6 Must-Taste Foods

in Daniel Boone Country

An overhead shot of a tablescape of traditional foods of the Daniel Boone Country region of Kentucky

People come to the mountainous Daniel Boone Country region of Kentucky for many reasons. But when they leave, it’s often the food that ranks right up there with the scenic beauty in their memories. The mountains of this region are alive with the aromas – and fascinating backstories – of great local eats and drinks, such as chow-chow, soup beans, apple stack cake and moonshine.

1. Chow-Chow & Pickled Beets

Chow Chow, a specialty of Kentucky's Daniel Boone Country region.

Served cold, the relish-like Chow-Chow is a good way to start a meal in this region. The popular dish blends cabbage, onions, green tomatoes, red and green bell peppers, mustard, celery seed and vinegar in combinations as varied as the personalities of those who make it. Purple pickled beets saddle up nicely to the Chow-Chow. 

2. Soup Beans

Main dish or side? White beans or brown? Daniel Boone Country offers up all varieties of soup beans. When food was scarce, budget-friendly dried beans were rehydrated and then cooked all day – sometimes using broth, country ham or a leftover ham bone for flavor – transforming them into a hearty staple at the supper table. 

Try this Recipe: Whitesburg Soup Beans

3. Savory Sides: Cornbread, Fried Potatoes & Green Onion

To enjoy a truly authentic regional meal with soup beans, you also need to have cornbread, fried potatoes and green onion. Enjoy them on the side, or toss them right into the beans – we won’t judge! 

4. Apple Stack Cake

Apple Stack Cake, one of Kentucky's most traditional desserts.

Rarely is a dessert referred to as historic, but the apple stack cake in Daniel Boone Country gets the honor. In 19th-century Appalachia, the apple stack cake was a community wedding cake, with several families each contributing a layer; they were then stacked and held together with a crushed apple spread. Legend says the more layers on the cake, the more popular the bride.

Try this Recipe: Apple Stack Cake

5. Moonshine

There is nothing more identifiable with the mountains of Kentucky than moonshine, once known as “white lightning.” Much has been made of “shine runners” who once illegally transported moonshine in fast cars; some even say these drivers were part of the early days of NASCAR. Now legal, this legendary distilled spirit comes in a variety of infused flavors. Just a sip will warm you up – or wake you up, depending on the proof! 

6. Milk

Don’t get the impression that everyone in the region drinks moonshine, because they don’t. In fact, milk is almost as popular as moonshine at a meal in Daniel Boone Country. Whether you sip it from a glass or pour it over skillet cornbread for a snack, milk is a wholesome staple in the mountains of Kentucky.

Savor More Regional Cuisine of Kentucky