Breakfast For The Decisive Battle Of Nashville

This Saturday is the 21st Century Decisive Battle of Nashville. The Rebels didn't fare so well December 15-16, 1864, and let's hope they see a repeat on September 17, 2005.

Breakfast For The Decisive Battle Of Nashville

(Be It 1864 or 2005)


Howell Peiser


This Saturday is the 21st Century Decisive Battle of Nashville.  The Rebels didn't fare so well December 15-16, 1864, and let's hope they see a repeat on September 17, 2005.


I can think of no better way to prepare for the new vital battle of this gridiron war by starting off with an authentic Civil War breakfast, even if we modify it a bit for modern day palettes. 


Let's start the morning by making some smoked sausages.  We will then add Johnnie cakes and apple tea to the menu.  No hardtack for our tailgating troops.  I will give the healthier versions of these recipes.  If you only care about taste, use the regular conventional products.


Natchez Trace Smoked Sausage


For each pound of ground meat (beef, pork, lamb, chicken, turkey, etc.), use this spice blend:


1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dried sage

1/8 teaspoon dried marjoram

½ tsp. Hungarian paprika

3/8 tsp. stevia (or 1-1/2 teaspoons brown sugar)

1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 pinch ground cloves

Pinch of powdered fennel or ½ tsp. crushed fennel seeds


Directions:  Combine the seasonings, mixing them well.  Add them to one pound of meat and mix them thoroughly to guarantee a complete blend.  I recommend using disposable gloves that are okay for food prep.


Form the sausage mixture into eight balls per pound and press into patties.  Place on your grill so that the coals are on one side and the patties are on the other side, or use a smoker and follow instructions.  Smoke with hickory chips for about 45 minutes to an hour at 200-225 degrees.  To help keep them moist, you can have a water pan under the sausages, and use apple juice instead of water. 


After they have smoked, you can then place them in a frying pan and fry them directly over the coals, or you can grill them like brats.


Note: If you use beef, look for 20% fat ground beef.  If you use lean beef, ground white chicken, or ground turkey, you may have to add some oil.  Sausage needs to be close to 20% fat in order to cook without drying out.  We use ground turkey for our sausage-making brunches and add organic olive oil.  We occasionally add finely diced apples or pears (no peels) to add moisture and flavor.


Johnnie Rebel Cakes


2 cups of organic, non-GMO cornmeal

2/3 cup of almond milk (or regular milk)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil (the Rebs used lard back in '64)

2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon of salt


Mix ingredients, making a stiff batter. Divide into eight equal balls and form into little cakes.  Place on a lightly greased sheet and grill at about 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until brown.  You can also spoon the batter into hot cooking oil in a frying pan on your grill.


The Civil War soldiers spread these corn cakes with butter or sorghum molasses if they had these supplies.


Apple Tea


There is no need to make this from scratch like the Rebels did almost 150 years ago.  If you start making it Saturday morning, it might be ready by the time the Titans play Sunday.  Simply buy a good apple-cinnamon herb tea, like Celestial Seasonings, and brew it the night before.  Refrigerate it and bring it with you Saturday.


Once you get filled up on this scrumptious breakfast or brunch, be sure to burn those calories off by standing and jumping up and down every time Vandy does something worth cheering about.  Let's hope you will have to do this dozens of times.


For an excellent summary of The Battle of Nashville, these web pages are excellent: and Top Stories