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Fact: You Should Be Cooking with Moonshine

By: Lodge Cast Iron / June 19, 2023

Maybe we’re a bit biased here in Tennessee, but there’s something pretty magical that happens when you bring moonshine into the kitchen. Chef Kris waxes poetic on the charms of cooking with moonshine and shares a few tips on how to add it to your ingredient list.

Shine Sugar Churros with Chocolate Ganache

History of Moonshine 

There’s nothing better than a recipe with a good story behind it. And in the South, legends of secret moonshine makers have been passed down in Appalachia for centuries. Now you can find moonshine in liquor stores and cocktail bars all over the country, paying homage to the great makers who perfected their recipes on family farms and in small towns. To us, it’s one of the South’s best culinary achievements, up there with fried chicken, cornbread, and banana pudding. In honor of those original makers, we’ve experimented with six ways to use moonshine as an unconventional twist to your cooking and baking.

Six Ways to 'Shine

Pickled veggies 
When our gardens yield more than we can cook, we turn to pickling to preserve those fresh veggies for use year-round. To add an extra kick, we pour a generous splash of moonshine into the brine. Top these boozy pickled veggies on bbq,  salads, tacos, sandwiches, or a savory cocktail.    

Grilling glaze
Next time you host a cookout, make a moonshine glaze for pork chops, chicken, steaks, or salmon. This tenderizes the meat and enhances the flavors of the dish. Just reduce the moonshine with molasses or honey and a pinch of salt. This is a good time to experiment with moonshine flavors!  Apple moonshine is our go-to for pork chops and chicken, especially during the fall. And we like raspberry moonshine for salmon. 

Braising a pork shoulder or chicken thighs is a low-effort way to feed a big crowd. You can combine your braising liquid with moonshine to keep everything moist and tender as it slow cooks in your dutch oven. Serve as sandwiches or tacos, topped with your favorite homemade (or store-bought) sauce and pickled onion slaw. 

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Buttermilk beignets stacked high in a Blacklock 49 Deep Skillet

‘Shine Sugar
If you’re not above raising a few eyebrows with your dessert menu, this trick is for you. When we fry up homemade donuts, beignets, or churros, we like to toss them in a cinnamon-sugar mixture with a secret ingredient: moonshine. Just add ¼ cup of sugar and 2 teaspoons of moonshine to a food processor, blend until combined, then spread out over a small sheet pan to dry before mixing in cinnamon.     

Moonshine ganache comes together easily! Heat heavy cream and butter in a small saucepan until it just begins to simmer, then pour over semi-sweet chocolate chips and moonshine. This is what we serve with our craveable, dippable ‘Shine Sugar Churros, but it’s also a great base for a ganache frosting to top off vanilla cupcakes for boozy celebrations. 

Moonshine is for bakers, too! Add a ¼ cup of your favorite moonshine to your batter for a moist cake with great flavor. We love this hack if we need to upgrade a boxed cake mix for a quick dessert with a special touch from the South! 

Chef Kris Illustration

“Moonshine runs deep in my family history. My mother's people come from Harlin, Kentucky. Growing up, there were mason jars in my grandmother's house that the kids didn't touch. She once told me that the first rule of shine was, you never ask where the moonshine came from.” 

— Chef Kris Stubblefield 

Cook like an original! 

Contributed By: Lodge Cast Iron

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