Food & Drink

The Twangsgiving Dish Bracket: And the Winners Are…

In a spirited showdown of holiday classics, one Duke’s-enriched recipe came out on top

When it comes to holiday cooking, more than a few of the dishes favored by Southerners share one key ingredient: at least a touch (or a healthy dollop) of mayonnaise. As for which mayonnaise, one company has long stood out among the rest. Dating back to 1917, Duke’s mayonnaise has roots in Greenville, South Carolina, where Eugenia Duke first concocted the condiment that would become a pantry staple, one that makes good on its promise of “It’s Got Twang” by boosting countless dishes. That’s why Garden & Gun partnered with the iconic company for the first-ever Twangsgiving bracket, a mouthwatering tournament between the season’s most beloved, mayo-tinged dishes. 

The bracket began with sixteen classic recipes—including fried chicken, shrimp dip, cheddar biscuits, and Duke’s signature Mayo Bird—which soon narrowed to the final four as readers cast their votes. In the last rounds of the contest, the customary Thanksgiving turkey sandwich went head-to-head with G&G’s traditional pimento cheese, while a rich three-cheese macaroni faced off against a platter of sriracha-spiked deviled eggs

The winner of the first matchup, the turkey sandwich, is a post-holiday lunch we all know well—in homes across the country, a few slices of the leftover bird get slapped between bread with cranberry sauce, greens, and a dollop of Duke’s, making for an effortless meal that rivals the previous day’s feast. Its competitor, pimento cheese, was adapted from G&G’s best-selling Southerner’s Cookbook, and the recipe—which relies on the right mayo to bring it all together—remains an undisputed favorite. 

In the other penultimate race, two more classic recipes duked it out for readers’ votes. Duke’s version of macaroni and cheese stars smoked Gouda, cheddar, and Parmesan, mixed with mayo, butter, sour cream, and bread crumbs to create a gooey dish that’s impossible to resist. Though that kind of decadence is tough to beat, the challenger, deviled eggs, took this round. The recipe, by the Tennessee chef Trevor Higgins, adds a drop of sriracha and a teaspoon of bacon fat, creating a kicked-up version of the traditional hors d’oeuvre. 

The final showdown was close, but in the end, the deviled eggs were crowned the champion. And while any of the Twangsgiving contenders would make for a worthy addition to your festive affair, as Southerners are well aware, comfort food knows no season. So for cozy dinners and family gatherings over the holidays and beyond, dig into these crowd-pleasing creations, each inspiring a new use for that jar of Duke’s already in your fridge. 

Peter Frank Edwards

Learn more about the South’s most beloved mayo—and find more recipes—here.