Cuisine of Kentucky
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The cuisine of Kentucky mostly resembles that of traditional Southern cuisine. Some common dinner dishes are fried catfish and hushpuppies, fried chicken and country fried steak. These are usually served with vegetables such as green beans, greens, pinto beans (or "soup beans") slowed cooked with pork as seasoning and served with cornbread. Some other popular items would include fried green tomatoes, cheese grits, corn pudding, fried okra, and chicken and dumplin's, which can be found across the commonwealth. In addition to this, Kentucky is known for its own regional style of barbecue. This style of barbecue is unique in itself given that it uses mutton, and is a style of Southern barbecue unique to Kentucky. Although Kentucky's cuisine is generally very similar to that of traditional Southern cuisine, it does differ with some unique dishes, especially in Louisville where the Hot Brown and Derby pie originated, although Derby pie is somewhat similar to pecan pie which is standard among traditional Southern cuisine.
In northwestern parts of Kentucky burgoo is a favorite, while in southwestern parts of the state regular chili con carne is typical staple. In northern Kentucky plus a lesser amount in Louisville and Lexington Cincinnati chili is a popular fast food. That region and the Louisville area also are both home to a pronounced German-American population, translating into northern-like preferences for beer and European sausages. However, the remainder of the state's cuisine tends to be thoroughly Southern, preferring breakfast meats like country ham, ground pork sausage and as their beverage of choice, the state's renowned bourbon whiskey. Some common desserts would be chess pie, pecan pie, blackberry cobbler and bread pudding.
Notable dishes and recipes
- Ale-8-One, a ginger-flavored soft drink bottled in Winchester
- Mingua Beef Jerky, made and packaged in Bourbon County
- Burgoo, a thick stew made from vegetables and mutton, or lamb, or other game meats
- Mint julep, a potent potable that is made with bourbon and crushed mint and is the 'official' drink of the Kentucky Derby
- Goetta, a Northern Kentucky delicacy composed primarily of ground meat, steel-cut oats and seasoned with bay leaves, rosemary, salt, pepper and thyme.
- Henry Bain sauce, a potent sauce for serving with game
- Brains and eggs, known mostly as an English dish; this was served in Frankfort restaurants until BSE scares
- Mock turtle soup, Welsh and English settlers brought this recipe with them when they settled in Clay County
- Frog legs, often breaded and deep-fried
- Derby pie, a chocolate and pecan pie named for the Kentucky Derby
- Benedictine, a greenish cucumber and cream cheese spread made popular by Louisville's Benedict's restaurant
- Hot Brown, a layered dish of bread, bacon, and turkey, topped with a Mornay sauce
- Stack cake, an Appalachian layered cake with apple preserves spread between each layer
- Johnny cake, a flat corn bread cooked by direct heat
- Bourbon balls, crushed cookies mixed with chocolate and bourbon, then coated in powdered sugar, first produced in Frankfort during Prohibition
- Beer cheese, a cheese spread made with beer, Cheddar cheese, and spices
- Modjeska, a gooey caramel candy with a marshmallow center. Named for a 19th-century Polish actress that once visited Louisville. 
- Spoonbread is a sweet, moist cornmeal-based dish.
- Purnell's Old Folks Country Sausage made in Simpsonville, Kentucky.
- Louisville-Style Chili, a stew-like chili that varies greatly from family to family, but usually consists of meat (usually beef, sometimes pork, lamb, mutton, or venison), sauce, beans, garlic, onions, spaghetti and a wide variety of other vegetables and ingredients. The extra ingredients served as a way for families to stretch a little bit of meat throughout the week.
- Lamb fries, lamb testicles served breaded and fried, often with cream gravy. It is a traditional dish served in the Bluegrass region of Kentucky.
- Rolled oyster, a seafood dish served in and around Louisville.
Potatoes, corn, carrots, onions, turnips, parsnips, tomatoes, green beans, butter beans, peas, mustard greens, kale, scallions, sweet potatoes, yellow summer squash, zucchini, butternut squash, cauliflower, broccoli, mushrooms, cucumbers, asparagus, bell peppers (called mangoes by older rural Kentuckians), banana peppers, cabbage, beets, eggplant, garlic and avocados.
Peaches, apples, watermelon, cantaloupe, pears, plums, grapes, cherries, pawpaws and persimmons.
Walnuts, pecans, almonds, peanuts and cashews.
Oatmeal, corn and sorghum.
- Ham and pork such as barbecued pork shoulder
- Turtle (though this is more seldom than other meats)
The Ohio River region of western Kentucky, namely Daviess, Henderson and Union counties (the area centering on Owensboro and Henderson) has developed a unique style of pit barbecue, featuring a heavy dose of vinegar-based sauces, often served with pickles, onions, potato salad and coleslaw. The three main meats used are chicken, pork and mutton, but beef is not unheard of. Burgoo is a main specialty, with no two burgoo recipes being the same. Owensboro is home to the International Bar-B-Q Festival, which is a sanctioned barbecue competition.
Farther to the west, in the Purchase area, pit barbecue is primarily pork shoulder, with the unmodified word "barbecue" referring specifically to that meat. The other meats used in the Owensboro–Henderson area are generally available as well. Sauces are essentially identical in the two regions.
- "Hall's on the River". Hallsontheriver.com. Retrieved 2012-03-07.
- "Ramseys". Ramseysdiners.com. Retrieved 2012-03-07.
- [dead link]
- "Bluegrass, Blues and Barbecue Region of Western Kentucky: Home". Bbbregion.org. Retrieved 2012-03-07.
- "Ole Hickory Pit, old Western Kentucky tradition «". Louisvillehotbytes.com. 2009-08-20. Retrieved 2012-03-07.
- [dead link]
- "Kern's Kitchen | Derby-Pie®". Derbypie.com. Retrieved 2012-03-07.
- "The Mint Julep". KentuckyDerby.com. Retrieved 2006-12-03.
- "Hot Brown Recipe". The Brown Hotel. Archived from the original on 2006-08-28. Retrieved 2006-12-03.
- Alvey, R. Gerald. Kentucky Bluegrass Country. University Press of Mississippi, 1992.
- Domine, David. 111 Fabulous Food Finds: Best Bites in the Bluegrass. McClanahan Publishing House, 2011. ISBN 978-1-934898-12-3.
- Domine, David. Adventures in New Kentucky Cooking with the Bluegrass Peasant. McClanahan Publishing House, 2007. ISBN 0-913383-97-X.
- Domine, David. A Feast for the Eyes. McClanahan Publishing House, 2010. ISBN 978-1934898093.
- Domine, David. Insiders' Guide® to Louisville (Insiders' Guide Series). Globe Pequot, 2010. ISBN 978-0762756957.
- Domine, David. Splash of Bourbon, Kentucky's Spirit. McClanahan Publishing House, 2010. ISBN 978-1-934898-06-2.
- Kentucky Recipes for the Henry Bain Sauce Recipe