Hell's Kitchen's Alex Belew Tells Us How To Up Our Buttermilk Biscuit Game Ahead Of Thanksgiving - Exclusive

At the time of this writing, we're past episode 6 of "Hell's Kitchen," season 21, and Alex Belew is still standing — despite Billy and Abe's best efforts. This time Belew's steak entree impressed, beating out the Red Team's version and helping secure a Blue Team trip to Las Vegas' Rage Room. That's all a story for another day. While Belew may be showing off his salmon, chicken wings, and steak skills to Gordon Ramsay, the chef revealed exclusively to Mashed that he's got another trick up his sleeve: buttermilk biscuits.  

You'll have noticed his accent on screen, of course. That southern drawl comes with an equally southern backstory. "My grandparents owned a general store. My grandmother wrung chickens' necks and killed them — raised on a farm, family raises Walking horses," Belew told Mashed. "I come from rural Tennessee. My grandmother made the best food I ever had. I could never figure it out how she did it." 

His grandmother's cooking, in turn, inspired the chef to work on his biscuit game for five years. "It sounds so stupid because most all recipes are naturally the same," Belew quipped. "There's variations slightly, but it really comes down to technique." Five years paid off, and, says Belew, "In 2016 and 2017, I won the International Biscuit Festival."  

The secret to award-winning buttermilk biscuits according to Alex Belew

With Thanksgiving around the corner, you'll be busy debating what kind of rolls to put on your table. Here's a thought. How about skipping the sourdough, sweet, and cinnamon this year, and — thanks to Alex Belew's wisdom — going buttermilk? As Belew says, the real trick to buttermilk biscuits is the technique, and the "Hell's Kitchen" contestant has worked hard to develop a buttermilk biscuit method that's second to none.

"Make sure that your butter is frozen and grate it on a cheese grater. That's the best tip," Belew advised Mashed. "If you try to break it off in pieces and have pea-sized pieces, it's not consistent. You need frozen butter that's been grated on the large holes of a box grater and make sure everything is just super duper cold." 

Belew also recommends staying away from a rolling pin when baking buttermilk biscuits. "Even if I'm making 96 in a batch ... It's all by hand. I stir it all together in a bowl until it's in a big shaggy mess," Belew told Mashed. "I put it onto my workstation and I basically pat it out until it's about a half-inch thick. Then I letter fold over, pat it down, turn it, pat it out, letter fold. I basically fold it over itself four to six times creating layers and laminating the dough, and then I use a square cutter because there's less waste."

New episodes of "Hell's Kitchen air Thursday nights at 8:00 p.m. ET on FOX. To keep up with Belew outside of the show, visit his website and subscribe to his mailing list!