Buttermilk Drops At Gibson's Donuts: A New Orleans Tradition
Britton Deweese with a tray of buttermilk drops at Gibson's.
During my last visit to Gibson’s Donuts in East Memphis, I overheard a young man with a distinct Louisiana accent say to his friend, “I sure hope they have some buttermilk drops left.” They did, and he bought all four.
If you are from New Orleans, you probably understand the city’s love affair with buttermilk drops, a signature donut from a bakery called McKenzie’s, which I'm told never reopened after Hurricane Katrina. The donuts are unique because they have indentations like a peach instead of holes in the center. When the buttermilk drops hit hot oil, they puff up into moist pound cake-type donuts with crunchy exteriors. A light glaze icing is their crowing glory.
General manager Britton Deweese grew up eating buttermilk drops because his grandmother lived in the French Quarter. “We ate them all the time when we would visit,” he explained.
Deweese calls the cooking method for buttermilk drops a trade secret, but he said three things matter most: oil temperature, the amount of oil in the fryer, and the temperature of the batter. (Secret batter ingredient: ice cubes.) “All three things have to be exactly right, or the donuts don’t puff up,” he said.
To make buttermilk drops at home, check online for recipes. There are several, including this one from cdkitchen. Better yet, stop by Gibson's, but don't wait too late in the day or all the buttermilk drops will be gone.
Gibson’s Donuts, 760 Mt. Moriah Road, (901) 682-8200