Pecan Oil Is the Secret Ingredient Your Southern Kitchen Is Missing
Butter might reign supreme in the Southern kitchen, but that doesn't mean we're too stubborn to know that sometimes cooking oil is exactly what a recipe really needs—and we're not just talking about bacon grease, which is what many Southern grandmothers deem the only cooking oil worth having. (They're not not right.)
Cooking oils like olive oil and peanut oil are incredibly versatile in the kitchen and healthier for your body than butter, and there's a super Southern cooking oil that every cook out there should be using: pecan oil. Pecan oil is a pressed cooking oil extracted from Southern-favorite pecan nuts, resulting in a light, ever so slightly nutty cooking oil that brings out a ton of flavor in things like meat, vegetables, baked goods, and even salads.
The reason why everyone down in these parts should have pecan oil in the kitchen comes down to a couple things, starting with a very high smoke point of 470 degrees (versus other high-smoking competitors like peanut oil, which clocks in at 450 degrees), which makes it perfect for your frying pan. It also has nearly half the saturated fats of other heart-healthy oils like olive oil, which means you get more robust flavor from the buttery and nutty notes in pecan oil without sacrificing health goals.
Use pecan oil when frying up anything from catfish to green tomatoes, and you'll notice the difference instantly. Choose pecan oil when making homemade salad dressing by mixing with lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and herbs for something deliciously tangy. We even toss vegetables—sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and carrots are a few favorites—with pecan oil before roasting in the oven. You can basically switch it in any recipe that uses olive oil if you want extra oomph, and it can even replace butter in certain baking projects to make your dish healthier and slightly nutty.
Hands down, the best pecan oil out there is Louisiana-based Kinloch Pecan Oil, but if you're interested in something more robust, this roasted pecan oil is great when used mainly for salad dressings, pasta sauces, or to serve with crusty bread slices (it's not as great for frying as unroasted pressed pecan oil). Tip: It's made without any preservatives or stabilizers, so store it in the refrigerator to increase the shelf life.
Bring some extra Southern soul into the kitchen with pecan oil, and you'll never go back to the basic stuff.