Food & Drink

30 of the South’s Best Brunch Recipes

Inspiration for an unforgettable weekend meal—from champagne punch to bacon fat biscuits
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Karl Worley’s Family Reserve Biscuits

“Flour is eighty-five percent of the taste,” says Karl Worley, who with his wife, Sarah, runs Nashville’s Biscuit Love. “Whenever possible I tell folks to buy a local flour.” Worley also lobbies for the purest buttermilk you can find and real honest-to-goodness lard.

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photo: Margaret Houston

Baked Eggs with Braised Leeks

“The recipe is a starting-off point,” says Tom Colicchio, Top Chef judge and founder of Crafted Hospitality. “Add different ingredients—from bacon to truffles—and play with it.”

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photo: Jacqueline Stofsick | Food Styling: Phillip Rhodes

Side Porch Sangria

This recipe for a sangria riff balances the juicy flavors of white wine with bracing Campari. “Boxed or bottled apricot juice rounds out the drink,” writes Maggie Hoffman, author of Batch Cocktails. “For a lighter version, I like to top off the mix with a splash of chilled seltzer.”

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photo: Kelly Puleio

Sea Island Shrimp & Grits

“Cream in grits is cheating,”says chef and television personality  Carla Hall. “Yes, you have to stand over the stove and whisk for almost an hour, but your reward is silky grits. The only sauce here comes from the juices that the shrimp and tomatoes let out while cooking—and it’s plenty to run in rivulets into the grits.”

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photo: Gabriele Stabile

Emeril Lagasse’s Cajun Bloody Mary

“You can’t go wrong with a Bloody in the morning,” says Chef and TV host Emeril Lagasse. “Kicking them up with the extra spice will make sure you’re awake and ready for the day.”

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>MORE: SEE OTHER BLOODY MARY RECIPES

photo: Courtesy of Emeril’s Homebase

Dilly Beans

Upgrade the Bloody Mary bar with this crisp—and delicious—homemade garnish.

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photo: Johnny Autry

Pecan Praline Pancakes

Atlanta chef Anne Quatrano shares her decadent recipe. But is it for brunch or dessert? You decide. (“Both” is also a perfectly acceptable answer.)

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>MORE: READ AN INTERVIEW WITH CHEF ANNE QUATRANO

Raspberry Cornbread Muffins

Easy, beautiful, and sort of like Southern cornbread studded with fresh fruit—courtesy of Amanda Brooks.

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Pimento Cheese Soufflé

This mile-high spin on the Southern classic is as at home on the breakfast table as it is at happy hour.

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photo: eva kolenko

Zucchini Bread

Zucchini bread has been a regular as a teacher gift, a potluck offering, and a welcome-to-the-neighborhood present for about as long as people have been overwhelmed by a garden full of zucchini. To give it a Southern touch, don’t skip the chopped pecans.

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photo: Phillip Rhodes

Grilled Peach Toast with Pimento Cheese

Chef Todd Richards blends two Southern classics for this sweet and savory treat.

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photo: Greg Dupree

Home-Cured Sorghum Bacon

This recipe does take a bit more time than just frying a skillet full of strips. But you know what comes to those who wait? Really good bacon.

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photo: Peter Frank Edwards

Rosé Slushy

This easy-sipping “frosé” cocktail is your new go-to patio drink—and a great daytime sipper, too.

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photo: Lizzie Munro

Vivian Howard’s Apple and Country Ham Hand Pies

Add chopped country ham to a filling of dried apples boiled soft in cider and lemon zest.—then pulverize more ham in a food processor to make a powder to sprinkle on the pies while they’re hot.

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photo: JOHNNY AUTRY

Bacon-Fat Biscuits

Trade bacon grease for lard in a standard recipe, and the bacon’ll be in the biscuit. (But you can always sneak a few slices, too).

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photo: Margaret Houston

Sweet Potato Bis-Cakes

Cooking mistakes can be like little kitchen miracles—which is how Atlanta chef Erika Council came to develop her recipe for sweet potato pancakes.

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photo: Johnny Autry

Champagne Punch

What’s a brunch without bubbly?  This handwritten recipe is preserved in the archives of the South Carolina Historical Society in Charleston—and it absolutely holds up today.

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photo: Johnny Autry. Food Styling: Charlotte Autry

huevos con migas

Huevos Con Migas

This version of the Tex-Mex favorite (which translates roughly as “eggs with tortilla strips”) keeps a host’s timeframe in mind—most of the ingredients can be assembled ahead, and then the dish is baked instead of scrambled.

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photo: Sandy Wilson

Southern Lox

“I don’t like to use ingredients from too far away, and salmon are incredibly far away,” says Asheville, North Carolina chef Steven Goff. “What we do have here is great trout.” He cures fillets in a mixture of sweet potato vodka, dill, citrus, and spices, and serves the resulting lox over bagels and salads.

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photo: Margaret Houston

Pecan-Praline Rolls

Craving something sweet? Try these sugary, nut-studded rolls with European influences and Texas roots.

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photo: Sandy Wilson

The Cereal Killer

Not many people would make the leap between breakfast cereal and whiskey, but that’s just what triggered New Orleans mixologist Kim Patton-Bragg’s inspired riff on bourbon milk punch.

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photo: Margaret Houston

Pimento Cheese Biscuits

For an unbeatable morning snack, try mixing the creamy Southern staple into your biscuit dough.

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photo: Margaret Houston | Food Styling: Phillip Rhodes

Ham Croquettes

These golden-fried ham cakes are a Basque dish any Southerner is sure to love

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photo: Simon Bajada

Big Bad Breakfast Egg Bake

This dish highlights one of chef John Currence’s favorite tricks—pile all ingredients into a single bowl. “I love the idea of a one-pot meal where you just dive in,” he says. “The flavors of bacon, eggs, and grits are in each bite.”

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photo: Ed Anderson

Wingate Spritz

Honeysuckle Vodka meets grapefruit, Aperol, and Champagne for a must-try twist on the mimosa.

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Grillades and Grits

Meet the perfect Creole brunch dish.

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photo: Peter Frank Edwards

Bloody Good Punch

A Bloody Bull is an even richer spin on a Bloody Mary. Make it batch-style, like one G&G writer’s family, and prepare to bowl over your party guests

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photo: Jacqueline Stofsick

Lemon Cornmeal Cake

If you like your cornbread sweet, fine. But then call it what it is—a cake. This makes an excellent light brunch with coffee or juice.

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photo: BRYAN GARDNER

Devilish Deviled Eggs

“I go classic with mustard and mayonnaise,” says Tennessee chef Trevor Higgins. “But the twist is I add a drop of Sriracha and bacon fat.” We’ll take a dozen, please.

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photo: Peter Frank Edwards

Mimosa Fried Chicken Biscuit

This fusion of two morning staples comes complete with spicy slaw, sweet potato butter, and a single poached egg.

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