At Garden & Gun, we love livermush. Okay, not all of us. When we cooked a batch at the office a while back, some of the editors were less than enthusiastic about the name. But those who were brave enough to sample the North Carolina treat realized that it’s actually a lot tastier than its unappetizing moniker implies. That’s why we included livermush in our April/May issue, on our list of fifty reasons to love the South now.
In that article, we mentioned that chef Clark Barlowe serves scratch-made livermush at Heirloom restaurant in Charlotte. A native of Lenoir, North Carolina, the chef has eaten the regional staple for as long as he can remember. “I don’t know many other five-year-old kids whose favorite food is livermush,” he says. “Always on a biscuit, and always with mustard.” The recipe he uses at the restaurant today comes from his great-grandmother, whose family had already lived in rural Caldwell County for four or five generations before she stepped into the kitchen. It’s dead simple if you have a meat grinder or food processor at your disposal. Enjoy the finished product on a warm biscuit with grape jelly or mustard, and ask your friends and family to try it for themselves before they get nervous about the name.
“It doesn’t sound appetizing,” Barlowe says, “but it’s funny: When we put it on the menu, even though we’re a white-tablecloth restaurant, we sell out every time. People come in for a fine-dining menu, but when they see livermush, they’re like, I’ve got to have that!”