Slideshow: Big Jones’ 1840s Kentucky Tavern Bourbon Dinner
Paul Fehribach and his snowballs.

We’re always intrigued by what Big Jones Chef Paul Fehribach is doing in researching and reviving 19th century Southern recipes, and the best example yet was last night’s Kentucky Bourbon dinner, which sought to recreate the type of fare one might have eaten in a Kentucky tavern c. 1840. The first thing that strikes you is that it doesn’t taste like restaurant food— some of it is simple and homey soul food (barbecued shoat, aka baby pig, hominy, beans) and some of it was surprisingly intense, funky nose-to-tail eating (calves’ feet jelly, a pearl onion and mutton soup) that could have just as easily come from a classical French kitchen. Accompanied by premium bourbons from Jim Beam, the dinner was a one-off, but we hear that the rest of the calves’ feet jelly (which was surprisingly good given the name) will be on the menu at brunch this weekend. We popped into the kitchen before dinner started to get a look at a few of the dishes; our slideshow is below.

Calves’ feet jelly. Chef Paul Fehribach boiled the feet with orange peel and white wine and lots of sugar; the result was part dessert, part consomme spread onto rice flour muffins.
Showing off the “shoat,” or roasted suckling pig.
The pebble-grain look of the mince meat pie is a telltale sign of an all-lard crust.
Snowballs, though unlike the Hostess kind, these have a cake underneath and a rosewater flavor.
Snowballs ready for their closeup.
A Jim Beam representative brought four of their premium Bourbons— Basil Hayden, Knob Creek, Baker’s and Booker’s.
Co-owner Mark Armantraut welcomes a full house.
Slideshow: Big Jones’ 1840s Kentucky Tavern Bourbon Dinner