Food & Drink

The Gift Guide for Southern Cooks

Smart ideas for anyone who appreciates Southern food (and drink), from ham holders and cast-iron cookware to sugar-fried pecans and peach-jalapeño jam

Spice It Up
You cannot go wrong choosing anything from Spicewalla, the curated collection of spices by the chef Meherwan Irani, so may we suggest giving ten of them in the form of the grill and roast collection, which includes a range from his Carolina pork rub to tandoori masala. $55;

Sticky Goodness
You’re going to want to buy multiple boxes of the salted caramel collection from Oklahoma’s Mollycoddled Hash Slinger—just one would be empty before you could grab the gift wrap. Here’s the menu: salted whiskey, salted espresso, salted apple, and browned butter and honey. $21;

Do-Everything Cast-Iron Cookware
When Isaac Morton first began producing his Smithey Ironware Co. skillets in G&G’s hometown of Charleston, South Carolina, we were instantly intrigued by the buttery-smooth pans. Smithey is part of a phalanx of artisan metalsmiths forging spins on traditional Southern cookware, including Butter Pat and Blanc Creatives. This 5.5-quart cast-iron Dutch oven comes with a handsome brass nob, a glassy pre-seasoned interior surface, and a domed lid that does double duty: It fits Smithey’s 10-inch skillet, too, turning it into a shallow braiser. $295;

Salt Life
The savory citrus brine by Jacobsen Salt elevates pork, chicken, or turkey. Whether you choose a wet or a dry brine, after seasoning, be sure to leave your meat in the fridge for twenty-four hours to lock in flavor and moisture. $18;

Peach Jam with a Kick
The peach-jalapeño jam from Stephen and Jessica Rose, the couple behind Nashville’s beloved Peach Truck, strikes a perfectly sweet-and-spicy balance on a ham biscuit. (Read more about the couple here.) The jam is available as a ready-to-wrap three-jar gift box or mix it up with the Roses’ traditional peach jam and a boozy peach-bourbon blend. $35 for the trio;

Holiday Ham Helper
So you’ve got a whole country ham ready for holiday get-togethers… now what? Order a ham stand, right? Not so fast. Many stands on the market are designed to hold Spanish Serrano and Ibérico hams, which have the hoof attached. But unless you have an inside source, most domestic hams arrive hoof-less. Perhaps unsurprisingly, having a whole ham in need of slicing is a not-infrequent occurrence around the G&G office, where we have found that the Spanish-made Jamonprive Folding Stand works wonders with American hams. Position the hinged Y-shaped arm right where you need it on the shank end, press the butt end onto the stabilizing spike, then tighten the screws and start slicing. $75;

…And the Knife to Slice It with
Another one from the “we’ve-learned-by-experience” files: A paper-thin knife really does result in slices to match. This flexible, stainless steel blade, also from Jamonprive, has a plastic protector to help guide you as you learn to take delicate slices. $35;

Smooth Move
For all the pandemic bakers out there, here’s a meaningful gift beyond a sourdough starter: a cookie spatula made by hand from fallen hardwoods by the folks at Polder’s Old World Market in Virginia. $190;

Bet You Can’t Eat Just One
Hopefully every Southerner knows how good the Spartanburg, South Carolina, bakery Caroline’s Cakes is by now—their caramel cake has achieved classic status—and the new cake bites follow suit. For gifting, go for the holiday mix, a smorgasbord of the pumpkin spice, caramel, and s’mores. $65 for 30;

See Spot Bake
There is a lot to love about this clever enamel baking sheet by Crow Canyon Home, but we appreciate that it fits most toaster ovens, giving you extra roasting room in the winter and the ability to cook a whole meal in the summer, sans sweltering oven. Oh, and the abstract markings make for wonderful camouflage as the piece ages. $24;

Put a Casserole On It
Smaller gatherings mean more casual family meals, and these personal charcuterie boards by Atlanta’s etúHOME can double as collectible trivets. $139 for three;

Sweet-and-Savory Pecans
The key to Ocmulgee Orchards Sugar Fried Pecans is the hint of salt; it enhances the flavor of the nuts and adds a savory element to their sweetness. It’s a recipe the Johnson family has been perfecting since the 1970s at their 200-acre orchard in Hawkinsville, Georgia. Twin brothers David and Donald now run the operation with the help of their children, preparing thousands of pounds of these treats each holiday season. Set their pecans out at a party, and they’ll practically evaporate from the serving bowl. $26;

Carolina Coffee
With packaging bearing pretty floral embellishments from local Greenville, South Carolina, painter Annie Koelle, each 12-ounce bag of Methodical Coffee makes for a stocking stuffer or hostess gift you don’t even have to wrap. All of the beans are meticulously sourced from around the world and roasted near the outfit’s downtown coffee shop. Keep the good times percolating with a 3-, 6-, or 12-month gift subscription. From $16 per 12-ounce bag or $48 for a 3-month subscription;

Here’s to the Hunt
Radcliff Menge left behind a Wall Street career to launch the Tom Beckbe line of waxed-cotton hunting jackets and vests inspired by his roots spent hunting and fishing along Alabama’s Tombigbee River. His 8-ounce stainless-steel bottle flask, wrapped in oak- or chestnut-stained leather, includes a metal funnel and four toasting cups. $150;

The Secret to Great Grilling
Hands-down one of the most useful kitchen tools this side of a cast-iron skillet, the classic Thermapen—originally developed for commercial kitchens—offers precise internal temperature readings within two to three seconds, so you’ll know exactly when that duck breast has reached a perfectly rosy-red medium-rare. $83;

Hot Little Number
Here’s the answer to a the 3:00 p.m. lull in winter: tisanes, a healthful method for drinking herbal tea à la the fabulous French. Try steeping sage and lemon or cinnamon sticks and cardamom in this thermal carafe by the Hastings Collective and keeping it in the kitchen for easy pouring. $55;

Holiday gift guides from G&G:
>> Gift Ideas Under $50
>> Gift Ideas Under $300
>> Gift Ideas for Southern Cooks
>> Gift Ideas for the Sporting-Minded
>> Gift Ideas for Kids
>> Heirloom-Quality Gifts to Last a Lifetime
>> Our Editors’ Wish List

Also see:
>> The Winter Catalogue from Fieldshop by Garden & Gun

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