Buttermilk-and-bacon-fat cornbread

In 2020 I launched The Blue and Yellow Kitchen: Where cooking meets culture. One of my guests was first-time memoirist Vivian Gibson. Her lovely memoir The Last Children of Mill Creek, about growing up in an all-Black neighborhood in St. Louis, captivated me. This is an adaptation of Gibson’s older sister’s recipe. I had a delightful time talking with her and I encourage you to read her book. This cornbread is so incredibly moist, both from the buttermilk and from letting the batter sit a full 10 minutes to hydrate. And using high-quality bacon fat instead of butter makes it mouth-wateringly good.

Watch the full episode below!

Buttermilk-and-bacon-fat cornbread

Buttermilk-and-bacon-fat cornbread | Vivian Gibson | Last Children of Mill Creek

Hearty cornbread, so moist and savory.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American
Servings 10 servings


  • 1-1/3 cup corn grits (white, stone-ground) yellow corn meal (170 g)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (gluten-free) Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 Baking Mix
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar (organic)
  • 1 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1-1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup bacon fat (rendered) melted, or grass-fed butter, melted
  • 2 eggs large, beaten to blend


  • Place cast-iron skillet in oven. Preheat oven to 375F/190C/gas mark 5.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients (grits through salt).
  • Add remaining ingredients and stir until well-blended. Set aside 10 minutes to hydrate the batter. (Don't skip this step!)
  • Remove preheated skillet carefully using hot pads, add about 1 tablespoon bacon grease, butter or oil, swirl to coat pan. Pour in batter quickly and smooth the top.
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes or until top springs back when pressed with a finger and a few cracks appear. Cool a few minutes before cutting.