Redneck Cooking - Beyond Deep Frying

by Fred Morris - Date: 2008-09-03 - Word Count: 552 Share This!

If you grew up redneck, you know the deliciousness of Southern and country cooking. Breaded deep-fried chicken, fried potatoes, fried green tomatoes, pan-fried pork chops, bacon, gravy, biscuits, and fried catfish.

You've noticed a theme by now: most redneck cooking is all about the hot oil treatment. Deep fat frying. And whether you use sissy canola oil or the real Southern treasure, lard, it's not a healthy way to eat. Fortunately, there are lots of traditional redneck foods you can put together that don't involve bubbling fats.

Start with southern salads. Summer salad, which is primarily lightly-pickled cucumbers and onions, involves peeling and slicing up cukes and onions and immersing them for an hour in a 1:1 blend of white vinegar and water, with a half-cup of sugar and about a tablespoon of salt added. You can put other sliced watery veggies in as well if you like: peppers, small squash, and carrots are pretty good.

One specific region of the South has plenty of redneck pleasing dishes that do not involve deep frying: Louisiana. Cajun cooking, which involves primarily blending strong seasonings French style, is completely unique. Instead of deep-frying your chicken, get good cuts, dip them in egg and then bread crumbs with a generous amount of cajun seasoning. Add a little extra cayenne pepper if you like it hot, and then bake your chicken until it's not pink on the inside. This goes great with your summer salad and some rice. And you can use the same breading technique for fish and pork chops.

Barbecue is a critical ingredient of redneck culture, but it's usually greasy. You can't do anything to de-grease ribs, unfortunately; the fat's part of their deliciousness. You can, however, make pulled pork and beef much less fatty by slow-cooking it on low in a crock pot with a cup of water. Season with salt and pepper, and cook until you can pull strips of meat off easily with a fork. Drain, cut off any obvious fat, then shred with a fork and remove bones and any other fat you see. Put this back in the crock pot with enough water to cover it, and cook for about twenty minutes. Skim off the fat, drain, and add your barbecue sauce for a surprisingly low-fat barbecue treat. You can do the same with chicken, but look for boneless, skinless breasts and thighs so you start with the least fat to begin with.

You can't do without bread for your barbecue, but don't use buns or white bread. Instead, go for toasted or untoasted sourdough. It adds a nice zing to your sandwich, and it's one of the breads recommended for the South Beach Diet because its acid content forces your body to digest it better.

Get all your vegetables from the fresh produce section, or even better from your own garden. Tomatoes, green beans, okra, turnip greens, all make for a great redneck meal. Frozen and canned versions are seasoned and heavily salted, though you may not taste it, and are not only less tasty but significantly less healthy.

Don't let anyone tell you that being a redneck means you can't eat healthy foods. There are always healthy alternatives to those lovely deep-fried Southern dishes, and we owe it to our culture to live longer and healthier. Eat smart, and outlast the granola crowd!

Related Tags: country, cooking, cajun, southern, biscuits, fried, redneck, rednecks

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