By Leslie Kelly

Recipes essential to any Southern breakfast.

Southern breakfast and brunch classics like fluffy buttermilk biscuits drenched in red-eye gravy, New Orleans-style French toast and cheesy grits casserole make for memorable weekend meals. This is one themed breakfast you're definitely going to want to add to your culinary calendar because soulful, satisfying Southern food is suddenly trendy. Just be sure to plan for a little after-party nap because this is some rich, filling fare that might make you drowsy, especially if you serve a boozy punch with the meal. Let's get crackin' on menu planning!

1. Greg's Southern Biscuits

Don't freak when you see lard listed among the ingredients of this family recipe. It gives these buttermilk biscuits an extra boost in the fluffy department.

Pro tip: Handle the dough gently when mixing and shaping for the tender texture that makes this classic so crave-worthy.

Photo by naples34012

2. Country Sausage Gravy

Biscuits are made to soak up the meaty goodness of this creamy creation. If you've never made gravy before, this one is a great place to start because the flour and the natural juices from the browned sausage make an excellent roux, the foundation for thickening. Chef John makes this version ultra-porky by including bacon, too. More Southern gravy faves include Old Time Kentucky Bacon Milk Gravy, Chocolate Gravy, Red Eye Gravy with Ham and Tomato Gravy.

3. Johnny Cake

Think of these as the flip side of the typical flapjack, a pancake built on a cornmeal foundation. Finish your Johnny Cakes by making them the stage for homemade preserves or maple syrup. They're also excellent when wearing savory toppings like Mama's Tomato Gravy.

Photo by Meredith

4. Pain Perdu

The original French toast, this New Orleans-inspired preparation takes a boozy detour by spiking the traditional beaten eggs and milk mixture with orange liqueur. Arrange the golden slices on a platter and top with a dusting of powdered sugar, tapping it gently through a sieve. Seasonal fruit is a nice touch, too.

Photo by Dianne

5. Southern Grits Casserole

This recipe gets its deep, rich flavor from the winning combination of sausage, eggs, cheese and, of course, grits. The creator of the dish suggests keeping it warm in a slow cooker because "there's nothing worse than cold grits."

Photo by mis7up

6. Beignets

World famous doughnuts from New Orleans are best eaten warm, so this one's well-suited to greet guests or serve as a dessert. Beignet fans know the best way to cover the fried dough is to place them in a brown paper bag with powdered sugar and shake. Cafe au lait -- coffee with hot milk -- makes the perfect accompaniment.

Photo by Meredith Publishing

More inspiration:

Become a beignet-making pro after watching this short video:

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