20 Down-Home Ozark Country Recipes
Beans and Ham Hocks
Thanks to the ham hocks, the only seasoning needed in these homey beans is a bit of salt.
Skillet Corn Bread
Long before corn stick pans and muffin tins, a skillet was the pan of choice for making corn bread. This traditional recipe comes from a bed and breakfast in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
This tall layer cake, with a medley of flavors from nuts, fruit and spices, comes from the kitchens of Silver Dollar City theme park in Branson, Missouri. Add a sprinkling of pecans on top for even more crunch. Why is it called Hummingbird Cake? One story suggests the Ozark classic used to attract its namesake.
Upside Down Apple-Pear Pie
"You make a gooey brown sugar syrup in the bottom of the pan," explains Robert Stricklin, executive chef/educator at Keeter Center, College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri. "When it comes out of the oven, you turn it upside down like a sticky bun."
Students working at the Keeter Center dining room present slices on a plate with both custard and caramel sauces. The fruit-pecan pie takes extra steps to prepare, but it's worth it.
Savory Skillet Succotash
The scent of succotash cooking in enormous cast-iron skillets lures visitors at Branson's Silver Dollar City. Our recipe is a smaller version, just right for a regular skillet. It's loaded with veggies, along with the chicken.
Ozark War Eagle Buttermilk Biscuits
Two kinds of flour make for fuller flavor in these biscuits. Our recipe includes an optional topping of sausage gravy, an Ozark tradition.
The blueberry-size green gooseberries in this recipe come from a spiny bush that grows in the Ozarks. At Silver Dollar City in Branson, the sweet-tart berries are mixed with sugar and tucked into a two-crust pie.
Smoked Trout Cakes
At the College of the Ozark's Keeter Center, cooks make this Ozark version of crab cakes substituting smoked trout. Customers pack the 250-seat dining room in the school's expansive Keeter Center log lodge for Ozark lunches and dinners prepared by culinary students.
At Silver Dollar City, you'll find a "mess" of this two-potato side dish frying in a 5-foot-wide iron skillet. The aroma of sizzling onions and potatoes in bacon drippings makes the recipe hard to resist, even when you prepare it in a home-size pan.
Devils' Pool Chicken-Fried Steak
Blueberry Thunder Muffins
At Persimmon Hill Farm (20 miles southwest of Branson), they call jumbo muffins Thunder Muffins—they're made in extra-large muffin pans. The farm's fresh blueberries make the flavor as big as the muffins.
Smoked Tomato Soup
Smoked tomatoes give all-American tomato soup a twist of Ozark flavor. Thyme, garlic and onion bring more depth to the taste.
War Eagle Bean Palace Pecan Cobbler
Using the beloved pecan pie as a guide, cooks for the restaurant at the top of War Eagle Mill near Rogers, Arkansas, fashioned this cobbler adding oat flour for a different flavor in the crust. This buttery crust actually layers in the middle of the syrupy filling, an escape from the usual cobbler crowned with topping. A generous measure of pecans adds crunch.
Another rich Ozark dessert: Warm Banana Cake with Butterscotch-Caramel Sauce, from James at the Mill restaurant in Johnson, Arkansas. The dessert is based on a recipe from restaurant owner Miles James' Ozark grandmother.
Miner's Beef Stew
Guests dine on this favorite stew at Silver Dollar City's Lucky Silver Mine Restaurant, while others learn how to make it at the park's Culinary & Craft School. The meat slow-cooks for fork-tender results.
Black Walnut Ice Cream
Staff at Silver Dollar City churn dozens of ice cream flavors at Hannah's Ice Cream Factory. For a sweeter ice cream, use more sugar. Look for black walnut flavoring, which pairs with nuts to give this cool treat its flavor, in large supermarkets.
Ozark Blackberry Cobbler
A sugared crispy pastry covers sweet juicy berries in this traditional dessert from the Monte Ne Inn near Rogers, Arkansas.
Warm-You-Up Beans and Ham
First published in Midwest Living® in 1998, this perennial comfort food made our list of the 20 best recipes published in the magazine's first two decades.