Here are 12 bizarre Southern foods that are considered delicacies south of the Mason-Dixon Line.
Maybe it is a cultural divide, or maybe there just isn’t enough room on the restaurant menus, but everyone deserves to know about these unusual delicacies. Hopefully everyone will have a chance to try something uniquely Southern at least once in their lifetime. Next time you are in the South, try one of these 12 unique items.
12. Deep Fried Butter
Yes, it’s true, in the South they have found a way to deep fry butter and it is as sinfully delicious as it sounds. The butter balls can be prepared more savory with cream cheese, salt and pepper, or they can be served as a dessert by coating with a cinnamon sugar batter, frying them and then topping with a sweet glaze. Skip past the saying “everything is better with butter” and go straight to “butter is better with butter.”
Maybe with a more charming name than livermush, this item could be a little more popular, but down south it is more about taste than labels so livermush remains a staple for many households. A mixture of pig liver, head parts and cornmeal, all items are blended into a paste and then baked in a loaf pan before sliced and served.
10. Pickled Pigs Feet
Pickled pigs feet…if that doesn’t make your stomach growl, then I don’t know what will. A quick snack or a side for a meal, pickled pigs feet are prepared much like the way vegetables are pickled by placing smoked pigs feet into a hot vinegar brine and then sealing them in a jar. If that sounds like a lot of work, stop by any grocery store and you will likely find prepared pigs feet ready for your consumption!
9. Head Cheese
You will need to walk right on past the dairy aisle to find this special “cheese.” Located next to your favorite meat items, head cheese is a combination of parts of a pig or sheep’s head mixed with gelatin. Typically it is consumed on as a sandwich cold or at room temperature.
8. Boiled Peanuts
Dubbed the official snack food of South Carolina, boiled peanuts are one Southern food everyone needs to try at least once. For several hours, peanuts still in the shell are boiled in heavily salted and seasoned water to soften and soak in the flavors. To eat, you still take the peanuts out of the shell, unless it is a smaller, younger peanut then go for it and eat the whole thing. If you try just one, go for a Cajun flavored boiled peanut!
Turducken, only in the South can someone be genius enough to place a meat within a meat, within a meat. A whole lot of poultry in one dish, turducken is a chicken inside of a duck, inside of a turkey and then any open spaces are filled with stuffing. One thing is guaranteed, this would be a juicy, delicious showstopper at any Thanksgiving table.
Chitlins is one of the Southern delicacies that most everyone has heard of, but few have ventured to try. Chitlins are the small intenstines of a pig or cow. The most common method of preparation is to deep-fry them. If you want to try cooking them, take a pro’s advice and cook them outside. Some people may like the strong aroma, but most find it too pungent to fix inside.
5. Rocky Mountain Oysters
Don’t be fooled by the name rocky mountain oysters. This dish comes from nowhere near the ocean, but instead originates from the southern and western country areas of the United States. Considered quite the delicacy, rocky mountain oysters are cooked bull calve testicles that are peeled, sliced, battered, and fried.
4. Traditional Brunswick Stew
A combination of several vegetables including okra, lima beans, butter beans, paired with squirrel, rabbit or even opossum, Brunswick stew is a common dish served in the South that some people may shy away from due to the use of non-standard meats. If you aren’t necessarily looking for an authentic Brunswick stew, there are also many recipes that call for chicken, pork, or beef if that sounds more appealing.
3. Alligator on a Stick
Supposedly similar to the taste of chicken, alligator is becoming popular not only in the South but at numerous state fairs as a unique offering that stands out amongst the endless supply corndogs and kabobs. A versatile meat, the South has found many other ways to fix alligator besides frying and serving on a stick, including alligator chili, alligator etouffee, grilled alligator tail and even alligator meatballs.
2. Pimento Cheese
Forget real caviar, pimento cheese is the caviar of the south and can be eaten on sandwiches, as hors d’oeuvres, as a light snack, or as an ingredient alongside your rolled chicken dish. Made with cheddar cheese, pimentos, hot sauce, cream cheese, onions, garlic, and a slew of other add-in options pimento cheese brings delight with every bite.
It seems that there are no limits in the South when it comes to critters that cab be turned into a savory dish, as you can see with the pan-seared possum pictured above. Like any other meat, the preparation options are endless. Possum can be marinated, baked, fried, seared, or left for the road crew, whichever you prefer.