I first fell in love with hushpuppies when I was pretty young. It happened by default, actually. I vividly remember a day that my sister and I were out with my mom and grandma and it was decided that we needed to stop somewhere for lunch. Instead of the typical McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, Eat n’ Park or King’s (holla, Pittsburgh!), for some reason that day we ended up at Long John Silver’s. I was pretty young, maybe early elementary school age, and I was firmly planted in my I-hate-fish stance. I was not budging, either. I have no idea what my mom ordered for me to eat that day, but I remember not eating anything fish-related, rather I stuffed my face full of these fried cornbread things called “hushpuppies”. Cue the spaghetti scene from Lady and the Tramp… I was in love.
I was probably in high school before I went to a Long John Silver’s again, and in my little area of the world (teetering between the northeast and midwest), hushpuppies just isn’t really a thing like it is in other areas of the country. However, since then, anytime I have traveled even remotely south and have seen hushpuppies on a menu, I just have to order them. I love those little cornbread fritter bites; how can you not?!
Once I made them at home, I couldn’t believe how insanely simple they are to make. It takes literally less than 5 minutes to mix the batter together, and then you just drop them in some oil and fry away! You could use a large pot or Dutch oven; I made mine in my 12-inch cast iron skillet easily in two batches. While you can reheat them, they are definitely best eaten soon after they are made.
I’m thrilled that I can bring my oddly vivid memory of hushpuppies full circle and make them in my own kitchen. Now if only more restaurants in Pittsburgh would offer them on their menus!
Whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cayenne in a large bowl. Whisk in the buttermilk, eggs and onion until combined. Let the batter sit at room temperature for 10 minutes, or up to 1 hour.
Meanwhile, make the dipping sauce. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, mayonnaise and Sriracha. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or deep cast iron skillet over medium-high heat to 350 degrees. Drop half of batter into oil in heaping tablespoons (I used a small cookie scoop) and fry until deep golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes, turning hushpuppies halfway through cooking. Transfer to a wire rack set over a double layer of paper towels and repeat with the remaining batter. Serve immediately. The hushpuppies can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Reheat in a 450-degree oven for about 10 minutes.