Blog - biscuits and such
southern food blog
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Brown Sugar Smoked Ham

I woke up yesterday morning and the first thing I thought was “CHRISTMAS STARTS TODAY!” We drove up yesterday to Morehead City to join my sister Genevieve and her boyfriend Naoise home from Ireland, my sister Lauren and her husband Bradley home from New Orleans, my brother Ryan, and my parents. That begun two weeks of seeing a ton of friends and family and all the puppies, and I am so excited. I love this time of year!

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Before we headed out I stocked the car fully with provisions- namely a case of wine and a smoked ham. I know how Christmas goes, y’all. We smoked an uncured “green” ham packed with brown sugar and cayenne, which gives an end product somewhere between a pork tenderloin and a pork shoulder.  Today it’s on the menu along with freshly grilled local salt water oysters, boudain from New Orleans, and a North Carolina clam chowder. It’s a feast, Eastern NC style.

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This is a time where I always find myself reflecting and looking inward and right now I’m basking in the incredibly love of my family and feeling overwhelmingly thankful for the communities that have been there for me this year, both online and in person. I’m grateful that I have the opportunity to spend the last few weeks of 2014 with people that I love eating delicious food and enjoying each other’s company. Salud!

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This post is in partnership with the North Carolina Pork Council.


Brown Sugar Smoked Ham


12-15lb ham shank, uncured

3 cups brown sugar

2 tbsp cayenne pepper

2 tbsp sea salt

Smoker with hickory wood chips

Optional: Bourbon brine


Heat your smoker to 200F. Coat each side of your ham with brown sugar, salt, and pepper. Place on a tray, fat side up. Smoke for 3 hours, keeping the temperature steady and adding wood chips to your smoker as needed. After 3 hours, turn the ham and smoke an additional 2 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 165F. Allow the ham to rest 1 hour before serving.

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Lovely Internet 12.19.14


1. Read this.

2. Sorry guys, Elf on the shelf IS creepy and I am worried about what it’s teaching the next generation of Americans.

3. I can’t imagine the pressure Sarah Koening has been feeling the past few weeks.

4. Art is a Business.

5. I love the Maccabeats. Forever.

6. A lifetime ago my sister-in-law Megan asked me to talk to her students about exhibition development. The exhibition I created to teach them the process was about narwhals.

7. #4 is directly applicable to 87% of dinner table conversations in our family.

8. Do you have a personal uniform? Mine is “I woke up 20 minutes before I need to be at work what can I easily put on so I still have time to make coffee?”

9. This is a good guide to dealing with my husband.

10. I’ll admit that Love Actually is a guilty pleasure of mine, but this article makes a fair point.

For more tidbits from Elena the person, follow me on twitter (@elenabrent or @biscuitsandsuch), instagrampinterest or facebook. Subscribe to my bloglovin’ feed to make sure you never miss a post. Follow along with MissElenaeous for thoughts on everything other than Southern food.

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Dumplings & Sauerkraut

A few months ago I spent the afternoon with my Great Uncle Ted and my Great Aunt Ann learning the secrets of Flossie’s pound cake. We talked about my great grandmother, my grandmother, and the whole Ballenger family, but mostly we talked about Ted’s favorite dish, sauerkraut & dumplins.

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I talked for a long time that day with Ted about his memories growing up, his mother’s family home in St Pauls, his Caudell uncles and the fast and furious lives they led. We talked about Flossie, her life, her roots. And we talked about food.

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Every conversation we had, no matter what it started with, circled back to sauerkraut and dumplings. Ted was incredibly focused. After I left I emailed his niece, my dad’s cousin Elizabeth. Elizabeth’s mother Nita was my grandmother’s older sister, and Bobbie and Nita were inseparable. Elizabeth said while she wasn’t totally sure of the origins of the recipe, she made it all the time for Nita. She worked out a recipe and sent it over to me and I tried it out on my captive Fauxgiving audience.

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I would like to state here that I am 100% team Ted. He is completely right, this was better than every other food I made that day and I want to eat it every day forever. It was delicious- the spicy and vinegary sauerkraut worked perfectly with the fluffy and salty dumplings. This is my new favorite food. Sorry, pie.

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Sauerkraut & Dumplings


1 head cabbage, shredded

2 cups apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp caraway seeds

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp ginger powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp cayenne pepper


1 cup buttermilk

1 egg, beaten

1 cup sifted flour

1/4 tsp baking soda

Combine half of your shredded cabbage and your vinegar in a large skillet. Simmer for 10 minutes, and stir in the remaining cabbage and the spices. Simmer over medium low, stirring frequently, for 30 minutes.

Mix your dumpling ingredients together. Spoon onto the hot sauerkraut and cover. Cook, leaving covered, for 30 minutes, long enough for the dumplings to set. Serve hot.


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