Big Apple Inn on Farish Street in downtown Jackson, Mississippi is limited to just a few items, but what the humble restaurant does offer is the reason they’ve been in business for almost 90 years. It helps to know the lingo before stepping through the door – smokes, hots, or ears? Smokes refers to the smoked sausage sandwich cooked on a griddle, then served on a bun with slaw and mustard. The addition of hot sauce makes it a “hot.” However, what Big Apple Inn is most well-known for is its pig’s ear sandwich. It’s exactly that - a pig’s ear sandwiched between a bun.
The unique delicacy has attracted its fair share of attention from quite a few celebrities, including “Bizarre Foods” host Andrew Zimmern, celebrity chef and TV personality Anthony Bourdain and even President Obama.
French Dressing on Pizza (Biloxi) –You may enjoy sprinkling a little extra Parmesan cheese or red pepper flakes on your pizza before taking a bite, but salad dressing? Visit a pizzeria in Biloxi, Mississippi and you will likely find the reddish-orange condiment readily available, but it’s not for salads. Local lore credits a group of high school students who frequented a local pizza joint with starting the trend. Though the original restaurant has since closed, the demand for French dressing with pizza is so strong, other local and even chain pizzerias started offering it. Use is as a dipping sauce on the side or just pour it straight over the top – it’s your call.
Kool-Aid Pickles (Mississippi Delta) -Stop into any Double Quick gas station in the Mississippi Delta and chances are you will spy a jar of fluorescently –hued pickles sitting prominently by the cash register. These pickles didn’t acquire their day-glo color naturally. In fact, some people might argue that Koolickles are one of the most unnatural things to ever happen to a dill pickle. No one knows for sure how this oddity originated, but the process of making them is quite simple. Two packets of Kool-Aid drink mix, a few cups of sugar, and water is all it takes. Let the pickles sit for a few days and let osmosis do the rest. Koolickles come in a variety of colors, it just depends on the flavor of the drink mix. However, fruit punch seems to be the predominant favorite. The taste is described as both sweet and sour. It’s an acquired taste, but it definitely has a cult following.
Braised Oxtails (Jackson) –You can’t visit a place like Mississippi without indulging in some genuine soul food. If you’re looking for one of the best places in Mississippi, look no further than Bully’s Restaurant in Jackson. Bully’s has been serving up soul food since 1982. In 2016, it was named one of America's Classics by the James Beard Foundation. Oxtails are actually cow tails, cooked low and slow until tender. If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, Bully’s also serves neckbones, ham hocks, ribs and fried chicken. We recommend ordering it with a side of greens and cornbread. Save room for one of their homemade cakes.
Comeback Sauce (Statewide) -A combination of Thousand Island dressing and remoulade sauce, comeback sauce was named because it’s so good that you’ll “come back” for more. It originated in the 1920’s or 1930’s at The Rotisserie, Jackson’s first Greek restaurant. It began as the restaurant’s house salad dressing and quickly spread to other restaurants across the state. Very few condiments are as versatile as comeback sauce. It’s more than just a way to dress up a bowl of salad greens – comeback sauce is slathered over po’ boy sandwiches, used as a dip for French fries, or spread over saltines for an afternoon snack. Walk into any locally owned restaurant in Mississippi and chances are they’ll have their own version.
There is always something delicious cooking in Mississippi. Add one or all of these items to your bucket list the next time you plan a visit. Chances are your friends haven’t tried them, giving you exclusive bragging rights.