I’m a Down-home cook and so my fave restaurants tend to have a country flavour. Remember Kenny Roger’s Roasters? And the Colonel’s back in the day?
The first Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Restaurant opened in Tennessee in 1969.
Dan Evins, of Lebanon, Tennessee, always said his mission was pleasing people, which he would explain meant “mutual respect.” So even now, “the mashed potatoes are scratch-made every day, the made from scratch biscuits come served with real butter, and the unique items in the gift shop offer genuine value.”
And Dan continued, “Things are likely to stay this way, too. Call it nostalgia if you want, but the goal isn’t simply to recreate a time gone by – it’s to preserve it. Because the way we see it, the lifestyle of rural America isn’t about where you live. It’s about how you live.”
The owner’s philosophy was plain and simple: “If everyone who walks in our front door gets a warm welcome and a good meal at a fair price. If they enjoy browsing through our old country store. If everyone who works with us or whom we do business with is treated fairly and with respect. If we do all those things, well, then we figure the business will take care of itself.” Still that way. 
You’ll find everything you love about country cooking at Cracker Barrel Restaurant, plus a few items that might surprise you. Their country cooks have added some new things they know you’ll like. And of course, you’ll still find old favorites like Meatloaf, Chicken n’ Dumplins, Roast Beef and plenty of tasty country vegetables on the menu.
Among their most popular items are: Fried Chicken Livers, Hickory Smoked Pork Barbeque, Grilled Pork Chops, Fried or Grilled Chicken Tenderloin, Beans n’ Greens (a cup of Pinto Beans and Turnip Greens served up with onion, relish & Corn Muffins) as well as their famous Half Pound Hamburger Steak, Sugar Cured Ham, Homemade Beef Stew and Farm Raised Catfish Fillet (deep fried or Spicy Grilled).
>>> I love recreating popular restaurant recipes, so here’s their most popular meal of all that you can easily prepare at home – Cracker Barrel Chicken & Dumplings Full Meal Recipe:
–Cracker Barrel Chicken & Dumplings–
> Chicken and Broth:
3 quarts water
1 3-4 pound chicken cut up
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 small onion sliced
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and quartered
1 bay leaf
4-6 whole parsley leaves
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons of salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
1. Bring the water to a boil in a large pot. Add the chicken, 1 teaspoon of salt, onion, celery, garlic, bay leaf, and parsley to the pot. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook the chicken, uncovered, for 2 hours. The liquid will reduce by about one third.
2. When the chicken has cooked, remove it from the pot and set it aside. Strain the stock to remove all the vegetables and floating scum. You only want the stock and the chicken, so toss everything else out.
3. Pour 1 1/2 quarts (6 cups) of the stock back into the pot (keep the leftover stock, if any, for another recipe-it can be frozen). You may also want to use a smaller pot or a large saucepan for this. Add coarsely ground pepper, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and the lemon juice, then reheat the stock over medium heat while preparing the dumplings.
4. For dumplings, combine the flour, baking powder, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, and milk in a medium bowl. Stir well until smooth, then let the dough rest for 5-10 minutes. Roll the dough out onto a floured surface to about a 1/2 inch thickness.
5. Cut the dough into 1/2 inch squares and drop each square into the simmering stock. Use all of the dough. The dumplings will first swell and then slowly shrink as they partially dissolve to thicken the stock into a white gravy. Simmer for 20-30 minutes until thick. Stir often.
6. While the stock is thickening, the chicken will have become cool enough to handle. Tear all the meat from the bones and remove the skin. Cut the chicken meat into bite-size or a little bigger than bite-size pieces and drop them into the pot. Discard the skin and bones. Continue to simmer the chicken and dumplings for another 5-10 minutes, but don’t stir too vigorously or the chicken will shred and fall apart. You want big chunks of chicken in the end.
7. When the gravy has reached the desired consistency, ladle four portions onto plates and serve hot. Serve with your choice of steamed vegetables, if desired.
–Cracker Barrel Country Cornbread Dressing–
2/3 cup chopped onion
2 cups chopped celery
2 quarts of day old, grated cornbread
1 quart of day old, grated biscuits
1/4 cup dried parsley flakes
2 tsp poultry seasoning
2 tsp ground sage
1 tsp coarse ground pepper
4 ounces margarine
1 quart (32 ounces) plus 1 (14 ounce) can chicken broth
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Mix onion, celery, grated cornbread, and biscuits, parsley, poultry seasoning, sage, and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Add melted margarine to mixture. Stir until well blended.
Add chicken broth to dry ingredients and mix well. The dressing should have a wet but not soupy consistency like a quick bread batter (banana bread or cornbread).
Divide mixture evenly into two (8 x 8 inch) pans sprayed with non-stick spray.
Bake uncovered for 1 hour until lightly brown on the top.
–Cracker Barrel Buttermilk Biscuits–
2 c Bisquick
2/3 c Real buttermilk
1. Work together Bisquick and buttermilk to smooth dough. Dip hand in just enough Bisquick to kneed dough in bowl until smooth and elastic.
2. Shape dough into 16 thin patties, placing 1 atop another forming 8 biscuits in greased 9? round baking pan. Bake at 450 16 to 18 minutes or until golden. Wipe tops at once in butter. They split easily because of the way you formed them with the 2 pieces.
3. To make BONANZA Copycats, add 4 ts sugar. Shape into 6 patties, 1? thick, 3? round. Place close together in greased round baking pan. Wipe tops in soft butter. Bake 450 18 minutes or until brown.
4. Cool 10 minutes before serving. Split with thumbs instead of cutting with knife. These do not keep well. Right out of oven wipe tops again with dabs more butter to keep surface soft and tender.
–Cracker Barrel Double Chocolate Fudge Coca-Cola Cake–
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa
1 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup Coca-Cola
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 13 x 9-inch baking pan.
Combine dry ingredients in a bowl.
Heat butter, cocoa and Coca-Cola to boil and pour over the flour mixture. Mix well. Add eggs, buttermilk, vanilla extract and marshmallows and blend. The batter will be thin with marshmallows floating on top. Bake for 45 minutes.
1/2 cup butter or margarine
3 tablespoons cocoa
6 tablespoons Coca-Cola
1 box confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Boil first three ingredients. Remove from the heat and blend in the sugar and vanilla extract. Spread on warm cake.
It’s served warm with premium vanilla bean ice cream. Enjoy a real Cracker Barrel tradition!
Dig In and Enjoy!
 Not that Cracker Barrel doesn’t lead the way into a greener future (or maybe they still remember when country skies were clean and blue – and the brooks were filled with fish). Supporting the drive into a cleaner country with EVs (electric vehicles), they started by providing a high-powered charging station in their home base in Tennessee and have added more charging stations at their restaurants in the Fort Worth and Dallas area of Texas, as well as Arlington, Burleson, DeSoto and Mesquite, with more to come.
Cracker Barrel Restaurant Recipes for Home Cooking