January 17, 2016 • RECIPE

Chef Sean Brock’s Cracklin’ Cornbread



Cracklin Cornbread by Chef Sean Brock. Excerpted from Heritage by Sean Brock (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2014. Photographs by Peter Frank Edwards.

Chef Sean Brock spearheads three highly acclaimed restaurants in Charleston—Husk, McCrady’s, and Minero—along with additional outposts of Husk in Nashville and Minero in Atlanta. Already the author of Heritage, a collection of many of his favorite recipes, Sean is currently at work on another cookbook featuring the dishes at Husk.

“The cornbread recipe in Heritage is my favorite recipe in the entire book,” Sean says. “I would suggest having it with every meal. The more you make it, the better you get at it and it eventually it becomes second nature. Just make sure you use the best quality ingredients that you can afford.”

See the recipe below and click here to read our Q&A with Sean.


makes one 9-inch round loaf

  • 4 ounces bacon, preferably Benton’s
  • 2 cups cornmeal, preferably Anson Mills Antebellum Coarse Yellow Cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1½ cups whole-milk buttermilk
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten


  • Preheat the oven to 450°F. Put a 9-inch cast-iron skillet in the oven to preheat for at least 10 minutes.
  • Run the bacon through a meat grinder or very finely mince it. Put the bacon in a skillet large enough to hold it in one layer and cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently so that it doesn’t burn, until the fat is rendered and the bits of bacon are crispy, 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Remove the bits of bacon to a paper towel to drain, reserving the fat. You need 5 tablespoons bacon fat for this recipe.
  • Combine the cornmeal, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and bits of bacon in a medium bowl. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat and combine the remaining 4 tablespoons fat, the buttermilk, and egg in a small bowl. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients just to combine; do not overmix.
  • Move the skillet from the oven to the stove, placing it over high heat. Add the reserved tablespoon of bacon fat and swirl to coat the skillet. Pour in the batter, distributing it evenly. It should sizzle.
  • Bake the cornbread for about 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm from the skillet.