Some of our favorite country music stars are also our favorite dads, and like all awesome dads, they have great dad stories. From what they cook for their kids when they’re home or on the road to their favorite foods with family memories, here are some awesome country music dads and their favorite foods.
Luke Bryan’s favorite Southern food is based on a memory of his dad cooking. They had a vegetable garden when he was growing up. He tells Southern Living that his dad would grow turnips in the winter and then cook those fresh turnips in a big pot on the stove along with some flat lace cornbread.
“Whenever turnips were on the stove, my friends and I would scoop them into big cups and eat them while we drove around in our trucks. Now, that’s about as country as it gets.”
Singer/songwriter Devin Burris has three kids, and even though they’re still young, he wants them to learn to love being in the kitchen. He says one of their favorite things to make together is homemade pizza (his daughter loves to invent toppings, which has to be the cutest thing).
One way to teach them good cooking skills is by getting them involved in meal prep. Burris told Battered and Brewed that the family grills every Sunday and they frequently make kabobs. He said, “Whether it’s washing veggies or sticking the food on the skewers, there’s ALWAYS a way to involve the kids!”
“I remember when no one was lookin’/I was putting peanuts in my Coke” sang Barbara Mandrell in her 1981 hit song “I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool.”
Jake Owen’s father introduced him to the Southern delicacy of peanuts in Coca-cola when he was 13. In a 2012 interview, Owen talked about riding to Perry, Georgia, with his dad. His dad stopped and got bags of peanuts and a couple of bottles of Coke, then told him “Son, there’s something about the mix of the Coca-Cola and the salt that makes it really nice.”
The mix works best with glass bottles (the long neck is what makes it possible to keep the peanuts in place). It’s also best consumed while sitting around an old gas station or country store, talking with the weathered men who have been there, drinking peanuts in Coke, for decades.
With three kids, including baby Memphis who was born in Dec 2018, Aldean has had a lot of practice of feeding kids. But when it comes to his favorite snack food, it sounds like popcorn is definitely on the menu, usually while watching TV with his wife.
Aldean just opened a new restaurant in Nashville, Jason Aldean’s Kitchen + Rooftop Bar. Along with lots of live music and a fun time, the menu includes Southern classics, some of Aldean’s favorite foods like chicken with mashed potatoes and mac and cheese, and his mom’s peach cobbler.
Only a country music star with the outlaw status of Willie Nelson could publicly state that his favorite chili recipe is vegan and get away with it. Nelson does eat meat, but he and his wife were looking for more health-conscious recipes so he asked James Beard award winning chef Michel Nischan for some ideas. Nischan made them two versions of a chili, one with meat and one without.
The vegan chili especially was a huge hit. According to Food & Wine, Nelson said, “Oh my God, this is the best f***ing chili we’ve ever tasted.” It’s so good that when Nelson and Nischan hosted a potluck at the singer’s ranch in Texas to benefit Nischan’s organization Wholesome Wave, which advocates for “affordable, healthy, local food for all,” the vegan chili was a featured dish. You can find the recipe for the chili here.
Darius Rucker loves his hometown of Charleston, South Carolina and he’s more than happy to talk about the great places to eat in and around the city. He likes to take his kids to Page’s Okra Grill where he gets the corned beef hash every time. Rucker told Garden & Gun that the cooking at the restaurant is the kind of food he grew up on and reminds him of his grandmother.
For dinner, he and his wife Beth head to what he calls the best restaurant in Charleston: FIG. There, Rucker sticks to another beloved dish. He says, “My absolute favorite meal in Charleston is an appetizer there: the gnocchi bolognese.”
Tim McGraw has frequently talked about one of his favorite foods to cook, chicken and dumplings. It’s the recipe he credits for winning over his wife, Faith Hill. But chicken and dumplings isn’t all McGraw likes to cook. He’s pretty handy with barbecue, too, a skill that was unexpectedly highlighted during his oldest daughter’s first date.
McGraw and Hill told the story of their daughter Grace’s very first date on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. McGraw wanted her date to stop by the house so he could “look him in the eye.” Apparently, he forgot about the meeting and when the young man showed up, he found McGraw fixing food for a big barbecue, holding a knife and wearing a white apron covered in blood.
The country singer with three kids believes that it’s not so much about what you eat, but who you eat with. He told People that while his favorite food is Mexican, he’ll eat whatever is available. “Food and beverages are all about community — about sharing it with friends and family. I can get by on just about anything as long as I have good company to break bread with.”
He likes to bring his kids with him on tour as much as possible; he also finds ways for all of them to give back to the community together, including working at the food bank Second Harvest to put together food in lunch boxes and backpacks for kids in need. Bentley has also developed a pro “dad” skill: making PB&J. He tells the magazine, “I mean I am good. I can make three in under 30 seconds — evenly spread the peanut butter and jelly. I do that professionally as a father for my kids.”
Back in 2015, Rhett, who now has two daughters with his wife Lauren, filmed a few commercials for his favorite restaurant, Zaxby’s, with Brett Eldrege, who Rhett was co-headlining a tour with at the time. He noted that Zaxby’s has a special place in his heart. Rhett told Country Countdown USA, “I grew up in Valdosta Georgia, where one of the first Zaxby’s existed, my grandmother took me there sometimes twice a day. Still to this day I’d rather eat at Zaxby’s than Kayne Prime. It’s my favorite place to eat.”
Granger Smith now has three kids with his wife Amber and all three of them have made cameo appearances in some of him music videos. A proud Texan, Smith notes that chicken fried steak would be the one meal he could eat for the rest of his life and tells Taste of Country that his hangover cure is Whataburger. One of the songs off his latest album is called “Home Cooked Meal.”