What Are Some Soul Food Recipes That Are Popular For Sunday Dinners?

If you’re looking to make your Sunday dinners even more special and comforting, then soul food recipes might just be the answer! From fried chicken that’s crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, to creamy and flavorful macaroni and cheese, soul food has a way of bringing people together around the dinner table. With its rich history and deep roots in African American culture, soul food has become a beloved cuisine with dishes like collard greens, cornbread, and sweet potato pie, just to name a few. So, if you’re wondering what soul food recipes are popular for Sunday dinners, prepare to indulge in a mouth-watering feast that will leave everyone asking for seconds.

Fried Chicken

Southern-style recipe

Fried chicken is a classic Southern dish that is beloved by many. The secret to a delicious Southern-style fried chicken lies in the crispy, flavorful coating and tender, juicy meat. To make this mouthwatering dish, start by marinating chicken pieces in a buttermilk mixture. This not only adds flavor but also helps to tenderize the meat. After marinating for a few hours or overnight, it’s time to prepare the coating.

The traditional Southern-style coating consists of a mixture of flour, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. This combination of spices adds a delightful kick and an irresistible flavor to the fried chicken. Generously coat each piece of chicken with the seasoned flour mixture, ensuring that it is evenly coated.

Next, heat a large skillet or deep fryer with vegetable oil over medium-high heat. It’s important to maintain a consistent temperature of around 350 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the frying process. Place the coated chicken pieces into the hot oil, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Fry the chicken until it is golden brown and crispy on the outside and fully cooked on the inside. This usually takes about 12-15 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken pieces.

Once the chicken is done, carefully remove it from the oil and place it on a wire rack or paper towel-lined plate to drain any excess oil. Let the fried chicken rest for a few minutes before serving to ensure that it is piping hot and the flavors have fully developed. Serve it alongside your favorite sides, such as collard greens or mac and cheese, for a complete Southern soul food experience.

Frying tips

To achieve the perfect fried chicken, there are a few key tips to keep in mind. First, make sure the chicken pieces are at room temperature before frying. This allows for even cooking and helps to avoid undercooked or overcooked chicken.

Another important tip is to use the right oil for frying. Vegetable or peanut oil is commonly used due to their high smoke points and neutral flavors. Avoid using oils with strong flavors, such as olive oil, as it can overpower the taste of the chicken.

Maintaining the right oil temperature is crucial for achieving crispy, golden-brown chicken. Invest in a kitchen thermometer to ensure the oil stays at a consistent temperature of around 350 degrees Fahrenheit. This will prevent the chicken from becoming greasy or undercooked.

Lastly, it’s important to fry the chicken in batches, rather than crowding the pan. Overcrowding can lower the temperature of the oil and result in soggy, unevenly cooked chicken. Give each piece of chicken enough space to cook evenly and maintain its crispy crust.

Sauce pairings

Fried chicken pairs wonderfully with a variety of sauces and dips, adding an extra layer of flavor and moisture to the dish. Here are a few sauce options that complement a Southern-style fried chicken:

  • Homemade BBQ sauce: A tangy and slightly sweet BBQ sauce can elevate the flavors of fried chicken. Serve it on the side for dipping or brush it onto the chicken during the final minutes of frying for a delicious glaze.

  • Hot sauce: For those who enjoy a spicy kick, hot sauce is the perfect accompaniment to fried chicken. Choose your favorite hot sauce or make your own by combining vinegar, hot peppers, garlic, and other seasonings.

  • Honey mustard: The combination of sweet honey and tangy mustard creates a flavorful dipping sauce for fried chicken. It balances out the savory flavors and adds a touch of sweetness to each bite.

  • Ranch dressing: Creamy ranch dressing is a classic choice for fried chicken lovers. Its cool, tangy flavor complements the crispy coating and adds a refreshing element to the dish.

Feel free to experiment with different sauces and dips to find your personal favorite. Whether you prefer something spicy, tangy, or sweet, there’s a sauce out there to take your fried chicken to the next level.

Collard Greens

Traditional preparation methods

Collard greens are a staple in Southern cuisine and are often considered a must-have side dish for Sunday dinners. Traditional preparation involves slowly cooking the greens with flavorful ingredients to create a tender and savory dish.

To begin, start by thoroughly washing the collard greens to remove any dirt or grit. Remove the tough stems and ribs, as they can be chewy and fibrous. Roll up the leaves tightly and slice them into thin strips. This helps to make the collard greens more tender and easier to eat.

In a large pot, heat some oil or rendered fat over medium heat. Add diced onions and minced garlic, and sauté until they become fragrant and lightly golden. This serves as a flavor base for the collard greens.

Next, add the sliced collard greens to the pot, along with some water or broth. The liquid helps to steam and cook the greens, resulting in tender leaves. Season the collard greens with salt, black pepper, and any additional spices or herbs you prefer. Traditional Southern seasonings may include smoked ham hocks, bacon, or a dash of hot sauce for a bit of heat.

Cover the pot and let the collard greens simmer over low heat for approximately 1-2 hours, or until they reach the desired tenderness. Stir occasionally to ensure even cooking and to prevent sticking.

Health benefits

Collard greens are not only delicious but also highly nutritious. They are packed with an array of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that contribute to overall health and well-being. Here are a few of the health benefits that collard greens offer:

  • Rich in vitamins and minerals: Collard greens are an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as calcium, iron, and fiber. These nutrients are essential for maintaining healthy bones, supporting the immune system, and promoting proper digestion.

  • Antioxidant properties: Collard greens are loaded with antioxidants, including beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants help protect the body against damage from free radicals and reduce the risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease and certain types of cancer.

  • Weight management: With their high fiber content and low calorie count, collard greens are a great addition to a weight-conscious diet. The fiber helps to promote feelings of fullness and aids in digestion, while the low calorie count allows for guilt-free indulgence.

  • Heart health: The combination of antioxidants, fiber, and other beneficial compounds in collard greens contributes to heart health. It helps to lower cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation, and improve overall cardiovascular function.

Mixing with other vegetables

Collard greens can be easily combined with other vegetables to create flavorful and nutritious dishes. Mixing different vegetables adds variety to the flavors and textures, making it a more exciting side dish. Here are a few ideas for combining collard greens with other vegetables:

  • Collard greens and black-eyed peas: This combination is a Southern classic and perfect for a Sunday dinner. When cooked together, collard greens and black-eyed peas create a hearty and flavorful dish that pairs well with cornbread or rice.

  • Collard greens and sweet potatoes: The sweetness of the sweet potatoes balances out the bitterness of the collard greens, creating a harmonious blend of flavors. Sauté the collard greens and sweet potatoes together for a delicious and healthy side dish.

  • Collard greens and tomatoes: This combination brings together the earthy flavors of collard greens with the tanginess of tomatoes. Sautee diced tomatoes with the collard greens to create a bright and refreshing dish.

Experiment with different vegetables and seasonings to find your favorite combinations. Mixing collard greens with other vegetables not only enhances the flavors but also boosts the nutritional value of your meal, making it even more soulful and satisfying.

What Are Some Soul Food Recipes That Are Popular For Sunday Dinners?

Mac and Cheese

Classic recipe

Mac and cheese is a comfort food classic that brings a sense of warmth and nostalgia to any Sunday dinner table. The rich and creamy combination of pasta and cheese is simply irresistible. While there are countless variations of mac and cheese, the classic recipe remains a popular choice.

To prepare the classic mac and cheese, start by boiling your favorite pasta shape, such as elbow macaroni, according to the package instructions. Cook it until it is al dente, meaning it’s still firm to the bite.

In a separate saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and stir continuously to create a roux. This helps to thicken the sauce and creates a smooth texture. Gradually whisk in milk, ensuring there are no lumps. Bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring constantly.

Next, add your choice of cheese to the sauce. Cheddar cheese is a popular option for mac and cheese, but feel free to experiment with other varieties such as Gruyere, Monterey Jack, or even a blend of cheeses. Stir until the cheese has fully melted, creating a smooth and velvety sauce.

Combine the cooked pasta with the cheese sauce, ensuring that every noodle is coated in the creamy goodness. Season with salt, pepper, and any additional spices or herbs to taste. Some popular additions include paprika, garlic powder, or a pinch of nutmeg for a hint of warmth.

Transfer the mac and cheese to a baking dish and top with a generous sprinkle of breadcrumbs for added crunchiness. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until the top becomes golden brown and bubbly. This usually takes around 20-25 minutes.

Various cheese combinations

While the classic mac and cheese recipe is undeniably delicious, it’s always fun to experiment with different cheese combinations to create unique and flavorful variations. Here are a few popular cheese combinations for mac and cheese:

  • Four Cheese: Combine equal parts of cheddar, Monterey Jack, Gruyere, and Parmesan cheese for a rich and decadent mac and cheese. The blend of different cheeses adds complexity and enhances the overall flavor.

  • Smoked Gouda and Bacon: For a smoky and savory twist, incorporate smoked Gouda cheese into the mac and cheese. Its distinct flavor pairs perfectly with crispy bacon, creating a hearty and delicious dish.

  • Blue Cheese and Caramelized Onions: Blue cheese adds a bold and tangy flavor to mac and cheese. Combine it with sweet and caramelized onions for a delightful contrast of flavors. The creaminess of the blue cheese balances out the sweetness of the onions, creating a unique and sophisticated mac and cheese experience.

Feel free to mix and match your favorite cheeses or experiment with new combinations to create a mac and cheese that suits your taste buds. Don’t be afraid to get creative and add your own personal twist to this beloved comfort food.

Preparing a creamy sauce

The key to a delicious mac and cheese lies in the creamy sauce that holds everything together. Here are a few tips to ensure that your mac and cheese is perfectly creamy and luscious:

  • Use real cheese: While processed cheese may be tempting due to its meltability, opt for real cheese whenever possible. Real cheese adds depth of flavor and a luxurious texture to the sauce. Choose high-quality cheeses and grate them yourself for the best results.

  • Slowly incorporate the milk: When adding milk to the roux, it’s important to do so gradually to avoid forming lumps. Whisk continuously to create a smooth mixture. If lumps do form, use a whisk or an immersion blender to blend them out until the sauce is silky and smooth.

  • Choose the right milk: Whole milk is often preferred for mac and cheese as it provides a rich and creamy texture. However, if you’re looking to reduce the fat content, you can use low-fat milk or a combination of milk and chicken or vegetable broth. Keep in mind that using lower-fat milk may result in a slightly less creamy sauce.

  • Don’t overcook the sauce: Be cautious not to overcook the sauce, as it can lead to graininess or a broken texture. Once the cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth, remove it from the heat. Letting the sauce sit for a few minutes before combining it with the pasta allows it to thicken slightly and further develop the flavors.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your mac and cheese boasts a velvety, rich, and ultra-creamy sauce that is sure to satisfy even the most discerning cheese lover.


Baking tips

Cornbread is a versatile and delicious addition to any Sunday dinner. With its slightly sweet yet savory flavor and moist texture, cornbread pairs perfectly with a wide variety of soul food dishes. Here are a few tips to ensure that your cornbread is perfect every time:

  • Preheat the pan: Before preparing the batter, preheat the baking pan in the oven. This helps to create a crispy, golden crust on the bottom and sides of the cornbread. Use a cast-iron skillet or a square baking dish for the best results.

  • Use buttermilk: Buttermilk adds a tangy flavor and moisture to the cornbread. If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can make a quick substitute by adding a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to a cup of milk and letting it sit for a few minutes.

  • Don’t overmix: When combining the wet and dry ingredients, be careful not to overmix the batter. Overmixing can result in a dense and tough cornbread. Mix the ingredients just until they are combined, ensuring there are no lumps of dry flour, but do not overdo it.

  • Add mix-ins: To personalize your cornbread, consider adding mix-ins such as corn kernels, chopped jalapenos, or cheese. These additions add texture and flavor to the cornbread, taking it to the next level. Gently fold in the mix-ins just before pouring the batter into the baking dish.

  • Bake at the right temperature: Cornbread is typically baked at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for a golden crust and a tender crumb. Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Sweet vs savory versions

Cornbread can be customized to suit a variety of preferences, ranging from sweet to savory. Here’s a breakdown of the key differences between sweet and savory cornbread:

  • Sweet cornbread: Sweet cornbread is made with the addition of sugar or honey to the batter, giving it a subtle sweetness. It pairs well with sweeter dishes, such as BBQ ribs or honey-glazed ham. Sweet cornbread is often enjoyed as a standalone snack or dessert.

  • Savory cornbread: Savory cornbread omits sugar or honey from the recipe and focuses on the natural flavors of cornmeal. It has a more neutral taste, allowing it to pair well with saltier dishes, such as fried chicken or collard greens. Savory cornbread is often used to soak up the juices and sauces of other dishes.

While personal preferences vary, it’s worth trying both versions to discover the one that best complements your meal and satisfies your taste buds.

Butter and honey toppings

To enhance the flavor and enjoyment of cornbread, many people opt for butter and honey toppings. The combination of rich, creamy butter and sweet, golden honey is a classic choice that enhances both the taste and texture of the cornbread.

When the cornbread comes out of the oven, allow it to cool slightly before serving. This helps to set the crumb and allows the flavors to meld together. Cut the cornbread into slices or squares and slather each piece with a generous pat of butter. The butter melts into the warm cornbread, adding richness and moisture.

To further elevate the sweetness, drizzle a small amount of honey over the buttered cornbread. The honey adds a touch of natural sweetness that complements the slightly savory taste of the bread. The combination of butter and honey creates a comforting and indulgent treat that is sure to be a hit at any Sunday dinner table.

Feel free to experiment with other toppings and spreads, such as flavored butters or fruit preserves, to add your own unique twist to this beloved Southern accompaniment.

What Are Some Soul Food Recipes That Are Popular For Sunday Dinners?

Black-Eyed Peas

Choosing between canned and dry peas

Black-eyed peas are a nutritious and delicious legume that is commonly enjoyed as a side dish or main course during Sunday dinners. When it comes to preparing black-eyed peas, you have the option of using either canned or dry peas. Each option has its own pros and cons.

Canned black-eyed peas: Using canned black-eyed peas offers convenience and saves time in the cooking process. The peas are already cooked and simply need to be heated before serving. Canned black-eyed peas also tend to have a softer texture, which some people prefer. However, they may lack the depth of flavor that comes with cooking from scratch.

Dry black-eyed peas: Cooking dry black-eyed peas from scratch requires a longer preparation time but allows for more control over the final dish. Dry peas tend to have a firmer texture and absorb flavors from the ingredients they are cooked with. This results in a more flavorful and satisfying dish. Soaking the dry peas overnight before cooking helps to reduce the cooking time and improve their texture.

Ultimately, the choice between canned and dry black-eyed peas depends on your time constraints and personal preferences. If you’re looking for a quick and convenient option, canned peas are a great choice. If you prefer a fresher, more flavorful experience and have the time to spare, cooking dry black-eyed peas from scratch is the way to go.

Seasoning suggestions

Black-eyed peas provide a canvas for a wide variety of seasonings and flavors. Adding the right combination of spices and herbs can turn this humble legume into a flavorful and satisfying dish. Here are some popular seasoning suggestions for black-eyed peas:

  • Onion and garlic: Finely chopped onion and minced garlic are essential for building flavor in black-eyed peas. Sauté them in some oil before adding the peas to the pot. They provide a savory and aromatic base for the dish.

  • Smoked meat: Adding smoked meat, such as ham hocks, bacon, or smoked turkey, imparts a rich and smoky flavor to the black-eyed peas. The meat slowly cooks alongside the peas, infusing them with savory goodness.

  • Bay leaves: Bay leaves add a subtle earthiness to black-eyed peas. They can be added to the pot during cooking and removed before serving. Be sure to use whole bay leaves rather than crushed to make the removal process easier.

  • Spices: Experiment with spices such as paprika, cayenne pepper, thyme, or cumin to add depth and complexity to the flavor profile of black-eyed peas. These spices can be added to taste, giving the peas a unique and personalized touch.

  • Acidic ingredients: Adding a splash of vinegar or a squeeze of lemon juice towards the end of cooking helps to brighten the flavors of black-eyed peas. The acidity balances out the richness and adds a refreshing note.

Feel free to adjust the seasonings to your liking and experiment with different combinations. The key is to create a dish that suits your taste buds and complements the rest of your Sunday dinner spread.

Nutritional value

Black-eyed peas are not only delicious but also highly nutritious. Packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber, black-eyed peas offer a range of health benefits that make them a great addition to any Sunday dinner. Here are some of the nutritional benefits that black-eyed peas provide:

  • Protein: Black-eyed peas are an excellent plant-based source of protein. They contain all nine essential amino acids, making them a nutritious option for vegetarians and vegans. Incorporating black-eyed peas into your diet helps to promote muscle growth and repair.

  • Fiber: Black-eyed peas are a rich source of dietary fiber, which is important for maintaining a healthy digestive system and preventing constipation. The fiber content also helps to regulate blood sugar levels and promote feelings of fullness, aiding in weight management.

  • Iron: Black-eyed peas are a good source of iron, an essential mineral that plays a crucial role in oxygen transport and energy production in the body. Incorporating black-eyed peas into your diet can help prevent iron deficiency anemia and promote overall energy levels.

  • Vitamins and minerals: Black-eyed peas are a rich source of various vitamins and minerals, including folate, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin A. These nutrients contribute to overall health and well-being, supporting proper immune function, cardiovascular health, and bone health.

By adding black-eyed peas to your Sunday dinner menu, you’re not only treating yourself to a flavorful dish but also reaping the numerous health benefits that these legumes offer.


History of gumbo

Gumbo is a beloved dish with deep roots in Southern cuisine, particularly in Louisiana. It is a flavorful and hearty stew that combines various ingredients and culinary traditions. Understanding the history of gumbo can help you appreciate the cultural significance behind this iconic dish.

Gumbo traces its origins back to West Africa, where a thick, okra-based stew known as “gombo” was commonly prepared. During the transatlantic slave trade, African slaves brought their culinary traditions to the Southern United States, including the use of okra as a thickening agent in stews. Over time, this West African stew evolved and adapted to include influences from French, Spanish, and Native American cooking styles.

As European settlers arrived in Louisiana, they introduced ingredients such as roux (a mixture of fat and flour) and the concept of using a combination of meats and seafood in stews. This fusion of African, French, Spanish, and Native American influences gave rise to the iconic gumbo we know today.

Seafood and chicken gumbo

Gumbo is incredibly versatile in terms of ingredients, allowing for a wide range of variations based on personal preferences and regional traditions. However, two popular and widely enjoyed variations include seafood gumbo and chicken gumbo.

Seafood gumbo: Seafood gumbo is a quintessential dish in Louisiana cuisine, particularly in New Orleans. It typically consists of a flavorful blend of shrimp, crab, oysters, and sometimes fish, simmered in a rich broth thickened with a roux. The seafood is complemented by a combination of vegetables, such as onions, bell peppers, and celery, known as the “holy trinity” in Cajun and Creole cooking. Seafood gumbo is often seasoned with a medley of herbs and spices, including thyme, bay leaves, and cayenne pepper, to create a vibrant and complex flavor profile.

Chicken gumbo: Chicken gumbo is another popular variation enjoyed throughout the Southern United States. It features tender chicken pieces, typically bone-in, simmered with a variety of vegetables and herbs. Chicken gumbo often includes the “holy trinity” of onions, bell peppers, and celery, along with other vegetables such as okra and tomatoes. The broth is typically thickened with a roux, and a combination of spices and herbs add depth and flavor to the dish.

Both seafood gumbo and chicken gumbo represent the diversity and rich culinary heritage of the South. They are hearty, comforting dishes that provide a taste of the region’s history and culture.

Slow-cooking methods

Gumbo is a labor of love that benefits from slow and steady cooking methods. Allowing the flavors to meld together over time results in a deeply flavorful and satisfying dish. Here are two popular slow-cooking methods for gumbo:

Stovetop method: The stovetop method involves simmering the gumbo over low heat for an extended period, allowing the flavors to deepen and the ingredients to tenderize. Start by preparing the roux, which is the foundation of gumbo. In a large pot or Dutch oven, cook equal parts of fat (such as oil or butter) and flour over medium heat, stirring constantly until it reaches a desired shade of brown. Be patient during this process, as a well-cooked roux adds complexity and depth to the gumbo.

Once the roux is ready, add the chopped vegetables and continue to cook until they soften. Slowly pour in the broth, stirring well to incorporate the roux. Add the protein of your choice, whether it’s seafood, chicken, or a combination, along with herbs and spices. Lower the heat to a gentle simmer and let the gumbo cook for at least an hour, but preferably longer, such as two to three hours. This slow-cooking process allows the flavors to develop and intensify.

Slow cooker method: Alternatively, you can use a slow cooker to prepare gumbo. Brown the roux on the stovetop as mentioned above, then transfer it to the slow cooker. Add all the remaining ingredients, including the vegetables, protein, and seasonings, and cook on the low setting for six to eight hours or on the high setting for four to five hours. The slow cooker allows for hands-off cooking, making it convenient for those who prefer a “set it and forget it” approach.

Regardless of the method chosen, the slow-cooking process ensures that the flavors meld together harmoniously, resulting in a delicious and soul-warming gumbo that is perfect for sharing with family and friends.

What Are Some Soul Food Recipes That Are Popular For Sunday Dinners?

Sweet Potato Pie

Preparing the filling

Sweet potato pie is a beloved Southern dessert that is often enjoyed during Sunday dinners. It is a delightful and comforting treat that showcases the natural sweetness and creamy texture of sweet potatoes. Here’s how to prepare the filling for a delicious sweet potato pie:

Start by roasting or boiling sweet potatoes until they are tender. Once cooked, remove the skin and mash the sweet potatoes until they are smooth and free of lumps. This can be done with a fork or a potato masher.

In a separate mixing bowl, combine the mashed sweet potatoes with eggs, sugar, melted butter, milk or cream, and a blend of warm spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Add a pinch of salt to enhance the flavors.

Whisk all the ingredients together until they form a smooth and creamy mixture. The filling should be thick but pourable. Adjust the sweetness and spices to your taste preferences.

Crust options

The crust of a sweet potato pie is an important component, providing a solid base for the luscious filling. Here are two popular crust options for sweet potato pie:

Traditional pie crust: A traditional pie crust made with flour, butter, and a touch of salt is a classic choice for sweet potato pie. The flaky and buttery crust complements the smooth and creamy filling. Roll out the pie dough and gently press it into a pie dish, trimming any excess. Pre-bake the crust for a few minutes before adding the filling for added crispness.

Graham cracker crust: A graham cracker crust is an alternative option for sweet potato pie and adds a slightly sweeter and slightly crunchier element to the dessert. To prepare a graham cracker crust, crush graham crackers and combine them with melted butter and sugar. Press the mixture into a pie dish to form the crust. Unlike a traditional pie crust, a graham cracker crust does not require pre-baking.

Consider your flavor preferences and the overall balance of sweetness when choosing a crust for your sweet potato pie. Whichever option you choose, the crust will provide a delectable contrast to the silky smooth filling.

Serving suggestions

Sweet potato pie is delicious on its own, but it can be enhanced with various accompaniments to take it to the next level. Here are some serving suggestions that pair well with sweet potato pie:

  • Whipped cream: A dollop of freshly whipped cream adds a creamy and indulgent touch to sweet potato pie. The lightness of the whipped cream balances out the richness of the pie, creating a delightful contrast of textures.

  • Caramel sauce: Drizzling warm caramel sauce over a slice of sweet potato pie adds a luxurious and decadent element. The sweet and buttery caramel complements the natural sweetness of the pie, creating a heavenly combination.

  • Toasted pecans: Sprinkle some toasted pecans on top of the pie before serving for added crunch and nuttiness. The toasted pecans provide a delightful contrast of textures and enhance the overall flavor profile of the dessert.

  • ** Vanilla ice cream**: Serving a scoop of vanilla ice cream alongside a slice of sweet potato pie creates a comforting and indulgent dessert. The creamy, cold ice cream complements the warm, spiced flavors of the pie, resulting in a truly satisfying experience.

Experiment with different toppings and accompaniments to tailor the sweet potato pie to your personal taste. The options are endless, allowing you to create a unique and memorable dessert for your Sunday dinner guests.


Origin and history

Hushpuppies are a beloved Southern side dish and a staple of Southern cuisine. With their crisp exterior and soft, flavorful center, hushpuppies add a delightful touch to any Sunday dinner. The origin of hushpuppies is thought to date back to the early Native American tribes and African slaves in the Southern United States.

The story goes that Native Americans would mix cornmeal with water to create a simple batter and drop it into hot oil to fry. This method allowed them to make use of the resources available at the time, as corn was a staple crop in the region. When African slaves were introduced to the dish, they added their own flavors and techniques, resulting in the hushpuppies we know today.

The name “hushpuppies” is said to have originated from their function as food for dogs. The settlers would toss scraps of deep-fried cornmeal batter to their dogs to keep them quiet or “hush” them. Over time, this practice evolved into hushpuppies being served as a side dish with meals.

Batter preparation

Preparing the batter for hushpuppies is simple yet requires attention to achieve the perfect texture and flavor. Here’s a basic recipe for hushpuppies:

In a mixing bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Whisk the dry ingredients together to ensure they are evenly distributed.

In a separate bowl, beat eggs lightly and add buttermilk to the eggs. Whisk the mixture until smooth and well combined.

Next, gradually add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients, stirring until the batter is moistened and the ingredients are well incorporated. The batter should be thick, similar to pancake batter. If the batter seems too dry, add a little more buttermilk. If it’s too runny, add a little more cornmeal.

Once the batter comes together, let it rest for approximately 10-15 minutes. This allows the dry ingredients to fully hydrate, resulting in a lighter and fluffier hushpuppy.

Sauces and dips

Hushpuppies are often enjoyed on their own, but they pair exceptionally well with various sauces and dips. These accompaniments enhance the flavors and add extra moisture and depth to the hushpuppies. Here are a few popular sauces and dips to serve alongside hushpuppies:

  • Remoulade sauce: Remoulade sauce is a classic choice for hushpuppies. This tangy, mayo-based sauce is typically flavored with ingredients such as mustard, horseradish, hot sauce, and pickles. The bold flavors of the remoulade perfectly complement the savory hushpuppies.

  • Sriracha aioli: For those who enjoy a spicy kick, a sriracha aioli is an ideal pairing. Simply mix mayonnaise, sriracha sauce, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice together for a spicy, tangy dip. The creamy texture of the aioli balances out the crispy hushpuppies.

  • Honey butter: The combination of sweet honey and creamy butter creates a delightful contrast to the savory hushpuppies. Serve the hushpuppies with a side of softened butter drizzled with honey for a touch of sweetness.

Feel free to get creative and experiment with different sauces and dips to find your personal favorite. Whether you enjoy them on their own or with a flavorful accompaniment, hushpuppies are sure to be a hit at any Sunday dinner.

BBQ Ribs

Choosing meat cuts

No Sunday dinner is complete without a succulent and flavorful plate of BBQ ribs. When it comes to choosing the meat cuts for your BBQ ribs, there are a few options to consider. The most popular cuts for BBQ ribs include baby back ribs and spare ribs.

Baby back ribs: Baby back ribs, also known as loin back ribs or back ribs, are taken from the top of the rib cage, close to the backbone. They are smaller and more tender compared to spare ribs. Baby back ribs have a higher meat-to-bone ratio and are known for their lean and tender meat. They are a great choice for those who prefer a meatier rib with less fat.

Spare ribs: Spare ribs are taken from the lower portion of the rib cage, closer to the belly. They are larger and contain more fat than baby back ribs. Spare ribs have a fattier and more flavorful meat, with more marbling running through the meat. This marbling adds richness and juiciness to the ribs when cooked properly.

Consider your personal preferences when choosing between baby back ribs and spare ribs. If you prefer leaner, tender meat, baby back ribs may be the way to go. If you enjoy a richer, more flavorful rib with a good amount of fat, spare ribs are the perfect choice.

Preparing BBQ sauce

The key to delicious BBQ ribs lies in the sauce. Preparing a homemade BBQ sauce allows you to tailor the flavors to your liking and create a distinctive taste. Here’s a basic recipe for a classic BBQ sauce:

In a saucepan, combine ketchup, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, and a variety of spices such as paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne pepper. Feel free to adjust the amount of each ingredient based on your personal taste preferences. Whisk the sauce together until the sugar is dissolved.

Bring the sauce to a simmer over low heat and let it cook for about 15-20 minutes. This allows the flavors to meld together and intensify. Stir occasionally to prevent the sauce from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

If you prefer a smoother sauce, pass it through a fine mesh strainer to remove any lumps or spice residues. Let the sauce cool before brushing it onto the ribs during the grilling process.

For a finishing touch, reserve some of the sauce for dipping or brushing onto the ribs during the final minutes of grilling. This adds a flavorful glaze and caramelization to the ribs, resulting in a mouthwatering BBQ experience.

Grilling techniques

Grilling is a popular method for cooking BBQ ribs, as it imparts a smoky flavor and creates a charred, caramelized crust. Here are a few grilling techniques to ensure that your BBQ ribs turn out tender, juicy, and bursting with flavor:

Indirect grilling: Indirect grilling is the preferred method for cooking ribs on a grill. This involves setting up the grill with two heat zones: a direct heat zone and an indirect heat zone. This allows the ribs to cook slowly and evenly without becoming dry or burnt.

Start by preheating the grill to medium-high heat. Place the ribs on the indirect heat zone, away from the direct flames or burners. Close the lid and let the ribs cook for approximately 2-3 hours, depending on the size and thickness of the ribs. This low and slow cooking method ensures tender meat that falls off the bone.

Basting and flipping: Throughout the cooking process, baste the ribs with the prepared BBQ sauce every 20-30 minutes. This adds moisture, flavor, and a beautiful glaze to the ribs. When basting, be sure to brush the sauce evenly on both sides of the ribs.

Flip the ribs occasionally to ensure even cooking and to prevent one side from becoming overly charred. Use tongs or a spatula to gently turn the ribs, being careful not to tear the meat or disturb the bone.

Finishing with direct heat: After the ribs have cooked slowly on the indirect heat zone, it’s time to finish them off with a touch of direct heat. Move the ribs to the direct heat zone and grill them for a few minutes on each side. This helps to caramelize the BBQ sauce, creating a smoky and slightly charred crust.

Once the ribs are done, remove them from the grill and let them rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the juices to redistribute within the meat, resulting in a more flavorful and tender rib.

By following these grilling techniques, you can achieve perfectly cooked BBQ ribs that are tender, juicy, and bursting with smoky flavor. Pair them with your favorite sides and enjoy a delicious and satisfying Sunday dinner.


Frying vs grilling

Catfish is a popular choice for Sunday dinners, and when it comes to cooking catfish, two common methods are frying and grilling. Both methods yield delicious results, but they offer different flavors and textures.

Frying: Frying catfish results in a crispy, golden-brown crust that gives way to tender and flaky meat. To fry catfish, start by coating the fillets in a seasoned cornmeal or flour mixture. Heat vegetable oil or peanut oil in a deep skillet or deep fryer until it reaches a temperature of around 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Carefully place the coated catfish fillets into the hot oil and fry them for approximately 3-5 minutes per side, or until the coating is crispy and the fish is cooked through. Remove the catfish from the oil and let it drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Serve it hot and crispy, alongside your favorite sides.

Grilling: Grilling catfish imparts a smoky flavor and allows the natural flavors of the fish to shine through. To grill catfish, start by marinating the fillets in your choice of marinade or seasoning. This could be a simple mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper, or you can get creative with herbs and spices. Preheat the grill to medium heat and lightly oil the grates to prevent sticking. Place the catfish fillets directly on the grill and cook them for approximately 4-5 minutes per side, or until they are opaque and flake easily with a fork. Remove the catfish from the grill and let it rest for a few minutes before serving to allow the juices to redistribute.

Both frying and grilling methods have their merits, and the choice ultimately depends on your personal preference and desired flavor profile. If you enjoy the crispy texture of a well-fried catfish or prefer a smoky and charred taste, either method will result in a delicious catfish dish.

Proper cleaning tips

Properly cleaning catfish is an essential step to ensure that your Sunday dinner is both safe and enjoyable. Here are a few tips on how to clean catfish:

  1. Remove the scales: Use the backside of a knife or a clean fish scaler to remove the scales from the catfish. Start from the tail and work your way toward the head, moving the knife against the grain of the scales. Rinse the catfish under cold water to remove any loose scales. This step is important, as scales can be tough and unpleasant when consumed.

  2. Trim the fins and tail: Use kitchen shears or a sharp knife to carefully trim the fins and tail of the catfish. The fins can be sharp and can cause injury if not properly removed. Take care to remove only the fins, while leaving as much meat on the fish as possible.

  3. Remove the skin (optional): If you prefer skinless catfish fillets, you can remove the skin by using a fillet knife. Start by making a shallow cut just below the head, and then slide the knife along the length of the fish to separate the skin from the fillet. Use a gentle sawing motion to ensure that you remove only the skin, leaving the flesh intact.

  4. Gut the fish: Cut a shallow incision along the belly of the catfish, starting below the head and ending near the tail. Use your fingers or a spoon to remove the internal organs, being careful not to puncture the intestines. Rinse the catfish thoroughly under cold water to remove any remaining blood or debris.

Properly cleaned catfish ensures a clean and enjoyable dining experience. Take your time and exercise caution when handling knives and removing the internal organs. If you’re unsure about the cleaning process, you can always ask your local fishmonger for assistance.

Sauce pairings

Catfish can be elevated with the addition of complementary sauces and dips. These sauces add extra moisture and flavor to the catfish, enhancing the overall dining experience. Here are a few sauce pairings that complement catfish:

  • Tartar sauce: Tartar sauce is a classic choice for fried catfish. It combines mayonnaise, chopped pickles, capers, lemon juice, and various seasonings. The tangy and creamy flavors of tartar sauce perfectly complement the crispy and flavorful catfish.

  • Remoulade sauce: Remoulade sauce is a zesty and flavorful companion to grilled catfish. It is typically made with mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, hot sauce, capers, and other seasonings. The bold and tangy flavors of remoulade sauce enhance the smoky and delicate taste of the grilled catfish.

  • Sriracha mayo: For those who enjoy a spicy kick, sriracha mayo is an excellent choice. Simply mix mayonnaise with sriracha sauce to create a creamy and spicy dip. The creamy texture of the mayo balances out the heat from the sriracha, creating a harmonious and delicious pairing.

Feel free to experiment with different sauces and dips to find your personal favorite. Whether you prefer something tangy, spicy, or creamy, there’s a sauce out there to take your catfish to the next level.

By following these tips and paying attention to the details, you can create a delicious and memorable catfish dish that is sure to impress your family and friends during your Sunday dinner.