Gas Station Biscuits

The cheese-filled flavor bombs that Vivian Howard cannot step away from

Photo: Baxter Miller

“Based on an Eastern North Carolina gas station tradition where a knob of hoop cheese is stuffed in the middle of a day-old biscuit and baked again in foil, these biscuits get crispy and the cheese melts around the edges like a lace skirt. I’ve gilded the lily on something pretty shiny already and stuffed some LGD (recipe here) in there with the cheese. They were so irresistible I had to tuck the leftovers under some raw meat packaging in the trash just so I could step away.

The biscuit itself is the brainchild of my coworker Justise Robbins. They are excellent all on their own. The cheese filling is a modified version of my tomato pie topping and the LGD is a gift from heaven.” —Vivian Howard in her new book, This Will Make It Taste Good, which shares her secret-ingredient tricks like her Little Green Dress recipe.


    • 2 cups grated Parmigiano Reggiano (use a Microplane)

    • 2 cups shredded Fontina

    • ⅓ cup mayonnaise

    • ½ tsp. ground black pepper

    • 2½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more to flour your work surface and as needed

    • 1 tbsp. granulated sugar

    • 1 tsp. kosher salt

    • 2½ tsp. baking powder

    • 1 tsp. baking soda

    • 10 tbsp. (1¼ sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes

    • 1½ cups buttermilk

    • Nonstick cooking spray

    • 2/3 cup Little Green Dress, drained of all its liquid


  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Cut eight 6 x 6-inch squares of foil and arrange them on a baking sheet in a single layer (more or less). Each square will hold its own biscuit with the foil folded up around it.

  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the cheeses, mayonnaise, and pepper. Set that aside.

  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda to combine. Using a fork or a pastry blender, cut the butter into the dry mixture until the butter is the size of small peas. Add the buttermilk and stir until the dough comes together.

  4. Once the dough is manageable, flour your work surface and turn the dough onto it. Fold the dough in on itself about four times, kneading gently and taking care not to overwork it. Incorporate more flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking to the table. Roll the dough into a 10-inch square that is ½ inch thick. (Yes, this is thinner than traditional biscuits. Hold your horses and you’ll see why.)

  5. Using a knife or a pizza cutter, cut the dough into sixteen 2½-inch squares. Spray each of the foil squares on the baking sheet with nonstick spray. Put one biscuit square in the middle of each square of foil. Top each biscuit with a scant 3 tablespoons of the cheese mixture. Top that with about 1 tablespoon drained LGD. Finally, put the additional eight biscuits on top of that. Do not press down or try to crimp the edges. I repeat: Do not press down and do not crimp the edges! Instead, lift the sides of the foil up around the biscuits. Each biscuit stack should look like a foil package with an open top. Do not close the packages. (If you do, the biscuits will steam. We want them to brown. I know this looks like a wreck and it may look worse in the oven, but it will work out. Roll with it.)

  6. Slide the biscuits onto the middle rack of your oven and bake for 22 to 25 minutes, until they are browned a bit on top. Serve them warm or at room temperature in the foil. But hell, they’re probably good ice cold.

Excerpted from This Will Make It Taste Good by Vivian Howard