Tue Nov 3, 2015
Back in college, I celebrated a cousin's birthday at the low-cost rotisserie chicken 'n' ribs joint Dallas BBQ. Don't let the name fool you, you won't find old fashioned wood burning pits out back at this New York-based institution—it was the"Texas-sized" frozen margaritas that were our main draw. As the meal came to an end, we requested a cake and candle (little more than an excuse for our inebriated group to sing "Happy Birthday" as loudly and off-key as possible). The waiter promptly returned with a slice of cornbread, topped with whipped cream and a sole lit candle. We all kind of laughed at the "cake," but as we ate it, it didn't feel so out of place.
Their cornbread was sweet, moist, tender, and springy—very much like a cake after all. The namesake corn flavor was there, but not in a way that made a dollop of whipped cream feel out of place. As a Northerner, this was the exact type of cornbread I grew up on.
In my early days of barbecuing, I thought I needed to go for authenticity and started experimenting with Southern-style cornbread for my cookouts. But those denser, drier, and more intensely corn-flavored loaves never sat quite right with me. So I abandoned them pretty quickly and instead fully embraced the Northern-style cornbread that I know and love, in all of its sugary glory.