Mind Your Own Biscuits

At Cast Iron Kitchen, you’ll find the Holy Trinity of great biscuits and good sausage gravy

By Jason Frye

There are three little words every Southern man longs to hear: Biscuits and Gravy.

Of course, if time is short, you can cut it down to two: and Gravy.

Or, if you’re talking to me, you can keep it at one word: Biscuits.

I love biscuits, and that holy trinity — Biscuits and Gravy (“Trinity?” you ask. “But there are only two things there, biscuits and gravy.” You’re forgetting the sausage. It’s in the gravy) — is worth driving up Market Street for. But you can hide a bad biscuit under some good gravy. And you can hide some middling gravy under some good sausage, so to truly excel at Biscuits and Gravy you’ve got to bring it in all three phases of the game.

This is something I don’t think many Yankees get.

I don’t mean to be reductive, but it’s true. Biscuits, like grits, are lost on those unfortunate enough to have been raised in the North. (Likewise Southerners just can’t make a good bagel and know nothing when it comes to diners (parenthetical inside the parenthetical: Where’s Wilmington’s hopping diner scene? You know, the 24-hour joint that will satisfy your midnight craving for crispy hash browns or your pre-dawn hankering for pancakes?))

Take my father-in-law. He traded Connecticut for Southport and is a man who loves bread and pastry, but not the biscuit. He accuses biscuits of being too dry or too crumbly or too salty. But all of those elements converge for a good biscuit. Granted, a good biscuit can be ruined by being too dry, crumbly or salty, or not buttermilk-y enough or if the cook used warm butter instead of cold butter or if the dough was kneaded too thoroughly. In short, we are both tough customers.

That’s why I want to take him to Cast Iron Kitchen. They nail the biscuit like no other place around.

Properly done biscuits tend to come in two varieties: the tall, fluffy, flaky biscuit; and the short, wide, slightly more dense biscuit. Cast Iron Kitchen’s falls into the latter category, which means plenty of buttery, salty top (the second best part next to the flaky center, which is only slightly less good than the cast iron-crisp bottom) and, thanks to the size of their biscuit, plenty of surface area for gravy or other toppings.

You can get an order of biscuits and gravy — a pair of biscuits with a lovely, light (for gravy) gravy combining country sausage and chorizo — or you can get a breakfast sammich. For maximum biscuititude you have to go for the Dirty South Biscuit, a sloppy little gravy-soaked knife-and-fork biscuit sandwich that brings together a fried chicken tenderloin, bacon, melty Muenster and pepper Jack cheeses, and a runny egg. My fellow Southerners, it’s a beautiful thing.

Jason Frye is a regular Salt contributor and you can keep track of what and where he eats by following him on Instagram: @beardedwriter. He’s a self-proclaimed biscuit-head.

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