Jalapeno Hushpuppies

Or better titled Love in the Smokehouse. *wink*

Sometimes you get the chance to walk into a person’s life at a divinely appointed moment, and witness something truly wonderful. That characterizes my  encounter with friends Jody and Steve Dunning, owners of Okie Dokies Smokehouse in Swannanoa, NC.

Homemade Jalapeno Hushpuppies

Destiny isn’t new to Jody and Steve. In an instant of shear kismet, they both  joined a casual gathering of friends one afternoon. As the party dwindled away, Steve announced he had to spend the rest of the day restoring his BBQ truck. Jody, being handy and obliging, offered to help. Now you tell me… what man wouldn’t fall head-over-heals for a spunky, curly-haired, blue-eyed woman who knows how to use a hammer and can help with his truck? Right.

Steve never even had a chance. (And that’s how we girls like it!)

Steve and Jody Dunning

Steve and Jody built a relationship around shared values, family and meat. BBQ is part of their makeup.  From the very beginning Steve drove “The Red Wagon” around our region and sold sandwiches and BBQ plate specials. He parked his truck in different small towns on various days of the week and built a loyal following in more than one county. You could say he’s a predecessor to the ever-popular “food truck movement.”

Okie Dokies Smokehouse - NC

Jody would tell you  BBQ is personal. After traveling the country experiencing regional methods, the Dunnings developed their own style of BBQ. They believe the meat should be able to stand alone, un-sauced, but have cooked up various flavor-packed sauces for their customers to experiment with.

Okie Dokies Smokehouse

When I met the Dunnings, they were a family of four with another little boy on the way. At that point in their journey they had established Grill House Catering, providing BBQ, yet incorporating a fine-dining element as well. They continued to build their business, but felt an urgency for change.

Okie Dokies Smokehouse Champs

They bought a two-story building in Swananoa, just outside of Asheville. A deli leased the upstairs space and Jody and Steve planned to use the downstairs as their catering kitchen. Within weeks after they signed the contract for the building, the renter upstairs revealed they would be closing their business. The Dunnings were at a stand-still. The economy was falling to pieces and there they sat with a two-story building and no renter. What would this mean for their business? Another moment of serendipity had arrived.

Steve and Jody determined to see this as an opportunity. With the help of Steve’s brother and a few friends they rolled up their sleeves and gutted the whole building. In 2007, with restaurants closing all over the region, Okie Dokies Smokehouse bravely opened it’s doors.

Okie Dokies Smokehouse Restaurant

I’ve watched these courageous friends thrive over the last few years. Their wood-fired bbq is unique to our region and draws barbecue connoisseurs from around the country. Steve and Jody have fed numerous celebrities including famous football players, politicians, Charlie Daniels, Franklin Graham, Jared from Subway… and Matt Damon. They have a collection of trophies from numerous BBQ competitions, have been featured in Southern Living Magazine, and were voted in the top 3 BBQ Restaurants in the Mountain Xpress “Best of WNC” Competition.

Jalapeno Hushpuppies

Their attention to detail and ingredients, along with a casual family atmosphere, keeps the locals coming back for more. “The restaurant business isn’t easy” Jody confesses, “But you do your best with what you know.” The Dunnings are living proof that backbone and an attitude of excellence create success.


The Dunnings graciously offered their addictive Jalapeno Hushpuppies and Carolina Red Slaw Recipes to ASP readers. Thanks Jody and Steve!


Yield: 4-6 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Jalapeno Hushpuppies


  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup dried minced onion
  • 3/4 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups diced pickled jalapeños
  • Oil for frying


  1. In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients.
  2. In a smaller bowl, mix all other ingredients. (The vinegar with curdle the milk a little.)
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry mixture all at once. Stir until just blended.
  4. Heat a large pot of oil to 375 degrees F. Drop the hushpuppy mix by the spoonful into the hot oil. Cook for about 4-5 minutes or until golden brown. Check the first few for doughy-ness. Repeat with the rest.
  5. Scoop out of the oil and place on paper towels. Salt if needed.

Okie Dokies Smokehouse on Urbanspoon

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57 Responses to “Jalapeno Hushpuppies”

  1. #
    Fresh and Foodie — March 24, 2011 @ 5:57 am

    Cool post! Who doesn’t love good BBQ? You’re right when you say it’s personal — there are as many styles of BBQ as there are people. I like vinegary sauces over sweet ones, definitely.

    Really love your hushpuppies, especially the addition of jalapenos. And the red slaw looks awesome! Would love to try both of these.


  2. #
    Belinda @zomppa — March 24, 2011 @ 6:12 am

    I might need to make a detour here!


  3. #
    Lynn Bolser — March 24, 2011 @ 6:22 am

    Ate there last night. My favorite is the fried dill pickles


  4. #
    Ken Scrivner — March 24, 2011 @ 8:10 am

    Living in Oklahoma where there’s a BBQ place on every other corner, we are accustomed–spoiled really–to the mouth-watering flavor only perfectly executed BBQ can bring. It has been my pleasure to visit Swannanoa on a number of occasions to enjoy Okie Dokie’s outstanding fare. Now, when I journey to the Asheville area, I make a special trip there to savor their award-winning BBQ. Love the fried dill pickles too.


  5. #
    Sprinkled With Flour — March 24, 2011 @ 8:43 am

    What a great sounding restaurant, now I wish I had one by me. Everyone love’s good barbeque:)


  6. #
    Debby Maugans — March 24, 2011 @ 8:47 am

    Now I can’t wait to go! I completely agree, the meat must stand alone, unsauced. And sliced, not chopped!


  7. #
    Gail — March 24, 2011 @ 9:32 am

    What a great love story – BBQ flavored!


  8. #
    Feast on the Cheap — March 24, 2011 @ 10:08 am

    Ketchup makes everything better – I have to try that slaw.


  9. #
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert — March 24, 2011 @ 10:24 am

    In a time when we hear more than our fair share of stories about failure, it’s great to read an awesome post about hard work and success! I LOVE, love, love BBQ. Next time I’m in the area, we will be stopping by! The slaw is speaking to me, I will have to make that one!


  10. #
    Celia — March 24, 2011 @ 10:27 am

    So adorable! The story as well as the hushpuppies. :-) Man, those look like spicy balls of deliciousness…


  11. #
    Cookin' Canuck — March 24, 2011 @ 12:01 pm

    What a fantastic story of grit and determination. If I am ever in NC, I will definitely go out of my way to stop by their restaurant. Those hushpuppies look absolutely wonderful.


  12. #
    Sommer J — March 24, 2011 @ 12:52 pm

    My NC-born husband would LOVE this. Definitely bookmarking for his return. I am ravenous now….I may not wait!


  13. #
    Amy | She Wears Many Hats — March 24, 2011 @ 1:00 pm

    I didn’t need to see those hushpuppies to day. We can go through some of those around here. Looking forward to trying them with jalapenos.


  14. #
    Jennifurla — March 24, 2011 @ 2:17 pm

    I am a hushpuppy freak, thanks for the recipe


  15. #
    Ollie McKay's ~ A Chic Boutique — March 24, 2011 @ 2:53 pm

    Yummy Yummy Oakie Dokies looks like a great place!! And the Hushpuppies. . . .Mmmmmm Good!! Have a beautiful day!


  16. #
    Marie Renaud — March 24, 2011 @ 3:25 pm

    Made a special trip there a few years ago……..delicious!! Jody’s grandmother was a very good friend of mine and also had some excellent recommendations from Bonnie and Shirley, just had to try it. Enjoyed it so much.


  17. #
    Kocinera — March 24, 2011 @ 3:27 pm

    What a cool place! I’m totally in love with all the different sauce choices. It would be so fun to just try a squirt of each one with a different bite. Plus those recipes sound super duper delicious, too. I definitely want to check this place out if I’m ever in the area.


  18. #
    jason phelps — March 24, 2011 @ 3:44 pm

    I am so all over those hushpuppies! I have loved them any way I could get them since I was a kid.

    The BBQ story is a great one, thanks for sharing it.



  19. #
    Janet Wehmeyer — March 24, 2011 @ 3:54 pm

    I’m one of the privilege few who have known these two young people for a long time. They accepted the challenge of starting their restaurant when our economy looked bleak but they did not look back and forged ahead. Their barb-b-que is wonderful and their menu has items such as fried dill pickles and cheese grits hmm hmm good eating..


  20. #
    NANA — March 24, 2011 @ 4:06 pm

    We have eaten at Okie Dokies several times. We can not pass through Asheville without making a visit for those hushpuppies, slaw and pullled pork.


  21. #
    A Canadian Foodie — March 24, 2011 @ 4:15 pm

    What a beautiful success story – and what a gift to find a shared recipe, too! I did not expect that! A great inspirational read!


  22. #
    Shirley Farish of Vicksburg,Ms — March 24, 2011 @ 4:19 pm

    OMG. I wish I had some of those hushpuppies and the fried pickles now. This place is the “tops” and a must. Love you Jody and Steve. You have done well. God bless. Nurse Shuddy


  23. #
    Anna — March 24, 2011 @ 5:15 pm

    What a lovely story, the food looks delicious. Loved the view of the mountains behind the restaurant.


  24. #
    katie@cozydelicious — March 24, 2011 @ 5:41 pm

    What a story! And those hush puppies look awesome. I have to admit that I’ve never had much desire to make hush puppies, having found them heavy and flavorless in most restaurants. But those look so good! I might just have to try them.


  25. #
    5 Star Foodie — March 24, 2011 @ 7:40 pm

    Those hush puppies sound so good, love the jalapenos addition, yum!


  26. #
    5 Star Foodie — March 24, 2011 @ 7:41 pm

    Those hushpuppies sound so good, love the jalapenos addition, yum!


  27. #
    Liz — March 24, 2011 @ 7:12 pm

    Oh, my gosh…I’m drooling over both recipes! Fabulous~


  28. #
    The Food Hound — March 24, 2011 @ 7:29 pm

    Love write-ups on local places! Hush puppies are so tasty if they’re done right, and I like them about once per year… so they gotta be good :)


  29. #
    Susi — March 24, 2011 @ 9:29 pm

    We take BBQ very serious in our house and it looks like this restaurant is a fantastic testimony to good food and values! The hushpuppies sound amazing and I love the sweet/sour theme with the slaw. Great post :o)


  30. #
    Angie's Recipes — March 24, 2011 @ 11:23 pm

    Hushpuppies look deeeeeeeeeeeeelicious and addictive! I love the slaw too.


  31. #
    Katerina — March 24, 2011 @ 11:52 pm

    It is always great to see people having a dream and a goal and be able to make it reality! beautiful post and congratulations to your friends!


  32. #
    elle marie — March 25, 2011 @ 2:46 am

    That is such an adorable, yet catchy name… when I say I love hushpuppies no one ever knows what I’m talking about.. why is that? Have only a few been introduced to this foodie fav?


  33. #
    pam — March 25, 2011 @ 4:41 am

    I would love to eat there some day! I can’t wait to try the slaw.


  34. #
    Priya Sreeram — March 25, 2011 @ 5:39 am

    nice recipes there sommer, good post !


  35. #
    Dmarie — March 25, 2011 @ 7:01 am

    “built a relationship around shared values, family and meat.” gotta love that! :-D
    How did you know I have just a few sliced jalapeños in a jar in the fridge that need to be used up? will definitely be reducing the size of both recipes and making them this weekend. many thanks, Spicy!!


  36. #
    Evan @swEEts — March 25, 2011 @ 12:30 pm

    When Texans do bbq they don’t do hushpuppies :( but since we now have our own smoker and I grew up eating those delicious little treats I’m going to be keeping this recipe to make the next time we have friends over for smoked meat!


  37. #
    Lisa @ Tarte du Jour — March 25, 2011 @ 1:14 pm

    I love stories of people doing what they love! Especially if it is with food!


  38. #
    Magic of Spice — March 25, 2011 @ 2:44 pm

    Great post and sounds like a fantastic place…I have been thinking about making Hushpuppies again and love this recipe :)
    Hope you have a wonderful weekend


  39. #
    melissa@IWasBornToCook — March 25, 2011 @ 3:36 pm

    Those jalapeno hushpuppies are right up my alley!


  40. #
    Helene — March 25, 2011 @ 3:52 pm

    Those Jalapeno Hushpuppies looks awesome. I’ve never seen them before.


  41. #
    Pachecopatty — March 25, 2011 @ 5:27 pm

    I was so thrilled the first time I tried a hushpuppy and I was not disappointed but these jalapeno hushpuppies as well as the entire restaurant look amazing and maybe worth a trip to your neck of the woods to try?? Great story, love the part about backbone and hard work, kind of fires me up:-)


  42. #
    Eileen — March 25, 2011 @ 6:30 pm

    Nothing like a good wood fired bbq. I love to hear about hardworking people who follow their dreams. Up north we have the Dinosaur BBQ (wood fired) – there is usually a long wait to get a table.


  43. #
    egb — March 25, 2011 @ 8:29 pm

    Got to love classic southern joint! Nice post.


  44. #
    Kate @ Diethood.com — March 27, 2011 @ 10:45 am

    Oh wow, their restaurant looks so inviting, so cozy.
    Hushpuppies are amazing… love the inclusion of jalapenos! Thanks to your friends for sharing this recipe with us!


  45. #
    Chef Dennis — March 27, 2011 @ 11:50 am

    this is definitely going on a list of places to eat when I come down this summer! I love barbecue. I love Smoked meats, this looks like pure heaven to me, I can’t wait to try it.



  46. #
    Ilke — March 27, 2011 @ 12:28 pm

    Lovely! I do not want to make it, I just want to go there and eat! Promise that you will take me there when I come up to Asheville!


  47. #
    Megan — March 27, 2011 @ 3:44 pm

    Great story! We are huge BBQ fans around here (luckily we live in Kansas City!) but I love trying BBQ from everywhere. Those hush puppies look too good, I could eat a whole bucket of them by myself right about now. Yum!


  48. #
    Charlotte — March 28, 2011 @ 10:52 am

    What a great story!

    We’ll be driving through Asheville next weekend…hopefully I can convince the fam to stop at Okie Dokies! I wish we had some extra time to spend in Asheville, but I guess we’ll have to save that for another trip.


  49. #
    bunkycooks — March 28, 2011 @ 12:39 pm

    I will have to stop by and give this a try next time we are in Asheville. It is a great story. I agree that the meat should be tasty on its own. Too many times barbecue needs sauce to taste like anything and it shouldn’t be that way. Looking forward to checking out Okie Dokies!


  50. #
    Robyn | Add a Pinch — March 30, 2011 @ 6:36 pm

    I’m going to have to visit there next time we’re in Asheville, Sommer! It looks amazing.


  51. #
    Mark Mueller — April 2, 2011 @ 8:50 am

    If you want to feel at home and feel that you are truly part of the family, then stop in to Okie Dokies and share in the family friendly atmosphere. The food is great! Tell em, “Mark sent ya!”


  52. #

    Great review! I can’t believe you got the hush puppy and slaw recipes. I’m so going to try both. Then I’m going to head over there and try the real deal too!


  53. #
    carol — April 21, 2011 @ 10:50 am

    nice people, very good food, iced tea to take with you! what more could you want?


  54. #
    Ronda — January 9, 2012 @ 3:59 pm

    I’m totally going to try this the next time I visit Asheville. I love that town and we are always looking for new places to try.


  55. #
    Robin @ Simply Southern Baking — February 27, 2013 @ 5:16 pm

    I just found this post on your site. We LOVE Okie Dokies! We have to stop by when we’re there and always have their BBQ at Shindig on the Green. Their fried pickles are always a must have on my list!



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