Over the past two years, Joe Kindred has transformed the former Rusty Rudder fish camp into the stylish new Hello, Sailor, a beachy, modern tribute to tradition on the shores of Lake Norman in Cornelius, North Carolina. The chef and restaurateur also went to work on one of his favorite fish camp snacks: the humble hush puppy, which he elevated almost to pastry with heirloom cornmeal and plenty of butter.
“I’ve always liked tearing my hush puppies in half and dunking them in butter,” Kindred says. “We fry these to order, so you get pieces of just-melted butter inside. They eat like beignets, with beautiful reddish-brown speckles from the cornmeal.”
Customers are on board. “People are telling me that the hush puppies are the new milk bread,” says Kindred, referencing the signature appetizer at his Kindred restaurant in nearby Davidson. G&G contributor and Southern Foodways Alliance director John T. Edge raved about them in our June/July issue. But you don’t have to visit the Tarheel State to find out what all the fuss is about, because Kindred has agreed to share his recipe with G&G.
Kindred serves these with tart-and-spicy yuzu kosho butter, but honey butter is the traditional choice.