Recipe: Cathead biscuits from Biscuit Head inspire sweet memories.

Recipe: Cathead biscuits from Biscuit Head inspire sweet memories.


“Break a warm biscuit open, and you’ll notice along with steam comes early biscuit memories.” — Carolyn and Jason Roy, founders of Biscuit Head

This morning, I ate two and a half biscuits in three minutes flat. I’m not proud of this record, though my gluttony does attest to the power of this damn good biscuit recipe. It also says something about grief.

You see, earlier this week, doctors told my daddy he is dying. The medicine prescribed for his progressive lung condition, a disease brought on by 20 years of back-to-back shifts in a Western North Carolina paper plant, isn’t working. All we can do now is sit around hoping he’ll be eligible for a lung transplant from a suitable recently-deceased donor, which honestly is a weird thing to hope for.

Even weirder are the cravings brought on by this heartache. I’m not much of a morning person, but watching my father fade into a specter of the man who raised me has left me hungry for breakfasts he once cooked.

Every Saturday, my daddy would fry a mess of bacon, scramble a carton of eggs, and bake a few dozen biscuits. Never once did I see him reference a biscuit recipe. Instead, he haphazardly threw flour and gobs of Crisco into a bowl and then dribbled in buttermilk until he felt he’d found the right consistency. The results varied. Some mornings, my brother and I choked down crumbly briquettes. Other mornings, we were served something akin to a wet kitchen towel.

Hoping to honor my daddy’s legacy with a better biscuit, I called on the glutinous prowess of Carolyn and Jason Roy. Ten years ago, this North Carolina couple opened a breakfast and lunch joint in Asheville called Biscuit Head. Their gargantuan, cathead-style biscuits combined with a bevy of gravies, jams, and hot sauces sent shockwaves through the mountain food scene. People couldn’t get enough of them. The Roys soon expanded to two other Asheville locations and one in Greenville, South Carolina.

Then, in 2016, they published a cookbook: “Biscuit Head: New Southern Biscuits, Breakfasts, and Brunch.” You can think of it as something of a biscuit bible. On its pages, you’ll find recipes for everything from the Classic Cathead Biscuit (what I chose to whip up) to biscuits infused with beer and studded with roasted corn and jalapeños. There are also recipes for biscuit toppings, fillings, and reincarnations (think biscuit French toast). For good measure, the Roys preface it all with a few dewy-eyed sentences about the floury treats.

"The Barrage of options at Biscuit Head in Asheville can jangle the brain."


"Delectible morsals...worth writing home about."

Southern Living

(Every purchase helps keep our Appalachian magazine alive and thriving.)

“…we think biscuits are just about the perfect food,” the couple muses. “Break a warm biscuit open, and you’ll notice along with steam comes early biscuit memories.”

As I sifted together all-purpose and cake flour and then cut cold cubes of butter into the mixture using my forefinger and thumb — tricks that make the final product soft and pillowy — I was overcome by these so-called “biscuit memories.” My daddy belting to Van Halen as he scooped small mountains of dough onto a baking sheet. The warm smell of the oven heating up. The floury mess he’d leave behind.

All of that is in the past now. Reliant on oxygen and a hearty cocktail of prescriptions, my daddy is essentially bedridden. He may get a wild hair some days and fix himself a slice of toast, but he’s rarely in the kitchen and, unless blessed with a miracle, will probably never cook his biscuits again.

This fact hit hard as I sat on my back porch, gobbling down piping hot cathead biscuits at an alarming rate. Light and fluffy with a crunchy exterior, they were undeniably better than the biscuits from my childhood. But as delicious as they were, I would have given anything to be eating my Daddy’s misshapen pucks one more time. 



From “Biscuit Head: New Southern Biscuits, Breakfasts, and Brunch”


2 ½ cups all-purpose flour (White Lily brand preferred)

2 ½ cups cake flour (King Arthur brand preferred)

¾ tsp kosher salt

1 tbsp baking powder

8 tbsp (1 stick) butter, chilled and cubed

2 cups whole buttermilk

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees, making sure you have one of the racks in the middle of the oven. Grease a baking sheet or cast-iron skillet.

In a large mixing bowl, combine both kinds of flour, the kosher salt, and the baking powder. Sift the dry ingredients.

Cut the butter into the flour mixture. To do this, take the butter between your forefinger and thumb and make a snapping motion.

Add the buttermilk and stir gently, being careful not to overmix. Then, using a large ice cream scooper, scoop the dough onto your pan or skillet. Be sure to place the dough scoops right next to each other. The comfier, the better.

Bake the biscuits for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they are golden brown and fluffy. Serve unadorned or slathered in gravy, jam, or whipped butter. 



Lauren Stepp is a lifestyle journalist from the mountains of North Carolina. She writes about everything from fifth-generation apple farmers to mixed-media artists, publishing her work in magazines across the Southeast. In her spare time, Lauren mountain bikes, reads gritty southern fiction, and drops her g's.