2016 Bush Beans ‘Beans ‘n Cornbread Festival’

When you come to Gatlinburg on Thursday, May 12, you’d better come hungry. From 5-8 p.m., the Bush Brothers & Company will present the Beans ‘n’ Cornbread Blast. Veritable buckets of beans will be served up along the Parkway between traffic lights #6 and #8.

The festival itself is free but for just $10, you can get a bottomless sampling spoon. Stroll the booths and try all the cornbread and beans that you can eat. There will be plenty to go around, all featuring recipes prepared using Bush’s Best Beans.

Bush Beans Dog Duke

The Famous Spokes Dog, Duke!

Between bean bites, you can enjoy the performances from the strolling musicians who will be up and down the festival entertaining all comers. As you try to decide which recipe is your favorite, you can check out the more than 15 antique engines on display, back by popular demand.

At the heart of any good bean festival is the cookoff, with bean and cornbread makers facing off to determine who bakes the best bread and which bean pot will come out on top. With fare as simple as beans and cornbread, the making should be easy, right? Not so much. Often what seems to be the most basic recipes are the ones that are hardest to perfect.

True to the Appalachian roots of Gatlinburg, the basic recipe for a pot beans is simple: water, salt, pork, and, of course, beans. These ingredients, however, can be combined in a nearly infinite numbers of ways, forcing cooks to carefully balance textures and flavors while adding that little something extra to set themselves apart from the rest of the competition. The big differences become apparent with the addition of spices, special flavoring, and cooking with a stock instead of water.

So what to look for as you sample the fare? As you taste the beans, start with the texture. You don’t want a bean that has been cooked down to the point of disintegration. Nor do you want a bean that is dry or chalky, one that crumbles when you bite it. The best bean is one that has a little tooth to it, firm but not hard.

Cornbread is just as complex as a pot of beans. The ideal cornbread will be buttery but not oily. You want a nice crumb, but not an explosion of crumbles when you take a bite. Too dense or heavy and it won’t soak up the beans; too airy and it’ll become a soggy mess.

So the real trick here is the find not just the perfect bean and the perfect cornbread, but the perfect combination of both. Now that you know where to go and what to look for, you’re ready to be the beast beans and cornbread connoisseur in Gatlinburg. Good luck and good eats!

Hilltop Haven Gatlinburg Vacation Cabin

3 Bedroom Gatlinburg Vacation Cabin

Have you made your cabin rental reservations for May 12?  Choose Hilltop Haven, a Gatlinburg vacation cabin by Heartland Rentals.  Hilltop Haven features 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths and accommodates up to 8 people.

  • Semi-Private
  • Pool Table
  • Satellite TV
  • Hot Tub
  • Pet Friendly!