Jeff Miller is the owner and pit boss at Luella’s Bar-B-que, which has two locations in Asheville. Luella’s was established in 2007, but the flagship store in north Asheville didn’t open until 2009.
Miller takes a lot of inspiration from his grandmother Lue. On the website for Luella’s Bar-B-Que, it reads “It’s in her kitchen that we learned how truly great food is made. And she’s the reason why every dish we create is a scratch-made labor of love from start to finish. So be sure and tell your tongue and tummy to thank Grandma Lue.”
You won’t find the dish Miller is sharing for this holiday season on the menu at Luella’s. So consider “Luella’s Cornbread Dressing with Smoked Sausage” a special gift from Miller and his Grandma Lue! What you will find at Luella’s are lots of options, including some locally sourced foods and meats that are smoked right there on-site.
Luella’s Cornbread Dressing with Smoked Sausage Yields 9×13-inch casserole dish
6 ounces crumbled smoked sausage
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup green pepper small diced (about ¼ inch)
1 cup celery small diced
1 cup onion small diced
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
pinch of thyme
2 scratches freshly grated nutmeg
1 ½ pound dried day-old Old School Brand cornbread
6 cups chicken stock
1 egg beaten
In your grandmother’s cast iron skillet, add butter and crumbled sausage.
Brown the smoked sausage on medium high heat. This could take 15 minutes; the longer the better.
When the sausage begins turning to brown crispy bits, use grandpa’s favorite wooden spoon to scratch the bottom of the pan to prevent burning.
Stir in the remaining ingredients and continue cooking the whole mess until the vegetables begin to caramelize.
Remove from heat and hold at room temperature.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg into room temperature chicken stock.
Combine the chicken stock with cornbread crumbs and soak ten minutes.
Add the sautéed vegetables with sausage and mix well.
Pour stuffing into a buttered casserole dish and cover with foil.
Bake in oven for 35 minutes.
Remove the foil cover and bake for an additional ten minutes, or to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
Notes from Miller: If you’re near the coast or have an internet connection, consider substituting 1-2 cups oysters in their liquor from Oyster’s Carolina for an equal amount of chicken stock. Taste the Love.