Seasoning Sensations

Sometimes, a dish is so well-seasoned, so perfectly balanced, that its unique flavor lingers in your memory long after the last bite. Here, local restaurants share their most scintillating seasoning sensations!

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Sometimes, a dish is so well-seasoned, so perfectly balanced, that its unique flavor lingers in your memory long after the last bite.

Here, local restaurants share their most scintillating seasoning sensations!


By  Katie Faulkner  |  Photography by  Rich Smith

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SideTrack’s Buttermilk Fried Chicken

For Southerners, fried chicken really is all about that beautiful crust and nailing the seasoning of it. The myriad of spices and herbs in this recipe come together to produce an intensely flavorful fried chicken.

Yields: 4 servings


Sidetrack Chef Lawton Haygood

Chef Lawton Haygood


  • Peanut oil, for deep frying
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup paprika
  • 1/3 cup onion powder
  • 1/3 cup black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 whole chickens broken down into breast, leg, wing, and thigh
  • 2 cups buttermilk


Heat peanut oil to 325° in a large pot or deep cast iron skillet. In a bowl, stir all dry ingredients together to make a seasoned flour, then transfer to a large flat dish. One at a time, dredge raw chicken pieces in the seasoned flour. Dip dredged chicken pieces into buttermilk. Coat each chicken piece in seasoned flour mixture again.

Fry each piece of chicken for 10 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through.

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Café 7

Spicy Blackberry Duck Wings

For a spicy and sweet sensation, try this luxurious sauce on your next foul fricassee. Blended and balanced with heat and sweet, these spicy blackberry duck wings will make you fly.

Yields: 5 lbs. duck wings, 3-4 cups sauce


café 7 chef scott johnson

Chef Scott Johnson


For the duck wings:

  • 5 lbs. duck wings
  • 2 qts. olive oil
  • 2 qts. unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 10 sprigs thyme, broken down
  • 10 garlic cloves, minced
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

For the sauce:

  • 3 1/2 cups blackberries
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (can sub molasses if preferred sweeter)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 Tbsp. creole mustard
  • 2 tsp. sriracha
  • 1 1/2 tsp. chipotle chili powder
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger, ground
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup water


To make duck wings, preheat oven to 225o while wings are refrigerated. In a large baking pan, combine oil and butter and submerge duck wings fully. Cover with aluminum foil and bake until the meat starts to pull away from the bones (3 1/2-4 hours). Remove and let cool in the pan. Once cooled, transfer wings to a sheet pan. In a separate dish, combine cornstarch, thyme, and garlic. Dredge wings in cornstarch mixture and fry in vegetable oil for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown.

To make the sauce, place everything but 1 cup of blackberries and water in a pot. Smash berries with a whisk while heating on low heat. Once simmering, combine water and leftover blackberries in the pot. Bring to a low boil. Lower heat and boil down until preferred consistency. Transfer to large bowl, then add fried wings and toss to coat.

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Food Works

Korean BBQ Chicken Wings

For a succulent and saucy snack, these sweet, spicy, and crisp Korean BBQ wings are a flavor-loaded favorite to fry and try!

Yields: roughly 84 wings


food works chef troy sutton

Chef Troy Sutton


For the dry rub:

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 5 Tbsp. black pepper
  • 5 Tbsp. dry mustard
  • 8 tsp. garlic powder
  • 8 tsp. paprika
  • 8 tsp. chili powder
  • 4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 4 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 cup baking powder
  • 5 lbs. jumbo chicken wings
    (drums and flats)

For the Korean BBQ sauce:

  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup aji mirin
  • 2 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 1/4 Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbsp. sriracha
  • 1/2 Tbsp. ginger, grated
  • 1/2 Tbsp. garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup water (for slurry)
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch (for slurry)
  • 1/4 cup green onions, chopped, for garnish


For the dry rub, combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Place batches of chicken wings in a large clear plastic bag and start by adding 1/4 of the dry rub at a time, tossing the wings enough to coat them. Add more rub and continue to toss as needed. Repeat with subsequent batches until wings and rub are gone. Lay wings out in a pan and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or up to overnight. 

For the Korean BBQ sauce, combine all ingredients (except for water and cornstarch) in a small saucepan. Slowly bring to a simmer. In a separate mixing bowl, combine water and cornstarch for slurry. Stir until it forms a paste-like consistency. Whisk slurry into the pot with simmering liquid and stir until thickened. Once thickened, pour sauce into blender and purée until smooth. 

Fry the dry-rubbed wings in a deep fat fryer or deep pot of oil set to 350o for 10 minutes. Drain excess oil from wings, place in mixing bowl, and pour in enough Korean BBQ sauce to coat wings, then toss. Place wings on a platter and garnish with chopped green onions.

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canyon grill

Tomato Bisque

Creamy, smoky, and fresh – this bisque has it all. With the help of fresh basil and oregano, this rich dish receives a boost of brightness. Chipotles add depth and a touch of heat, elevating this well-balanced bowl to a truly tasty treat.

Yields: 2 servings


chef alexis west at canyon grill

Chef Alexis West


  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. basil + a couple leaves for garnish
  • 1 Tbsp. oregano
  • 1 Tbsp. chipotle in adobe sauce, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup roasted red pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. sherry
  • 1 lb. diced canned tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 1/2 oz. extra-virgin olive oil


Heat a pot to medium heat with olive oil. Add diced onions, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook until onions are translucent. Add basil and oregano. Then add chipotle and roasted red peppers. Add sherry and cook for 2 additional minutes until alcohol is cooked off. Stir occasionally to combine and keep ingredients from sticking. Add diced tomatoes and chicken broth, then allow it to simmer for 10 minutes.

Allow mixture to cool to room temperature. Once cooled, blend in a blender (or you can blend it while it’s hot using an immersion blender). Then, run mixture through a sieve or strainer (back into the pot) for a silky consistency. Return the pot to medium heat and bring it back to a simmer, then add butter. Let butter melt completely, then add heavy cream. At this point, the bisque should be creamy, but if it’s still a little thin, reduce it down to thicken for a creamy consistency.

Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil on top and add a fresh chiffonade-cut basil for garnish. As another layer, you can add a small spoonful of crème fraiche.

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Beast & Barrel

Beast Pastrami

Savor the flavor of this slow-cooked, time-infused recipe. Well worth the hours of prep time, this perfectly cured, pull-apart pastrami sings with a symphony of spices sure to leave your mouth watering.

Yields: 10-12 servings


chef christian crane at beast and barrel

Chef Christian Crane


  • 1 (12 1/2 lbs.) raw corned beef cured brisket
  • 1 1/2 cups canola oil 
  • 1 1/2 cups black pepper, freshly ground 
  • 2 Tbsp. crushed red pepper 
  • 2 Tbsp. coriander powder 
  • 3 tsp. ground mustard 
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar 
  • 1/4 cup paprika 
  • 2 Tbsp. garlic powder 
  • 2 Tbsp. onion powder 


Cut brisket into 4 lb. pieces. Soak brisket in a large container of water overnight (at least 8 hours). Meanwhile, create rub by combining all other ingredients to make an oil-based paste.

Remove brisket from water after the soaking period and pat dry. Coat each piece of brisket with rub/paste thoroughly. Prepare a smoker on its highest setting. Distribute brisket pieces evenly across racks in smoker. Cook for 5-8 hours, depending on the thickness of the cuts. It’s done when the internal temperature reaches 190°. Place on cooling racks before slicing to serve.

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The Foundry

Grilled Apple Brined Pork Chops

This classic brine recipe packs in powerful favorite flavors that never overwhelm. Well-balanced between herbaceous, sweet, and salty, these pork chops don’t disappoint!

Yields: 4 servings


chef daniel walters at the foundry

Chef Daniel Walters


  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups apple juice
  • 1 Tbsp. black pepper, coarsely ground
  • 1 Tbsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 bay leaf 
  • 1 sprig each rosemary and thyme
  • 4 (14 oz.) pork chops


Over medium-high heat, add water, apple juice, pepper, salt, sugar, bay leaf, rosemary, and thyme to a large pot. Bring contents of pot to a simmer. Stir occasionally to make sure the salt and sugar are completely dissolved. Remove from heat and allow the brine to cool to room temperature. Add chops to the cooled brine and place them in the refrigerator for no more than 24 hours, and at least 4 hours.

Remove chops from brine, rinse with cold water, and pat dry with paper towels. Heat a grill or grill pan to medium heat. Season chops with salt and pepper, then place on hot oiled grill. Grill chops 8 minutes per side, then let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

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1885 Grill

BBQ Chicken

Simple yet scrumptious, this winning recipe is a crowd-pleasing creation. With a combination of baking and grilling, the crispy texture complements an herb-infused burst of sweet and tangy BBQ flavor!

Yields: 8 servings


chef sara white at 1885 grill

Chef Sara White


  • 1/2 cup Alchemy Spice, “Proud to Be an American” blend
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 32 pieces of chicken (mix of legs and thighs)
  • Carolina Gold BBQ sauce,
    to taste


Mix spice blend, vegetable oil, and apple cider vinegar together to create a marinade. Toss chicken in marinade and place in refrigerator for 24 hours. Remove from refrigerator, place on a parchment paper-covered baking sheet, and bake at 375° for 22-24 minutes, or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160°. Remove from oven and transfer to hot grill. Grill for 3 minutes on each side. Remove from grill and drizzle with Carolina Gold BBQ sauce as desired. Serves well with collard greens and cornbread.

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