Iron Skillet Cornbread
The best cornbread is crusty on the outside and creamy inside. It’s all about the crust.
And to achieve this perfect cornbread, you need the right ingredients, like a seasoned cast-iron skillet, and some know-how. First up - make a creamy and pourable batter. It should be more like pancake batter than cake batter, able to slide out of the mixing bowl and into the hot skillet.
You also need the right cornmeal, which is preferably white and finely ground. The easiest route is to use self-rising cornmeal, which has the leavening in it. Add to that full-fat buttermilk and lots of it. You want the acidic twang of buttermilk and can even use full-fat plain yogurt stirred into whole milk in a pinch.
Whether to add eggs or skip the eggs is up to you. But I will add that purists down South prefer egg-less cornbread because it’s creamier in texture and not cakey.
Heat about 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet either on top of the stove or in the preheating oven. Always pour batter into a hot pan for the absolute crispiest crust. And once the cornbread is baked to golden brown perfection, turn it out onto a board or rack - don’t let it sit in the pan!
You want to slice that cornbread into crisp wedges and eat them hot with plenty of butter.
IRON SKILLET CORNBREAD RECIPE:
Makes: 8 to 10 servings | Prep: 10 minutes | Cook: 12 to 15 minutes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or bacon grease
1 3/4 cups self-rising white cornmeal
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups full-fat buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Butter and honey for serving
Place a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 450 degrees F. Place the oil or bacon grease in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet and place the skillet in the oven while it heats.
In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal and flour. Stir in the buttermilk and oil until smooth. The mixture should be creamy and pourable.
Once the skillet is quite hot, carefully remove it from the oven, and pour in the batter. It should sizzle. Place the skillet in the oven, and let the cornbread bake until deeply browned on top and around the edges. The center should spring back when touched lightly with your finger, from 12 to 15 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven, run a knife around the edges, and turn the cornbread out onto a board to slice and serve.