staple side dishes help keep the mayonnaise companies in business during the spring and summer. But in the days when cooking oil was a luxury, cooks below the Mason-Dixon line bound them with a different sort of dressing.

Read More »

Rediscover a Southern Classic: Pea Salad

By Jed PortmanGood EatsApril 10, 2015

Travis Milton can’t remember her name, but he remembers the crunch of the pea salad she used to bring to church picnics in Castlewood. Most cooks in his southwestern Virginia hometown added bacon to the ever-present side dish, but she preferred water chestnuts. Years later, when he developed his own recipe for pea salad, he followed her lead. But he also added a splash of rendered bacon fat, among other ingredients inspired by family gatherings past.

Read More »

Pages

Subscribe to Jed Portman