Cherokee Civil War Boiled Peanuts
by Randall Lewis Butler
(Carrollton, Georgia United States)
First off, remember this recipe is from my great-great-granddaddy who fought in the Civil War in the Cherokee division of the Confederate Army. He was full-blooded Eastern band Cherokee Indian. His name was Thomas Hobson Hawkins senior and went by the name of Hob. This is his recipe the exact way he told me when I was 5. I still use his recipe today.
Start off with a 55-gallon steel drum thoroughly cleaned and washed. First, put approximately two to four bags of raw peanuts in large bags, fill up two to three-quarters of the pot or more with water till the peanuts begin to float.
His recipe calls for a 5-pound block of salt which will then have to be ground down. The modern conversion will be approximately 2 to 5 boxes of rock salt depending on your taste.
To the mixture, now place approximately 8 to 10 meaty ham hocks in the pot. This adds a meaty flavor to the boiled peanuts. I'm not sure exactly what else it does, but it helps to work to tenderize them and give them a good flavor.
Now to mix. Use an old-fashioned clean wooden paddle boat paddle to thoroughly stir until the mixture is mixed. This will all need to be placed beforehand on an outside pit fire. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil, periodically checking water approximately every 2 to 3 hours. It will need to boil for approximately 36 to 48 hours. Start checking the flavor of the brine and peanuts after approximately 24 hours. Once it's gotten to the desired flavor and tenderness, extinguish the fire and allow the pot to soak for 6 to 12 hours.
This should yield enough peanuts to feed a battalion, which from my understanding he worked as a cook for in the war, maybe too large of a recipe, LOL but that's exactly word for word how he explained it to me. They were poor back then and didn't always have enough meat to feed all the soldiers so also you see they didn't have a lot of food money or supplies so they had to come up with food the best ways they could to survive.
This recipe is excellent and has an excellent flavor. Sometimes when my great-great-granddaddy could not find ham hocks he would substitute, as he said, a deer neck roast. Both ways I have tried are excellent and taste wonderful. He died when I was approximately 9 years old.
I still love and miss the man. He taught me a lot.