Among the things Memphis has in abundance are breakfast options that do simple extraordinarily well. Bryant’s Breakfast is one of those places. It’s not much to look at inside — your basic dive with somewhat spartan accommodations — but the biscuits are addictive. Get here early, by the way, if you plan to visit. The line of hungry diners stacks up quick.
“Elwood’s Country Biscuit” is the first breakfast biscuit I tried at Elwood’s Shack.
This delicious mixture of sausage, applewood bacon, ham or, if you’d like, an egg and/or cheese, could be a lunch or dinner biscuit. These are big biscuits. You could make a meal out of them.
My next Elwood’s biscuit was something completely different: a breakfast biscuit with homemade pimento cheese and a vine-ripened tomato. I’d never thought about pimento cheese for breakfast, but it works.
“A customer just suggested it and I said, ‘Sure,’” says Elwood’s owner Tim Bednarski. “It went on the menu not long afterward.”
They already had their pimento cheese sandwich made from Bednarski’s pimento cheese recipe, so a pimento cheese breakfast biscuit was a no-brainer.
But what about those biscuits?
“That’s my grandmother’s biscuit,” Bednarski says. “Our biscuits are made with butter, sour cream, 7-up and no lard.”
He calls the 7-up his “extra leavening agent.”
There are two kinds of baking powder - single and double acting. Bednarski uses double acting baking powder. The 7-up gives an “extra rise” to the flour and it makes the rolls “super flaky.”
Since he doesn’t use lard, Bednarski uses a high-gluten flour to keep the biscuits from falling apart when you eat them.
“I call it a ‘cat head biscuit,’” Bednarski says. “It’s the size of a cat’s head. It’s a big biscuit. It’s a Tennessee staple.”
Note: Bednarski’s ribs and corned beef will be featured on chef “Burgers, Brew and ‘Que” at 8 p.m. Oct. 9 on the Food Network.
I loved the classic sausage-and-egg biscuit on a great-tasting biscuit at Three LIttle Pigs Bar-B-Q.
They use a commercial biscuit - Rich’s - for their breakfast biscuits, which include all the combinations of bacon, sausage and egg, says manager John DeMarco.
But, he says. “Sausage biscuit is our best seller.”
Asked what people like about their sausage biscuits, DeMarco says, “The good taste. Not too spicy. They like the texture.”
Has anyone requested a barbecue breakfast biscuit? “It’s been rare. In the 10, 12 years I’ve been here, maybe three or four times. It’s extremely rare, but it has happened.”
Customers are welcome to ask for a barbecue biscuit, DeMarco says. “If they want one ounce, two ounces of barbecue on it, if they want sauce on it, we can do that.”
Eating one of Sunrise Memphis’s biscuits is a great accompaniment to actually watching the sun rise (the restaurant opens at 6 a.m.) or even watching the sun when it’s high in the sky (the restaurant closes at 3 p.m.)
I asked chef/owner Ryan Trimm which of their biscuits was the most popular.
The Rooster, he says. Trimm wanted to include a chicken biscuit on the menu, so he came up with fried chicken on a biscuit He added honey because he likes honey on fried chicken.
He also likes it spicy, so he uses tabasco honey on his chicken and biscuit.
If you order the “Mother and Child Reunion” you get egg with the fried chicken and honey, Trimm says.
I also tried the “P-Love” - a smoked bologna with egg and cheese. “That’s my favorite,” Trimm says. “A buddy of mine cooked it for me at his hunting camp. It’s his favorite thing to go to. He just does bologna, egg and cheese. We smoke the bologna. It gives it a better flavor.”
Their handmade biscuits are made with flour, buttermilk, butter, salt and baking powder. “I like our technique - hand kneading the butter in and slowly folding it together to get pockets of butter. When butter melts it steams. It’s actually air pockets inside the biscuit.
So, that makes it light and fluffy.”
I’m a big fan of Pancake House, but I seem to get everything else except the breakfast biscuits.
I recently tried one of their bacon and egg biscuits. It was terrific. Very flavorful. Everything a breakfast biscuit should be, as far as I’m concerned.
They have other types, but my server, Michelle Gerlach, suggested I try the bacon biscuit.
Those are popular, says owner Juli Druien. “Or the chicken biscuit. We use a fairly good size chicken tender that we put on our biscuit.”
As for the bacon one, she said, “We use a thick Wright’s bacon.”
And you can have breakfast biscuits for lunch and dinner at Pancake House.