If there’s anything this dish lacks, we’re not aware of it. Let us count the ways of its deliciousness: Grit cakes? Check. Country ham? Check. Fried chicken? Check. Tillamook Cheddar? Mmm hmm. Pimento cheese? Better believe it. And top it all off with a fried green tomato. Welcome to the club.
"At Pine State, we all have a go-to snack on busy days: grits, diced-up fried chicken, honey, and tabasco sauce. The Pine State Fried Club was built on that flavor combo, along with some other items we felt were true showcases of what Pine State offers outside of our traditional biscuit! Along with that original combo, we wanted to feature our pimento cheese recipe with a fried green tomato, a North Carolina Country Ham-velope with Tillamook Extra Sharp White Cheddar inside, and grits cooked tender with Tillamook Butter, then fried to make a platform for stacking ingredients club sandwich style. Who doesn’t love finger food you can really fill up on?" – Kevin Atchley of Pine State Biscuits
1 batch of grits
2 chicken breasts
2-3 cups (16.8-25.2 oz) and ¼ cup (2.1 oz) buttermilk
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup (4.5 oz) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
1¼ cups eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon Texas Pete (or your favorite) hot sauce
Fried Green Tomato
1 cup (4.5 oz) self-rising flour
1 cup (6.3 oz) corn flour
⅓ cup (1.6 oz) cornmeal
1 tablespoon (0.4 oz) salt
2 teaspoons (0.3 oz) garlic powder
1¼ cups eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon green tabasco
¼ cup (2.1 oz) buttermilk
1-2 cups (4.5-9 oz) all-purpose flour
1 green tomato (can be found most often at farmer’s markets!)
Pine State Club
6 slices of chilled and set-up grit cakes, (see recipe below)
4 oz sliced Johnston County Country ham
4 oz Tillamook Vintage White Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese
2 fried chicken breasts (see recipe below)
4 teaspoons honey
4 teaspoons green tabasco
4 oz Pimento Cheese
2 fried green tomatoes (see recipe below)
½ gallon fry oil
Chives to garnish
To prep grit cakes, make a batch of Cheese Grits. Pour the mixture into a 1” deep metal pan and let it cool at room temperature. Once cooled, cover and put in the refrigerator overnight. Before you cook, cut into 2”x2”x1” piece “cakes”.
For the best results, marinate chicken breasts in 2-3 cups buttermilk and cayenne pepper for a few days before frying. If you don’t have that much time, try at least 30 minutes! After chicken has been marinated, it’s time to start the dredging. Create the dry dredge mixture by combining all-purpose, flour, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Create the wet dredge mixture by combining the beaten eggs, Texas Pete hot sauce, and ¼ cup buttermilk in a separate bowl. Dip each chicken breast in the wet dredge mixture, then gently toss the chicken in the dry dredge mixture until fully coated. Place on a sheet pan lined with wax paper and pan spray, then place sheet pan in the refrigerator for a few hours. This will let all the ingredients set in and ensure a nice thick crust.
Fried Green Tomatoes
To prep the green tomato, create the dry dredge mixture by combining self-rising flour, corn flour, cornmeal, salt, and garlic powder in a bowl. Create wet dredge mixture by combining the beaten eggs, green tabasco, and buttermilk in a separate bowl. Place the 1-2 cups all-purpose flour in another, smaller bowl. Slice the green tomato. Gently toss each slice in the all-purpose flour, then dip each slice in the wet dredge mixture. Finally dredge each slice of tomato in dry dredge mixture until fully coated. Place on a sheet pan lined with wax paper and pan spray, then place sheet pan in freezer overnight to set.
Make the Club
Get your grit cakes, breaded chicken breasts, and tomatoes out. Dust 3 grit cakes in all-purpose flour. Heat fry oil to 350°F and cook 6 grit cakes and green tomatoes for about 3 minutes, and breaded chicken breasts for 6-8 minutes or until coatings are golden brown. If you don’t have a deep fryer a deep cast iron kettle full of soy/canola oil will also work. Note that the grit cakes will sink to the bottom of the fryer/kettle at first, but when they are almost done they will float up to the top. The grit cakes will be crusty on the outside and soft and creamy in the middle.
Meanwhile, in a hot skillet, sear two ham-velopes (2 oz cheddar wrapped in Country Ham – like an envelope!) until cheese oozes out. Place 3 grit cakes on each plate. For each plate, top one cake with heaping tablespoon of Pine State Pimento Cheese and a fried green tomato. Top second cake with fried chicken, then drizzle 2 teaspoons honey and 2 teaspoons green tabasco on fried chicken. Top third cake with ham-velope. Skewer all three with frilly toothpicks for maximum wow factor. Sprinkle with chives to garnish and grab a fork and knife!