Of all breads, this is the most controversial. People are serious about their cornbread almost as much as they are about their BBQ. I have actually witnessed arguments over what is considered real cornbread.
The general consciences is that Northern cornbread is sweet and more cake like and Southern cornbread is dense and drier. Some add cracklings, broccoli, okra, cream corn, peppers, honey..you name it...someone has probably thrown it in a batch of cornbread.
Now, I'm not one to argue with someone on what taste they prefer..if you like sweet cornbread..fine..you just go right ahead and eat your sweet cornbread. Me, if I want something sweet, light, and moist, I'll go eat a piece of cake.
First, REAL southern cornbread does not contain ANY sugar. Yes, you read me correctly. There is absolutely NO sweetener in REAL southern cornbread. Anyone who argues that point does not make REAL southern cornbread. Southern cornbread is just a bread that accompanies a meal. It is not a form of dessert.
Secondly, REAL southern cornbread is always made in cast iron. ALWAYS...it can be a round skillet, wedge shaped skillet, corn stick pan, or if you're lucky like me, you have your grandmothers old cast iron muffin pan. Doesn't matter...as long as its cast iron. There is a flavor that cast iron gives that nothing else compares.
Thirdly, REAL southern cornbread has very little flour. We like the texture and taste of cornmeal. Its the point of cornbread. If your recipe calls for a 50/50 ratio of cornmeal and flour. It's not southern cornbread.
Fourth rule to REAL southern cornbread...BACON DRIPPINGS...yes, I said it. Bacon drippings. Now don't go and shake your head and run in fear of your arteries clogging. If you want watch the fat then you shouldn't be eating cornbread to start with..go buy wheat flat bread and have an avocado roll. Besides, the taste of southern cornbread is not complete without it.
Last but not least, even some of us southern ladies argue about. Does REAL southern cornbread contain eggs or not? Actually...not. Cornbread is meant to be dense but crumbly. Adding eggs makes it more cake like. Which if you've kept up so far, already know...should never be considered southern cornbread.
2 cups stone ground cornmeal
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1-1/2 tablespoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
Pinch of black pepper
2 cups buttermilk
2-1/2 tablespoons bacon drippings
First, prepare your pan. Coat the side and bottom of your skillet (muffin or corn stick pan) with the bacon drippings. Place in a preheated 350 degree oven.
In a mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients and mix well. Add 1-1/2 cups of buttermilk and blend well.
Remove your hot skillet from the oven ( The drippings should be hot but not smoking) and pour the melted bacon drippings into your batter, mixing well.
Add the remaining buttermilk into your batter until its slightly thicker than pancake batter. If to thick add more buttermilk. If its to thin add more cornmeal. DO NOT ADD MORE FLOUR.
Bake for 15-20 minutes in a 375 degree oven or until the top is golden brown and tooth pick comes out clean.
Enjoy with any meal or just a bowl of your favorite beans.