Hell’s Backbone Biscuits

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Last fall I made a trip down to Boulder, Utah. It is pretty much in the middle of nowhere, but a very scenic drive. It was a work trip, but of course I found time to go to the famous Hell’s Backbone Grill.

Kalyn, of Kalyn’s Kitchen, did a special post about my trip last year. We were neighbors at the time and I didn’t have a blog yet, so she let me be a guest blogger. It was fun!

Anyways, the reason I am talking about Hell’s Backbone Grill today is because of their fantastic biscuits. As soon as you sit down they bring you the most amazing biscuits you will ever lay your tongue on. They simply melt in your mouth!

We had leftover buttermilk in the fridge so I knew I had to introduce Josh to these biscuits! I found the recipe in Blake and Jenn’s (the owners’) cookbook: With a Measure of Grace: The Stories and Recipes of a Small Town Restaurant.

The biscuits are buttery, tender, and flaky. The hint of black pepper gives them a nice kick. Enjoy them with homemade jam, honey, or more butter if you wish!

Blue-Ribbon Black-Powder Buttermilk Biscuits

Adapted from Hell’s Backbone Grill, With a Measure of Grace

3 tablespoons cornmeal
2 ½ cups flour
1 ½ teaspoons. salt

½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. coarse black pepper

1 tsp. white sugar

1 stick of butter, chilled and cut into chunks

1 cup of buttermilk

1. Adjust oven rack in the center of the oven. Heat to 450 degrees. Grease a 9 by 11 cookie sheet or line with parchment or a Silpat. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of cornmeal over surface.
2. Place flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, pepper, and sugar in a large bowl or in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Whisk or pulse 5-7 times.
3. If making by hand, cut butter in with a pastry blender or 2 knives until the mixture resembles uneven, coarse crumbs. If using a food processor, distribute butter chunks over the dry ingredients. Pulse 10-12 times, then transfer to large bowl.

4. Pour buttermilk over the top of the dough, folding ingredients at edges of bowl into middle using a rubber spatula. Rotate bowl one-quarter turn with each fold until dough is moistened and sticky, leaving few dry patches.

5. Turn dough ball onto lightly floured counter. Lightly dust your hands with flour and gently ease dough into a square shape. With bench scraper or sharp kitchen knife, cut dough in half and stack one-half on top of the other. Repeat three times, flattening, cutting, and stacking. Adding flour if necessary. I had to add a bit of flour:)

6. Transfer stack to baking sheet. Sprinkle dough with remaining 1 tablespoon of cornmeal. Using floured rolling pin, roll to one inch thick. Cut biscuits with a knife or bench scraper into 2 by 2 squares. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes.

I hope you try these biscuits at home! And if you have time please visit Hell’s Backbone Grill. Their ingredients are super fresh, they only come from their own gardens, their six acre farm, or from local farmers. For that reason, they are only open Spring-Fall. Call for a reservation. It may be a little town in Southern Utah, but everyone goes to dine at Hell’s! The service is incredible, Blake, Jenn, and staff are down to earth and super friendly. This is a one of a kind restaurant.

Hell’s Backbone Grill
No. 20 North Highway 12
Boulder, Utah 84716
Reservations are strongly recommended for dinner

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I'm Maria and my husband is Josh. We share a love of cooking, baking, and entertaining. We enjoy creating recipes that are simple, fresh, and family friendly. We love sitting around the table with good food, good conversation, and good friends and family! Our kitchen is always open!
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  1. These came out deliciously! They were definitely not pretty- but boy were they yummy. Next time I’d go ahead and add 1/2 c. flour in the beginning. Also folded in some grated cheddar cheese to a batch. Divine!

  2. 2 1/2 cups of flour + 2 cups of buttermilk = very loose batter, not biscuit dough. Are you sure these amounts are correct?