1. Preheat oven to 450°. Place bacon drippings in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet, and heat in oven 8 to 10 minutes or until drippings begin to gently smoke.
2. Meanwhile, stir together cornmeal and next 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Stir together buttermilk and egg in a medium bowl.
3. During last minute skillet is heating in oven, stir buttermilk mixture into cornmeal mixture until just combined. Pour hot drippings into cornmeal mixture, and quickly stir to incorporate. Pour mixture into hot skillet, and immediately place in oven.
4. Bake at 450° for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown and cornbread pulls away from sides of skillet. Remove from skillet, and serve immediately.
Place bacon drippings in skillet, and heat over medium-high heat 2 to 3 minutes or until drippings begin to gently smoke. Add 1 cup fresh corn kernels and 1/4 cup finely chopped sweet onion to drippings, and sauté 3 to 4 minutes or until lightly charred. Stir together cornmeal and next 7 ingredients in a large bowl. Stir in corn mixture. Pour about 2 Tbsp. batter for each griddle cake onto a hot buttered griddle or into a large nonstick skillet. Cook 2 to 3 minutes or until tops are covered with bubbles and edges look dry and cooked. Turn and cook 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet, and keep warm in a 200° oven up to 30 minutes.
Makes 2 dozen
Hands-on 30 min., Total 35 min.