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On the Road
Cook's Country Recipes from the Road You Can Make at Home
Here are the standout recipes that we didn't think twice about recreating in the test kitchen.
Cook's Country

COOK’S COUNTRY KNOWS AMERICA. We’ve driven across the U.S. for the past four years—stopping at diners and local eateries in numerous locations, looking for the best dishes to try. Not all of the food has been brilliant, but every now and then we’ll come across a recipe that is so special, it tells a story of that particular place.

Here are the standout recipes that we didn't think twice about recreating in the test kitchen.

Northeast-Inspired Recipes

From Pennsylvania Potato-Cheddar Pierogi

These tender but chewy dumplings, stuffed with potatoes and cheese, will win you over and have any Pittsburgh native claiming this recipe tastes like home.

From Pennsylvania Potato-Sauerkraut Pierogi

Uncooked pierogi can be frozen for several weeks. After sealing the pierogis in step 4, freeze them on a baking sheet for three hours. Next, transfer the frozen pierogi to a zipper-lock freezer bag.

From Pennsylvania Transylvanian Goulash

This flavorful stew is made of browned meat, aromatic vegetables, and a heavy dose of paprika. Instead of using beef like most Hungarian goulash calls for, we opted for rich, marbled pork shoulder as we had it at Jozsa Corner in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

From Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Dutch Apple Pie

Precooking the apples turned the filling mushy. Simply slicing the apples and piling them made unevenly cooked pie. The answer? Tossing the sliced apples with some sugar and a bit of lemon juice and letting them sit for an hour to soften.

From Rhode Island Fluffy Polenta with Red Sauce

How do we get the polenta so light and fluffy? ¼ cup of half and half and the right amount of water keeps the texture light and rich.

From Massachusetts New England Pork Pies

Ground Ritz Crackers added to the pork filling give it richness and help keep it tender. For the finishing touch, we pour gravy into the pies right through the vent holes in their crusts.

From New York City Cheese Blintzes

Our raspberry sauce couldn’t be easier: frozen fruit, sugar, and salt simmered for 10 minutes. This bright, quick-cooking sauce will balance the rich, lightly sweetened blintz filling.

From New Hampshire Puritan Backroom–Style Chicken Tenders

To get a thicker marinade like the one we had at Puritan Backroom restaurant in Manchester, New Hampshire we grabbed some duck sauce to marinade chicken. In return, we got deep golden brown tenders.

From Massachusetts Shrimp Mozambique

It's a sophisticated but simple dish, suitable as an appetizer or light main course, and it comes together quickly.

Midwest-Inspired Recipes

From Michigan Detroit-Style Pizza

This kind of pizza takes cheese first and sauce later—that’s the highlight of this Michigan favorite.

From Illinois Chicago Thin-Crust Pizza

When most people hear “Chicago-style pizza,” they think doughy deep-dish. But deep-dish pizza is not the only pie in town.

Southern-Inspired Recipes

From Alabama Grilled Bourbon Steaks

Rib-eye steaks can be great with just salt, but a simple soak in bourbon, Worcestershire sauce, and seasonings amplifies the steak’s sweet-savory flavors and adds extra char besides.

From South Carolina South Carolina Smoked Fresh Ham

The vibrant mustard sauce, a hallmark of South Carolina barbecue, adds just the right contrast that’s needed in this sandwich.

From South Texas Texas Breakfast Tacos with Potato

The fillings for our South Texas inspired breakfast tacos are ultrasimple. We created versions for some of the more popular fillings: Texas Breakfast Tacos with Potato, Texas Breakfast Tacos with Bacon, and Texas Breakfast Tacos with Chorizo.

From North Carolina North Carolina Dipped Chicken

Restaurants dunk the impossibly crispy chicken into a vat of a tangy-hot sauce before serving; we simply spoon our sauce over the top . . . and it’s just as good.

From Texas Grilled Steak Fajitas

We use pineapple juice in our marinade to give the steak a slightly fruity note, along with soy sauce to amplify its meatiness.

From North Carolina North Carolina Cheese Biscuits

A light-colored cake pan helps us achieve the perfect golden color—not too light and not too dark.

From Louisiana Shrimp Po’ Boys

We pack flavor into every element of this sandwich, from the Creole-seasoned breading to the pungent rémoulade dressing.

From Texas Texas Potato Pancakes

These crunchy cakes are traditionally served with tangy sour cream or sweet applesauce, but they're just as good on their own.

From Texas Texas-Style Smoked Brisket

Settle in and get comfortable. Like drinking 18-year-old single-malt Scotch, smoking a whole brisket is a task best taken slow.

From Texas Texas Thick-Cut Smoked Pork Chops

Big chops demand big flavor; we get it from brining, seasoning, smoking, and saucing these massive chops.

From Tennessee Tennessee Pulled Turkey Sandwiches

We salt the turkey a day ahead to ensure juicy, thoroughly seasoned meat. Our Alabama-style white sauce adds even more flavor to these sandwiches.

From Alabama Fried Peach Pies

Fresh or frozen peaches both work to create this sweet (but not too sweet), peachy pie filling.

From North Carolina Eastern North Carolina Fish Stew

No one knows for sure when cooks began cracking whole eggs directly into the pot, but locals speculate that they were originally added so that a small day’s catch could still feed a large crowd.

Western-Inspired Recipes

From California Garlic Fried Chicken

Don't sweat the saucy stuff! The garlicky herb butter is what takes the chicken over the top. 

From California Basque Green Beans

Bacon, onion, bell peppers, tomatoes, and garlic turn these beans into a memorable side dish. 

From California Citrus-Braised Pork Tacos

Our slightly sweet, superspicy habanero sauce gets its vibrant orange color from an unexpected ingredient: carrot. 

From California Monterey Bay Cioppino

This cioppino is richer, darker, and more complex than more-common renditions. 

What dish from your hometown do you think we should taste on our next trip? Let us know in the comments! Also, you can find our Cook's Country team members' ultimate road trips and more articles from our time on the road here.