There are a handful of items all Southern cooks should have in their kitchens. If it’s time to restock yours, support independent makers by loading up on Southern-made ingredients crafted by locals from around the region. Here are the Southern cooking essentials we recommend having on hand to help you fry, season, bake, mix, and stir up your favorite Southern meals.
A Southern cook’s kitchen isn’t complete without grits. Food for the Southern Soul’s stone-ground grits are milled on an authentic millstone in Charleston. They’ll cook up smooth and make a creamy base for Robert Stehling’s shrimp and grits.
Whether you’re frying it up for breakfast or balancing out a dinner dish with some salty flavor, bacon’s irresistible taste makes it a must-have for any Southern chef. Thick-sliced and applewood-smoked, Pine Street Market sources their bacon from pasture-raised hogs.
Don’t settle for standard salt: We recommend trying J.Q. Dickinson’s solar-evaporated salt, which is harvested from ancient trapped seawater beneath the Appalachian Mountains. With its coarse texture and a delicate crunch, this unique salt enhances any dish.
A collection of rubs in your arsenal ensures no dish is ever boring, be it chicken, pork, beef, or veggies. This set includes unexpected flavors like Raspberry Chipotle, Chile Margarita, and Korean BBQ.
Terra Dolce Farms makes their extra-virgin olive oil from hand-picked, locally pressed, Georgia-grown olives. The result is an oil with a delicate fruity flavor and a slightly peppery finish.
Referred to as the “caviar of the South,” pimento cheese adds a creamy, cheesy flavor to crackers, baguette slices, sandwiches, or anything else that needs an upgrade. Chef Suga offers a variety of pimento cheese flavors, including vegan options for dairy-free folks.
Written by Daniela Johnson