Food & Drink

Summer in the South: 20 Must-Try Recipes

From backyard barbecues to neighborhood potlucks, these dishes will feed you well into fall

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Heirloom Tomato Salad with Green Goddess Buttermilk Dressing

The South’s tomatoes don’t just have great names—Arkansas Travelers, Spear’s Tennessee Greens, Mortgage Lifters, Cherokee Purples—they also have amazing flavors. Let them shine in this summer salad.

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photo: Peter Frank Edwards

Simple Slice-and-Bake Cheese Wafers

Look at these snacks as the cheese straw’s good-time, slice-and-bake cousin. Keep a log of cheese wafer dough in the fridge and have a savory appetizer at a moment’s notice.

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photo: Peter Frank Edwards

Three Variations on Pimento Cheese

Look, we get it—why mess with something as perfect as pimento cheese? But these three riffs on the pâté of the South—spicy pickle, country ham, and charred onion & pecan—give the classic recipe an extra kick.

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photo: Peter Frank Edwards

Bacon Crackers

This simple but magical combination of buttery crackers and crispy bacon might be the easiest and arguably best appetizer ever. 

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photo: Chris Granger

Devilish Deviled Eggs

This cool summer bite is a mainstay from Easter to Labor Day. Our kicked-up version of the classic comes complete with bacon fat and sriracha.

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photo: Peter Frank Edwards

The Party Magnet

Chef Vivian Howard’s take on the cheese ball will have your guests hovering around the appetizer table all night.

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photo: Rex Miller

Fish House Punch

Dating back to the 1740s, this punch is a timeless party favorite.

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photo: Margaret Houston

The Rocket Booster

Tang—yes, that Tang—is the secret ingredient in this ice-cold cocktail.

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photo: Stephen Devries

Mint Julep Slush

Freeze this bourbon sipper in a zip-top plastic bag for an on-the-go frozen drink that’ll keep your beers cold in the cooler, too.

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photo: Margaret Houston

Tomato and White Bread Salad

Tomatoes two ways—fresh and pickled—star in chef Edward Lee’s ode to a Southern summer staple.

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photo: Johnny Autry

Chili Buns & Slaw Dogs

There’s a reason these twists on the hot dog are an Appalachian custard stand classic.

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photo: Johnny Autry

Pool Room Slaw

This make-ahead side gets heat—and plenty of it—from two sources: yellow mustard’s sharpness and as much red pepper as you dare. Try it on hot dogs and burgers as an amped-up condiment, too.

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photo: Peter Frank Edwards

Cane Syrup & Spice-Rubbed Beef Tenderloin

Fire up the grill: In this smoky-sweet dish, cane syrup anchors a rub that’s paired with the king of beef cuts.

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photo: Peter Frank Edwards

Frogmore Stew (AKA Lowcountry Boil)

If you can boil water, you can make Frogmore Stew—which makes this summer classic one of the most low-stress (and delicious) ways to feed a crowd.

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photo: Peter Frank Edwards

Slowly Simmered Field Peas

A constellation of other summer-garden stars complement classic Southern peas: tomato, jalapeño, and a medley of herbs.

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photo: Peter Frank Edwards

Perfectly Fried Catfish with Whiskey Tartar Sauce

Frying seafood is a skill every Southern cook should master, and the only thing better than chef Duane Nutter’s classic cornmeal catfish is the whiskey-spiked tartar sauce he pairs with it.

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photo: Peter Frank Edwards

Cast-Iron Skillet Blueberry Cobbler

Fresh blueberries get the cast-iron treatment in this easier-than-pie summer dessert.

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photo: Johnny Autry

Strawberry Delight

Simple and engaging whether scooped into bowls or served in slices, icebox desserts are the lazy cook’s alternative to ice cream—and this standout version is a busy host’s best friend.

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photo: Johnny Autry

Homemade Peach Ice Cream

Sure, a chin-soaking bite of a just-picked peach is hard to top, but nothing cools down a sultry day better than homemade peach ice cream.

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photo: Peter Frank Edwards

Strawberry-Moonshine Fried Hand Pies 

Filled with fresh strawberries and a dash of moonshine, these home-fried pies are a sweet taste of summer.

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photo: Peter Frank Edwards

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