Week 10: Big Mama's Kitchen & Catering

We’ve been all over the states, and we’ve seen our fair share of biscuit specialty shops. And while we love the biscuit fanatics and their dedication to the staple of all southern cuisine, something fantastic is to be said about the restaurants that serve all types of food, and yet, the biscuit stands out. Standing out is actually an understatement for Omaha’s own Big Mama’s Kitchen & Catering. With several run ins with popular food-loving shows, like the Food Network's “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” to name one, and even a show all about Big Mama herself, this kitchen of tasty southern tradition serves up biscuits to battle with the best.

With its mother shop built in a former school building, Patricia Barron, or Big Mama herself, has a lot to teach about old-school comfort food, and our grumbling stomachs have a lot to learn. Considering the three generations in the kitchen, from grandmother to granddaughter, one this is certain, comfort food is about happy bellies and happy family.

Pulling out our notebooks and our ears close, we asked what made Big Mama’s biscuits different from the rest, and with the age old question of shortening versus lard and whole milk versus buttermilk, we were given an answer.

Contesting that “lard, self rising flour, and a painting of real butter after baking makes a truly amazing biscuit” and that you should always use “whole milk instead of buttermilk and using lard instead shortening”, Gladys Harrison, daughter and general manager of Big Mama, was quick to answer. But don’t think your lesson is over, because we also have their biscuit baking process ready for your biscuit education:

Big Mamas Kitchen & Catering Drop Biscuits

1 cup self-rising flour

1 tbsp. baking powder

1/4 cup Lard

3/4 – 1 cup milk

4 tbsp. melted butter

Preheat oven to 475 °. Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix well with a fork or for best results use a pastry blender. Cut in the lard. Add ¾ of milk and mix until a thick past is formed add more milk if neccessry. Grease muffin pan or cast iron biscuit skillet. Scoop about ¼ cup of mixture into muffin pans. Paint top of biscuit with butter. Place in oven and bake for 16 minutes or until biscuits are double in size and golden brown. Paint again with butter after removing from oven and let cool (yields 6 biscuits).

But wait, there's more! Once you've mastered the art of Big Mama's original biscuit, you can move on to and even better fan favorite, the Glazed Peach Cobbler Biscuits:

1 cup Self-Rising Flour

1/2 cup of lard

3/4-1 cup whole milk

1 cup chopped peaches, drained

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tbsp baking powder

Mix flour, baking powder, and lard together in a pastry blender until mixture is crumbly. Add milk a little at a time until dough is formed. Add 3/4 cup of peaches, and mix with a spoon. Then, add cinnamon, streaking it through the dough. DO NOT mix well. Scoop 1/4 cup of dough into a biscuit pan, and bake at 475 degrees for 15 minutes. Brush each biscuit with melted butter when finished. For the glaze, mix 1/4 cup of powdered sugar and 1/4 cup of peaches and spoon the mixture onto each biscuit. Serve!

So, if you're ever in the market to get schooled in the art of biscuits and comfort food then visit Big Mama and her whole family right in Omaha, Nebraska. From what we hear, she’s always present and ready to share her food and well-seasoned stories. And as long as she shares biscuits, you know we will be there.

Big Mama's Kitchen & Catering

3223 N 45th St.

Omaha, NE 68104

402. 455. 6262