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Prep Time: 45 Minutes
Yields: 8 Servings

Southern corn bread is thin, crusty and decidedly savory. Though some styles of Southern corn bread are dry and crumbly, this is a dense, moist, tender version. The secret of this recipe is to mix the cornmeal mush to the right texture. Corn bread is best prepared in a preheated cast iron skillet. However, a 9-inch round or square pan will produce the same results. To cook in 9-inch pan, double recipe, grease pan lightly and bake 25 minutes.

4 tsps bacon drippings
OR 1 tbsp melted butter and 1 tsp vegetable oil
1 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal
1 cup flour
2 tbsps sugar
½ tsp salt
2 tbsps baking powder
1 tbsp baking soda
½ cup rapidly boiling water
1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg, beaten lightly

Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat to 450°F. Set an 8-inch cast iron skillet with bacon drippings in oven. In a mixing bowl, combine 2/3 cup cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside. In a separate bowl, place remaining ⅓ cup cornmeal and pour in boiling water. Stir to create a stiff mush. Gradually whisk in buttermilk, breaking up lumps until smooth. Whisk in egg. When oven is preheated and skillet very hot, stir dry cornmeal mixture into mush until just moistened. Carefully remove skillet from oven. Stir hot bacon drippings into batter. Quickly pour batter into heated skillet. Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and immediately turn corn bread onto wire rack. Cool 5 minutes then serve immediately.

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