Biscuits- A Southern Tradition

Nothing says breakfast in the south quite like biscuits, especially if you serve it with a little (a lot of) sausage gravy. We’d visit my grandparents farm often growing up and every single morning my grandma, affectionately known as KoKo, would make bacon, eggs, coffee, and biscuits. Every. Single. Morning. For decades. And it was as delicious as it was constant. There wasn’t much anything that was constant in my life that was good growing up, but her breakfasts was one of those things you could always count on.

She’d rise early in the morning, without an alarm clock, and start cooking. Eventually my grandpa would wander in and help her finish fixin’ the food. They’d set the table in what we called the ‘sunroom’ (on account of the large and numerous windows) complete with plates, forks, salt and pepper, coffee, Coffee Mate, sugar, butter/margarine, and golden eagle syrup- a syrup that contains honey and other syrup and is sweetly delicious. The fluffy scrambled eggs, bacon, and biscuits would soon join the table.

We’d all sit down together and focus on the food before we split off to do what we needed to do that day. I’d grab a biscuit, open it, load one half with butter and place the other half on the rim of my plate, and scarf it down like any decent human would- with no decorum. (I was a rebel in my own, quiet way.) On a smaller plate I’d mix part golden eagle syrup and part butter to run my remaining biscuit half and any additional biscuits through [including her scrap biscuits- leftover dough not large enough to cut into a shape (the star shape was my favorite)]. As the late comedian Jerry Clower stated, you knew you got the mixture right if you lost about half the biscuit in the syrup as you ran it through. Those quiet mornings watching the hummingbirds in the garden out the window was sometimes the only moment of peace I had, and I cherished them.

My KoKo has now passed on and I’ve got a few of her possessions to remember her by- her biscuit cutter being my most cherished one. Sadly, I wasn’t able to get many of her recipes from her. Like so many of the older generation she didn’t use set measurements much. She went by what looked right. However, I was able to get at least this from her.


  • 2 cups self-rising flour
    • or 2 cups all-purpose flour with 1 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt
      • replace the baking powder with 1/2 tsp cream of tartar and 1/4 tsp baking soda per cup
  • 1/2 shortening/lard (these are how KoKo made them and are a bit harder; but,this was is more traditional, tastes great, and is fantastic for biscuits and gravy)
    • or 1/2 cup salted butter, chilled and diced (flaky)
    • or an equal mixture of both
  • ~ 3/4 cup of milk- start of with this amount and increase a little at a time, as needed


  1. Preheat oven to 450F.
  2. Mix flour and fat together well by cutting with a fork or rubbing with your fingers.
  3. Add milk and mix until dough forms, adding extra milk as needed.
  4. Pour dough out onto a floured surface and knead several times. It’s a process to get right, try to go by the feel of it- trust that you know how to do it.
  5. Roll dough out to desired thickness and cut into desired shapes. Don’t forget to bake the scrap dough, too.
  6. Bake in a heated cast iron pan, cast iron skillet, baking sheet, or cake pan until golden brown. Start checking after 12 minutes, depending on your oven.
  7. Devour warm.


  1. If you aren’t using self rising flour, then be sure to whisk the dry ingredients well.
  2. No need to soften the butter if you’re in a hurry, keeping it cold can help retain some flake anyways.
  3. Feel free to play around with this recipe and make it your own. Unless you’re getting into pastries and the like, you don’t have to worry about exact measurements quite so much with this recipe.
  4. I’ve tried to add the pictures in order below this “tips” section. Personally, I get annoyed by other posts having too many pictures in the middle of their blog- even though there’s a reason behind it.