“Puhleeze” butter my biscuits in Knoxville at the International Biscuit Festival!

This post was published on June 1, 2013, but we’re sharing it with you again just to whet your appetite!  The International Biscuit Festival returns to Knoxville, TN this weekend with big events — booths, vendors, music, and, of course, tasty biscuits — on Saturday, May 17, 2014.  Join us! Click here for more information.

 Erin Donovan, Biscuit Festival Queen

Erin Donovan, Biscuit Festival Queen

Not ones to let a little rain dampen the day at Knoxville’s International Biscuit Festival (May 18, 2013), we grabbed our umbrellas and headed to Biscuit Boulevard alongside a handful of hungry folks milling around waiting for the 9:00 serving of the best biscuits in town! (After all, even if we did get wet, we’d be attending the top-ranked of the Top 10 Food Festivals in America named by Livability.com!)

We passed the Cruze Farm Milk Truck on our way to get coffee and then checked out the booths as they prepared for the onslaught of 20,000 festival goers — ready to dig in to the doughy delights.


The crew from Plaid Apron stopped a minute for a picture but quickly got to work setting up their chalkboard with what had to be the longest name in the best biscuit competition: Candied Benton’s Bacon, Clabbered Cream, Honey & Balsamic Reduction Buttermilk Biscuit!


Sapphire‘s was ready early on, so this blueberry specialty was one of my first of five samples I could get with a $10.00 ticket.  Delicious!


By this time, the crowd packed the boulevard and long lines were ahead of us.


We waited about 15 minutes for a Green-Eyed Monster Pimento Cheese Buttermilk Biscuit from Tupelo Honey Cafe. Later, we learned this fab concoction tied for runner-up in the Best Biscuit category, but it garnered (deservedly so) the award for Best Biscuit Name.  It wasn’t the name, however, that won us over:  These biscuits were hearty yet light, creamy rich, and HUGE! (I knew I had to pace myself with more walking, waiting, and coffee sipping!)


The Pillsbury Dough-Boy stood ready with his newly acquired friend Rather from Crested Butte, Colorado.  Husband Bert grabbed a Grilled Biscuit Sloppy Joe from their tent!


Flourhead Bakery and Tomato Head offered another cheesy delight: Sweetwater Valley Smoked Cheddar and Onion Biscuit that tied for runner-up with Tupelo Honey. All that yellow goodness on top really is that fabulous smoked cheddar you get from Sweetwater Valley Farm in Philadelphia, Tennessee. (Visitors welcomed!)


After spying another long line, we knew something good was waiting where the man in a red shirt from Applewood Farmhouse greeted everyone with a smile.  Sure ‘nough.  Winning the People’s Choice Award with the most guest votes was their Andouille Shrimp and Grits Biscuit — hot, spicy, and not on anyone’s diet, for sure.  No wonder they took home the Biscuit Sunsphere Trophy!


But not to be outdone, RT Lodge now has bragging rights from the critics with their Deep Fried Biscuit with Braised Short Rib and Pickled Onion.  Mmmm. A mixture of savory, spicy, and vinegary all in one. Deserved that Critic’s Choice Award!


We saved our last biscuit on the ticket for a sweet treat — the Strawberry Shortcake Biscuit from the Southern Living booth served to us by Whitney from Birmingham, Alabama.  (Bet the whole staff wishes they’d had this assignment.)


If biscuits alone weren’t enough, there was even our favorite East Tennessee syrupy goodness from the Guenther family in a booth down the street: Muddy Pond Sorghum!


At the Biscuit Festival, even little kids get into biscuit eatin’ — like this happy fella who likes packin’ it in while strolling . . .


and these rather cooperative brothers in the children’s tent patting and rolling and cutting biscuits just like the chefs do!


Since we were stuffed from more carbs than we usually eat in a month, we were glad to take a break and enjoy the lively lyrics and thumping, hand-raising sounds of Jimmy Brown Johnson and the Band of Awesome on the Flatbed Music Stage.  No one stood still — or even wanted to!

Click here to watch this YouTube video of “Biscuits in the Front, Party in the Back” as seen and heard on WBIR’s “Live at Five at Four.”


We stopped to talk to our friends Kathy and Dan Hamilton who were on their way to the Blackberry Farm Biscuit Brunch in Krutch Park Tent.  From all accounts, this is the culinary route to a great Saturday, so we may have to try it next year.


Harry and David set up a booth for the first time this year . . .


and B97.5 motioned us over for more freebies on a plate.


We almost did a double-take when we saw the Benton’s Smoky Mountain Country Hams booth with the owner himself, Allan Benton, serving his nationally-famous smoked country ham and bacon.


I said to him, It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Benton.  And you’re still smiling after being on your feet all morning?

He politely replied in his Southern gentleman way: Any time I’m holding Benton’s bacon, there’s gonna be a smile on my face!  (Sure enough.  He was still smiling when we passed by a little later in the morning, too.)

We mozied back around to Market Square to take in some of the crafts and farm-fresh foods brought in for the day.  We found Biscuit Festival mugs . . .


and Blackberry Farm products you can purchase online or from their catalog.  (No surprise: They have blackberry jam!) Click here for more information.


And wouldn’t you know, we’d find something never seen by us before. Thrifty Girl brought something every biscuit lover needs to wear: biscuit head bands — I kid you not!  One of kind, wouldn’t you say?


In fact, it’s just the sort of thing Erin Donovan, broadcaster for WBIR, might like to add to her growing wardrobe of must-have wearables with a biscuit theme!  She’s the Biscuit Queen for a reason!


If you haven’t been to the International Biscuit Festival, make plans for next year: May 14-16, 2014.  It’s a feast.  It’s a fun day.  And as organizer John Craig says, Who doesn’t love a biscuit?


International Biscuit Festival


Click here for another blog on the International Biscuit Festival from Stuck Inside of Knoxville with that Urban Blues Again.

15 thoughts on ““Puhleeze” butter my biscuits in Knoxville at the International Biscuit Festival!

    1. Rusha Sams

      Just come on to Knoxville and eat some great biscuits! We love this festival, and one ticket gives you your choice of three biscuits — more than we can possibly down at one time. We leave full and happy!

  1. Pingback: Oh, the Places We’ve Seen: 2013 | Oh, the Places We See . . .

    1. Rusha Sams

      So good to hear from you. I love the Namaste at the end of your comment. We heard that all the time in Nepal! Best wishes for continued success!

  2. cmmoxley

    My mother, bless her heart, was a housewife of the 50s and 60s. She thought homemade biscuits meant that she slammed the container against the edge of the counter so she could release the refrigerated biscuit dough inside the cylinder. But, as you all said, they were my mother’s biscuits and I thought they were great! Only later did I find out that “real” homemade biscuits are a little different. And I am loving experimenting to determine the best.

    1. Rusha Sams

      I don’t know how all these vendors at the Biscuit Festival can bring hot, fluffy, delicious biscuits to a tent downtown, but they do. The least I can do is show my appreciation for their efforts by diving in!!! Thanks for commenting, Cynthia!

  3. gallivance.net

    Now you bake right (uh-huh) with Martha White (yes, ma’am)
    Goodness gracious, good and light, Martha White …

    I grew up in KY, and of course, no one the planet can make biscuits like my Mama’s. But as a southerner, I can say that I’ve had wonderful biscuits, and fair biscuits … but never a bad biscuit. Bring on the butter (and a little gravy wouldn’t hurt either.) ~James

    1. Rusha Sams

      You’re my kinda guy! I had no idea that this biscuit festival would take off the way it has — so popular now. But I guess it’s the same sentiment you just shared: never a bad biscuit!

  4. Mary Gilmartin

    Well, this certainly was a festival of biscuits. But, when it comes to eating the best biscuit, I’m sure everyone will agree that their mother’s were always the best, especially when she spent her life perfecting them. I’ve still never learned how she made them. Great posting and I hope you are still smiling, just like Mr. Benton, who evidently never stops smiling especially when you buy his country ham and bacon. PS: Now, you’d made me hungry. Guess what I’m having for breakfast Sunday morning? “

    1. Rusha Sams

      I have to agree that my mom’s biscuits were great, and so was her cornbread. She didn’t, however, have access to Benton’s bacon!!! Thanks for reading and commenting, Mary.

It makes our day to hear from you.