Is This Why Cracker Barrel Biscuits Taste Different At The Restaurant?

One major perk of dining at restaurants, from Italian spots to steakhouses, is the free bread basket that holds you over while your food comes. At Cracker Barrel, for example, you get a choice of corn muffins or the chain's famous buttermilk biscuits. To say that these biscuits are popular would be an understatement. In a blog post, the down-home chain revealed that it bakes over 825,000 biscuits each day. Cracker Barrel even sells its own biscuit mix, so you can enjoy a bit of buttermilk goodness in the comfort of your own home.

But is preparing Cracker Barrel's biscuit mix just as good as getting the warm, fluffy bites of bread in the restaurants themselves? According to one Redditor on the r/TopSecretRecipes thread, the answer is no. Biscuit fan u/ernichern claimed that "something isn't the same" about the chain's boxed biscuit mix, so they've also tried to recreate the appetizer using copycat Cracker Barrel biscuits recipes online. To make matters more confusing, though, these recipes sometimes include additional ingredients that employees say aren't part of the real recipe. Fortunately, fellow Redditors were able to explain that the real secret isn't necessarily what's inside the biscuit dough, but what's brushed on top.

Cracker Barrel's biscuits are brushed with shortening and salt

According to Redditors answering u/ernichern's question about Cracker Barrel's biscuits, the baked treats are brushed with a combination of fat and salt before they're served. One user said the chain uses shortening — which is any fat that is solid at room temperature and can include both vegetable-based fats such as Crisco and animal fat, per Bob's Red Mill — while another specified that the biscuits are prepared with lard. "The secret is lard...So much lard and bacon," u/BakeryLife said, likely alluding to the somewhat surprising places that lard turns up on Cracker Barrel's menu. Veggl, while listing what can be considered vegan at the restaurant chain, notes that even its corn, beans, carrots, and turnip greens are prepared with animal fat.

Although Cracker Barrel has never given an official recipe for its biscuits, many copycat recipes agree that the chain uses shortening in the recipe. A Bountiful Kitchen's recipe, for instance, has comments from a former Cracker Barrel prep cook who confirms that shortening is indeed an ingredient, although another commenter claims that "lard is where it's at." Until Cracker Barrel makes its techniques known, the debate goes on.