Quick. Picture the perfect Southern brunch menu. It contains biscuits and gravy, right? Grits, too. But are those grits topped with sautéed shrimp or beef grillades? Perhaps you prefer to take your morning protein in the form of chicken-fried steak or smoked trout. Potatoes are a must, of course, ideally in the form of crispy home fries.
Our round-up covers all of those traditional bases, before venturing into less expected territory. Ever heard of Eggs Hussarde? This divine dish, from New Orleans’ legendary Brennan’s restuarant, tastes like Eggs Benedict…if Eggs Benedict got Bourbon-Street drunk on red wine. Anyone can serve country ham and red-eye gravy, but country-ham-and-red-eye-gravy danishes—now, that’s another thing entirely. How about tacos in the A.M.? These Tex-Mex breakfast-bar ideas will convince you that it’s a very good idea, indeed.
Southerners don’t think twice about drinking way before 5 o’clock, which is why we consider this Cajun bloody Mary merely medicinal. They also understand that dinner isn’t the only meal deserving of dessert. So our compendium of classic Southern breakfast recipes includes plenty of sweet offerings, from pecan sticky buns to sweet potato pancakes. After that? Put your hand to your forehead, find a fainting couch, and take a much-needed nap.
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Biscuits with Sawmill Gravy
Country Ham with Red-Eye Gravy and Grits
It takes longer to determine the origin of red-eye gravy’s name than it does to make it. Some Southerners believe that the gravy takes its name from a man’s red-rimmed eyes in the morning or from the reddish hue of certain country hams. Others swear that the name comes from the red-tinted layer of fat that forms on the surface of the gravy. Get the recipe for Country Ham with Red-Eye Gravy and Grits » Matt Taylor-Gross
Grillades and Grits
In New Orleans, there’s no need to drown buttered grits in cheese or cream. Instead, grits are paired with tender medallions of veal, pork, or beef simmered in a light tomato gravy, making a filling and wholesome breakfast meal. Get the recipe for Grillades and Grits » Penny De Los Santos
Enthusiasm for fried seasoned potatoes is almost universal, making home fries a natural choice for a breakfast shared with family or friends. Get the recipe for Home Fries » Penny De Los Santos
Smoked Trout Hash
A twist on a breakfast classic, this hash is buttery and luxurious with layers of flavor from caramelized onions, smoky fish, and bright fresh dill. Get the recipe for Smoked Trout Hash » Christopher Testani
Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls
Country Ham with Red-Eye Gravy and Grits
Brennan’s Eggs Hussarde
Country Ham and Red-Eye Gravy Danish
Pecan Sticky Buns
Chicken-Fried Steak with Sausage Gravy
Chef Justin Girouard of the French Press restaurant in Lafayette, Louisiana, replaces the Canadian bacon and hollandaise with boudin and gumbo in this bayou-based twist on the classic breakfast dish. Get the recipe for Cajun Benedict » Todd Coleman
In any other city but New Orleans you might order eggs Sardou and receive a dish of poached eggs served over artichoke hearts nestled in a bed of creamed spinach. But the original eggs Sardou has far more pizzazz, with anchovies tucked in between the egg and artichoke, and a thick hollandaise sauce blanketing the entire dish, scattered with handfuls of minced black truffle, parsley, and ham and served with elegant fried asparagus spears. It has been served in this manner at the French Quarter restaurant Antoine’s since 1908, when it was invented there to celebrate its namesake, the famed French dramatist Victorien Sardou, upon his visit to the Crescent City—a place where, thankfully, such classic extravagance still thrives. Get the recipe for Eggs Sardou » Charlie Varley/Sipa Press
Country Ham Biscuits
Corned Beef Hash
Red potatoes are mashed with corned beef and a multitude of flavorings then fried until crispy in this Southern favorite. Topped with poached eggs, Hollandaise sauce, and a sprinkling of chives, corned beef hash is an easy crowd pleaser. Get the recipe for Corned Beef Hash » Todd Coleman
Sweet Potato Pancakes
Shrimp and Grits
Super-Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits With Honey Butter
This honey butter-topped biscuit recipe, from Jean-Paul Bourgeois, executive chef at Blue Smoke in New York City, earned first prize in the 2017 Charleston Food & Wine Festival’s Battle of the Biscuits. High-quality dairy—and high-fat dairy—are two of chef Bourgeois’ tricks to making them extra-special. Look for either high-fat buttermilk or a higher fat, European-style butter, which make for a more delicate, flakier texture. Get the recipe for Super-Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits With Honey Butter » Matt Taylor-Gross
Rock ‘N’ Rye Peach Jam
Fully Loaded Breakfast Tacos
Green Chile Grits
For soft, creamy, and flavorful grits, chef Harold Marmulstein of Austin’s Salty Sow cooks his low and slow, then adds a rich, spicy, bright-green purée of chiles and cilantro. Get the recipe for Green Chile Grits » Matt Taylor-Gross
Cajun Bloody Mary