Butchertown Hall Biscuits and Brisket Gravy

Are you in Nashville for the weekend, or the week, or the foreseeable future?  Are you looking for brunch, preferably one that involves biscuits and a little creativity? Well, I have a suggestion for you. 

  
Butchertown Hall is a relatively new place in the constantly evolving area just north of downtown called Germantown. As you might gather from its name, it is rather meat-focused. They offer a wide variety of roasted and smoked meats, and house-made sausage, all of which is delicious – everything I’ve tried so far anyway. They are in a gorgeously designed space – open and light, modern and historic and industrial all wrapped up together. 

Today I’m here to talk about one thing in particular. Biscuits and gravy. Brisket gravy. Whoever heard of such a thing? I like to think I’ve become fairly knowledgeable about biscuits and gravy in recent years, but they have always been of the sausage variety. This was different. 

  
First, let’s talk about the biscuits. This dish is served with three medium-sized, flaky, buttermilk biscuits. They have a nice, slightly salty, top crust to them. They are split and covered with gravy, then topped again, making for a very nice presentation and excellent gravy-to-biscuit ratio. 

  
And then there is the gravy. Creamy, smoky, not too salty, with brisket mixed in. The whole thing is topped with even more brisket. The brisket was tender and flavorful and the entire dish worked together perfectly. 

  
One of these days I will have to devote a post to all the things I’ve learned about biscuits and gravy in recent years. Meanwhile, I advise you to head over to Butchertown Hall, grab a seat at the bar, and order you some. You won’t regret it. 

Josephine’s – Biscuits on my Mind

It has been a while since I posted, but that does not mean I am not testing out biscuits. Check this one out. I met a gaggle of girlfriends for brunch at Josephine’s a couple of weeks ago. I did not choose the location and had no expectations that I would find biscuits. But I did!

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Josephine’s is a relatively new restaurant, nestled in the middle of the 12 South neighborhood. This was my first time there. The interior was warm and elegant, and even bright for a rainy Sunday morning in February. The company was, of course, excellent. It has been a busy winter and I had not seen many of the attendees for weeks, if not months. I missed my friends!

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This was listed as a starter on their menu – one biscuit with gravy. Isn’t the presentation wonderful? I decided that would be plenty for my meal and it was. I realized recently that I am becoming a connoisseur of sausage gravy, so my expectations were high. This version did not disappoint. The sausage was clearly homemade and liberally distributed throughout the gravy. It was smoky and spicy – right up there with the best of the best. The biscuit itself was perfect – big, fluffy, and buttery. It was also sturdy enough to carry the gravy, a little-known requirement. Every bite was the perfect proportion of gravy to biscuit. I nearly licked the plate, truth be told.

So, if you are in Nashville and looking for biscuits and gravy, Josephine’s is well worth the stop. Even if you are not looking for biscuits, it is still worth the stop. Everything that our table ordered was admired, savored, discussed, and eventually devoured.

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No Fail Buttermilk Biscuits

No Fail Biscuits | Persnickety Biscuit

Are you looking for the most light, melt-in-your-mouth, savory, buttery biscuits for your holiday table? Or just for breakfast. Or for no reason at all. Look no further. These biscuits are made using a unique process that transforms the lowly biscuit into a new category of fluffy goodness. They are so easy that I decided to call them “no fail” biscuits. There is no guesswork, no kneading, and simple clean-up.

I stumbled on this recipe when looking for something to make for a friend’s pot luck “Biscuit Brunch.” Blogging about biscuits is fun, but it puts the pressure on when I’m asked to take biscuits somewhere. They can’t just be biscuits. They can’t just be good. They have to elevate the whole idea of a biscuit. So I pulled out the biscuit bible, aka Southern Biscuits by Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart. This cookbook is a treasure trove of recipes, history, folklore, and a variety of biscuit techniques.

Southern Biscuits

Why did you choose this biscuit recipe?

The recipe I chose to make is Shirley Corriher’s Country Buttermilk Biscuits, aka “Touch of Grace Biscuits” (link to great video of Shirley). What attracted me to it was the unique “wet dough” method. I had read about shaping the dough while wet, and this seemed like a great time to try it out. I added black pepper and chives to enhance the flavor.

What is persnickety about this recipe?

This recipe is all about technique. You mix up a super wet dough, like this:

No Fail Biscuits | Persnickety Biscuit

Then you scoop it out and put it into a pile of flour – having an actual scoop really does make a difference here. One of the bonuses of this recipe is the easy cleanup. Instead of getting flour all over your counters, it is contained in the pan you choose. You gently roll the dough in the flour, shape it into a ball in your hands, and put it into your pan, snuggling them all together. You’ll notice that the balls of dough actually feel light and rather delicate. This is a good thing.

No Fail Biscuits | Persnickety Biscuit

After baking, you brush them with plenty of butter, which makes them look lovely and taste even better.

No Fail Biscuits | Persnickety Biscuit

So how were the biscuits?

They were fabulous – the texture was light and delicate and the chives gave a burst of flavor. By themselves, they were amazing.  They also turned out to be the perfect vehicle for the sausage gravy that I made. I think I’ll have to do a whole post on gravy some time. Meanwhile, just know that these biscuits and gravy go together like, well, biscuits and gravy.

No Fail Biscuits with Gravy | Persnickety Biscuit
>>> Click here to download printable recipe.

No Fail Buttermilk Biscuits with Chives and Pepper

Adapted from Shirley Corriher, via Southern Biscuits

Makes 12 large or 20 small biscuits

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups self-rising flour (White Lily is my favorite for biscuits)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste (optional)
  • 1/4 cup shortening, frozen, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1/8 cup chopped fresh chives (optional)
  • 2/3 cup whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup good buttermilk (I used Cruze Dairy farms)
  • 1 cup all purpose flour, for shaping
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line either 9-inch round or 8 X 10 inch rectangular pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and pepper. Using fingertips, work in the cold shortening until crumbly. It is ok if there are different size lumps, but none should be larger than a pea. Add chives and mix. Then stir in the buttermilk and cream until just incorporated. The dough will be very sticky.
  3. Spread the all-purpose flour onto a cookie sheet. Use a scoop to take about 1/4-1/2 cup of dough and put it onto the flour. An ice cream scoop is great for this. Using your hands, toss the pieces of dough with the flour, coating all sides. Shape into a ball. Place in pan on parchment. The biscuits can be placed close together. Continue until all dough is formed and pan is full.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Biscuits are done when light brown and have a slight “give” when pressed. Brush with melted butter.
  5. Share with someone you love!

Husk Biscuits and Gravy

Biscuits and Gravy

“Have you been to Husk yet?”
“We just went to Husk.”
“We just made reservations for Husk.”
“You just have to go to Husk.”

This is what They said. But did we listen to Them? No. The demands of engagement, moving, and wedding plans sadly derailed much of our adventurous eating out. Months passed.

Then my hip Atlanta cousins came through town for a family wedding. “Have you been to Husk?” They asked. Chastened, we answered that we had not but that we must go for brunch that very weekend.

Hip cousins wisely made reservations. We did not and did not stand much chance of getting a table. So we followed our old dating routine and went straight to the bar, which, although tucked away in a corner of the lower level, was bright and cheerful and, for the moment empty.

Hip cousins hung with us for a Bloody Mary and a fun visit until their table was ready. Then we had to focus on the menu.

It did not take long to decide, once we caved and agreed to order all of the things we really wanted. To start, we went with the biscuits and gravy.

Biscuits and Gravy

I don’t know what I expected, but I can tell you that my expectations were far surpassed. Photos will never do this dish justice. Words cannot adequately describe. This was the most basic of comfort foods accompanied by sophistication and complexity of flavor and texture.

The biscuits were perfect. Fist sized with a slightly salty crust on the outside. Moist and somewhat peppery on the inside. Melt in your mouth. Glorious. Still, it was the gravy that took this dish over the top. I don’t know what kind of sausage they use, but it has an incredibly rich and deep flavor that infused all of the gravy.

The rest of the meal was wonderful, too. M got the Benedict and I had the french toast that seemed to contain everything except the kitchen sink: maple syrup, peaches, blueberries, and whipped cream; bread filled with peanut butter. Somehow, all of these ingredients were balanced so well that they worked together perfectly. Best french toast ever.

French Toast

Now when someone asks, “Have you been to Husk?” We can enthusiastically respond, “Yes! And it was fabulous!”

Chattanooga’s Milk and Honey

Milk and Honey | Chattanooga | Persnickety Biscuit

I’ve spent all of about five days in Chattanooga in the last five years, but you don’t have to spend a lot of time here to get a feel for the place. It is one of those towns that just expresses itself well. It has developed a reputation as a hub for outdoor activity, with an arts district, a renowned aquarium and nicely developing riverfront.

But we are not here to discuss the minutiae of Tennessee cities, are we? We are here to discuss biscuits, which I found at a little place called Milk & Honey just across the river on the north side of town, within walking distance of the aquarium as long as the weather is cooperating. Which, I have to say, it only barely was. When we planned this trip, July seemed a safe bet for a rafting trip down the Ocoee and a weekend in Chattanooga. Sigh. We ended up with cold and rain in some weird summer weather anomaly. No matter. We were on vacation!

Milk and Honey | Chattanooga | Persnickety Biscuit

 

Anyway, Milk & Honey is a totally charming little place. Chalkboard-style menu on the wall, black and white tile, a few tables inside, several outdoor tables, and this great indoor/outdoor bar. The bar stretches along one side of the storefront and is divided in the middle by a garage door. I want one at home. We snagged the last three barstools outside. On this relatively cool day, the door was open allowing for easy and entertaining eavesdropping on our fellow diners. Religion, music, and theater were all discussed and gave us fodder for our own conversation for the rest of the day.

Milk and Honey | Chattanooga | Persnickety Biscuit

One thing I loved is that they actually have a BYOB option. That is, “Build Your Own Breakfast.” See this great assortment of options? They keep a stack of these on clipboards. I kept a blank one for ideas.

Milk and Honey BYOB Menu| Chattanooga | Persnickety Biscuit

M decided on the pre-defined Farmhouse Biscuit with M&H breakfast sausage, Benton’s bacon, tomato jam, egg, arugula, white cheddar, caramelized onions and shallots. I built my own with house-made sausage, egg, white cheddar, sliced apples, and seasonal house-made jam.

So how were the biscuits?
Fabulous! Big, flaky, fluffy, warm and fresh, with a light crust on top that was perfectly lightly salty. They had enough density to be able to hold the supporting cast of ingredients, which were considerable, without being heavy.

Milk and Honey Farmhouse Biscuit| Chattanooga | Persnickety Biscuit

What was persnickety about these biscuits?
The tricky part was trying to fit the whole thing in your mouth. These things were huge! I think I could have left off the egg and it would have been more manageable and not suffered from lack of flavor. The sausage provided perfect spice to counter the sweetness of the jam. And I was really pleased with the apple slices that I decided to add. They provided a wonderful crunchiness.

Build Your Own Biscuit - Milk and Honey | Chattanooga | Persnickety Biscuit

While I loved my biscuit concoction, I have to admit M’s was mighty tasty as well. It was spicier than mine, perhaps because of the tomato jam. It was just more savory overall, which suited M perfectly. In the end, I think we both were very happy with our choices.

Milk and Honey Farmhouse Biscuit| Chattanooga | Persnickety Biscuit

Would you come back here?
Absolutely!

 

Milk and Honey | Chattanooga | Persnickety Biscuit

Biscuits on The Row

Biscuits at The Row | Persnickety Biscuit

The name of the place kept popping up. “Happy Hour at The Row this week.” Special deep fried pimento cheese bacon balls from The Row at the Bourbon and Bacon festival. Facebook postings from friends celebrating at The Row. So when I had the opportunity to join a group of friends for “girls’ night out” at The Row, I gave an unqualified “YES!” Little did I know at the time that they also have biscuits. Bonus.

Biscuits at The Row | Persnickety Biscuit

I have not yet tried every permutation of biscuit offered by The Row, but I did try two different items. The first was simply their appetizer portion. I loved the way it was presented. All in a row. Pun intended, perhaps? Hot biscuits wrapped in a flour sack towel, on a cutting board, with all the fixin’s. Not only was there butter, and strawberry jam, and blackberry jam, but there was also tomato jam which turned out to be this sweet savory topping that was unique and delicious. The biscuit was warm and fluffy and satisfying.

Biscuits at The Row | Persnickety Biscuit

I passed the rest down the table, but there was still one left at the end of the night. The waitress asked if I wanted any of it wrapped up to take home and I said, with a bright, hopeful smile, “I’d like all of it!” She willingly took the board away and returned with a huge bag – all for one lone biscuit.

The Row Nashville

At the end of the evening, the manager came around and handed out cards with a free item printed on the back. Mine just happened to be for a free order of Biscuit Beignets. That was all it took. On Saturday, I informed M and the monkey (soon to be stepson) that I had a great place for us to go for brunch. Off to The Row we went!

The Row Nashville

The Biscuit Beignets were lovely. Hot, fried crescents of biscuit dough, rolled in sugar and cinnamon, and served with a ramekin of rich, sweet creme anglaise. What is creme anglaise, you ask? Well, I looked it up for you. It is a custard sauce and it was fabulous.

Biscuit Beignets at The Row | Persnickety Biscuit

A Biscuit with a View at Copper Kettle – Nashville

Copper Kettle

I have to admit, I don’t usually choose buffet meals. Too much food. Too much temptation. Too high a likelihood that I’ll need a nap afterwards. But the Copper Kettle in downtown Nashville has this wonderful casual vibe, and great food, so it is worth indulging myself every once in a while.

When we arrived for the famed Sunday brunch, there appeared to be a huge crowd waiting to be seated. Thankfully, at least for us, they were leaving instead of waiting, which meant we were seated immediately.copper kettle view

We got a lovely table by the window with a fabulous view of downtown Nashville and the Titans Stadium. It was a gorgeous day, but starting to get hot, so I was glad to be seated indoors. The best of both worlds.

I had been to Copper Kettle for brunch a few times, but M. had not, so I proceeded to show him the ropes. I usually try to scope out a buffet before beginning to fill my plate, but I knew mostly what I was going to get and am not shy about starting with small amounts then returning later if something is particularly tasty. Of course I had to get the biscuits and gravy or there would be no blog post! I did manage to fit some fruit on my plate, and potatoes, and a donut and…. you get the idea.

Copper Kettle brunch plate

Despite the fact that this was a buffet, all of the food tasted very fresh. I don’t know how they do that. Perhaps the quantity of brunch-goers allows them to replenish frequently? Even the biscuits had more of a fresh-baked taste than a warmed-over one, which was a pleasant surprise. The gravy was plain, with no sausage, so I got myself a sausage patty for a little DIY. I was really pleased, though, at how savory and flavorful the gravy was even without sausage and ate half the biscuit with just the gravy, then half with the sausage crumbled over the biscuit and topped with gravy.

Sausage Gravy Biscuit

One of the other things I really like about the Copper Kettle brunch is that you can order an omelette or waffle (or both) and they will be made to order, but still included in the price of the buffet. The omelette of the day had brisket and caramelized onions and sun dried tomatoes and was truly a highlight. M. said he thought it was one of the best omelettes he has ever had.

We lingered at the table over another cup of coffee and then were ready to start the day. Full, but not quite in a nap-required way. Now I call that success.

Copper Kettle Nashville