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Slow-cooked bacon with kohlrabi slaw and Aunt Julia's BBQ sauce

Andrew Thomas Lee

Slow-cooked bacon with kohlrabi slaw and Aunt Julia's BBQ sauce


Cook like a chef: 6 all-time favorite recipes from Atlanta's Linton Hopkins

If you live in or just like to eat across Atlanta, you're likely familiar with chef Linton Hopkins. The award-winner co-owner of several Atlanta-area restaurants that serve everything from elegant, high-end Southern fare to cult-favorite hamburgers, Hopkins also has a passion for cooking at home surrounded by family.

Today, he's sharing six of his all-time favorite recipes, including everything from cheese-filled waffles to finger-licking barbecue sauce. 

Buttermilk Cheese Waffles
Serves: 4 to 6
Hands-on time: 45 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes

2 cups White Lily all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 to 2 1/2 cups full-fat buttermilk
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese
1 teaspoon sugar
Pinch kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda into a large bowl three times.

In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups buttermilk with the butter and eggs until well combined. Add the flour mixture and whisk until smooth. The batter should have a pudding-like consistency. If necessary, add more buttermilk, 1/4 cup at a time, until a pudding-like consistency is reached. Stir in the cheeses, sugar and salt. Season with pepper.

Heat a waffle iron. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the batter to the heated waffle iron. Close the iron and cook until dark golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes, depending on your waffle iron. Repeat the process with the remaining batter and serve immediately.

Pimento Cheese
This pimento cheese is served at both Holeman and Finch and Restaurant Eugene, where it appears in mini pimento cheese macarons. The base recipe is one that Hopkins and his wife Gina created together at home when they first started dating.

Serves: 6 to 8
Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 2 1/2 hours

3 red bell peppers
2 cups coarsely shredded sharp yellow cheddar cheese
1/2 cup cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon juice from a jar of bread and butter pickles (optional)
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Saltine crackers, for serving

Light a grill or preheat the broiler. Place the bell peppers over the hot fire or under the broiler and cook, turning, until charred all over. Transfer the bell peppers to a plate and let to cool to room temperature.

Peel the roasted peppers and discard the cores and seeds. Cut the peppers into 1/8-inch dice and pat dry with paper towels.

In a large bowl, mix the diced peppers with the cheddar cheese, cream cheese, mayonnaise, pickle juice (if using) and Tabasco. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Serve with the crackers.

Shrimp and Smoked Oyster Chowder
This oyster chowder is a long-standing recipe for Hopkins, but his first ever oyster stew recipe was developed when he worked at Mister B’s Bistro, the iconic Creole-cuisine destination owned by the Brennan family in New Orleans. This type of dish celebrating oysters and Southern fare is a huge inspiration for him, especially in the menu development for his newest restaurant, C. Ellet’s Steakhouse.

Serves: 4 to 6
Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Total time: About 1 hour

3 cups water
1 cup bottled clam broth
8 ounces medium shrimp, shelled, deveined and quartered, with shells reserved
1 onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, 4 smashed and 2 minced
1/4 cup dry sherry
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small fennel bulb, cored and finely diced
1 small green bell pepper, finely diced
1 celery rib, finely diced
1 (14-ounce) can whole tomatoes, finely chopped and juices reserved
1 russet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces skinless grouper or cod fillets, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 (3-ounce) can smoked oysters, drained and chopped
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

In a large saucepan, combine the water, clam broth, shrimp shells, one-third of the onion, the smashed garlic cloves, and the sherry, bay leaves and pepper flakes. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, covered, until richly flavored, about 20 minutes. Strain the stock through a fine-mesh strainer into a heat-proof bowl. Discard the solids.

In a Dutch oven or other large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the fennel, bell pepper, celery, minced garlic cloves and the remaining onion. Cover and cook, stirring once or twice, until the vegetables are barely softened, about 3 minutes. Uncover and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 3 minutes. 

Add the tomatoes with their juices and the shrimp stock. Bring to a simmer, add the potato and season with salt and pepper. Continue to simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Add the shrimp, grouper, oysters and Worcestershire sauce and continue to cook until the seafood is just cooked through, about 3 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in the buttermilk and parsley. Serve in deep bowls.

Lacinato Kale and Shaved Fennel Salad with Bacon-Sorghum Marmalade
The use of sorghum in this salad adds complexity in addition to sweetness, said Hopkins. You can substitute honey or brown sugar if you can't find it.

Serves: 2 to 4
Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes, plus cooling time

3 strips bacon, chopped
3 tablespoons sorghum
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 bunch lacinato kale, stems removed
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 fennel bulb, thinly shaved with mandolin
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Kosher salt
3 to 4 tablespoons yogurt

In a small pot, cook the bacon over medium heat until cooked but still chewy. Remove as much of the fat as possible from the pot and reserve for another use. Add the sorghum and vinegar and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thick and sticky. Let cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, toss the kale with the peanut oil and spread on a baking sheet. Bake until crisp, about 5 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.

In a second large bowl, toss the fennel with the olive oil and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt.

On a large serving platter, spread a generous smear of the yogurt across the center. Arrange the crisp kale and shaved fennel on top. Finish with dollops of bacon marmalade. Serve.

Coffee-Cured Pulled Pork
"Sorghum is almost forgotten as a sweetener," said Hopkins, but it is "indispensable for adding a complex, light sweetness. A true Southern ingredient."

Serves: 6 to 8
Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Total time: 19 to 31 hours, plus cooling time

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup coarsely ground coffee
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (4-pound) bone-in pork butt
1/3 cup sorghum or molasses
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

In a large bowl, combine the sugar, coffee and 1/2 cup salt. Add the pork butt and rub the mixture all over. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.

Heat the oven to 300 degrees.

Rinse off the pork, pat dry, and place in a roasting pan. Roast, occasionally basting with pan juices, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the pork registers 200 degrees, about 6 hours. Cover the pork with foil for the last two hours of cooking. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let rest for 30 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 500 degrees.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring the sorghum and vinegar to a boil over high heat. Season lightly with salt and pepper, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until slightly thickened and reduced, about 10 minutes. Pour the glaze over the pork and return the pork to the oven to roast until the glaze has browned, about 15 minutes.

Let cool to room temperature, then shred the pork and serve.

Aunt Julia’s BBQ Sauce
Serve this tangy tomato-based barbecue sauce with the pulled pork (above).

Makes: About 4 1/2 cups
Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes, plus cooling time

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons ketchup
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons tomato purée
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup finely chopped sweet onion
1/4 cup tomato juice
1/4 cup Heinz chile sauce
1/4 cup Tabasco
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon dried mustard powder
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

In a large saucepan, combine all of the ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes. Let cool to room temperature, then transfer to a jar and store in the refrigerator.

Photo Credit (pimento cheese): Holeman and Finch Public House

Author image

An internationally acclaimed chef-owner and Atlanta native known for celebrating local produce and community-driven cuisine, Linton Hopkins delivers radical and meaningful experiences inside and outside of his dining destinations. A graduate from Emory University and the Culinary Institute of America, Hopkins opened his flagship Restaurant Eugene in 2004 with his wife, co-founder and co-CEO of Resurgens Hospitality Group, Gina Hopkins. The duo proceeded to open Holeman and Finch Public House in 2008, followed by Holeman and Finch Bottle Shop in 2011, H&F Burger at both Ponce City Market and Turner Field, now at SunTrust Park, Hop’s Chicken and recently-debuted C. Ellet’s, an upscale, modern American steakhouse in the new Battery Park. Hopkins received the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef: Southeast award in 2012. Hopkins and wife also co-founded the Peachtree Road Farmers Market, and began working hand-in-hand with Delta Airlines in 2013, building the premier locally sourced, seasonal menu in aviation history and now provide the cuisine served on all international Delta flights. Additionally, Hopkins continues a treasured partnership with the Atlanta Botanical Garden, serving as consulting chef with each of the Garden’s culinary programs. Linton has served as President of the Southern Foodways Alliance and partnered with Michelle Obama to celebrate the First Lady’s Chef’s Move to Schools Initiative, and additionally supports the James Beard Women in Culinary Leadership Program. He insists that making mayonnaise from scratch, and teaching others to do the same, can change the world.