Believe me when I say the States do the BEST breakfasts. I mean, I’m as partial as the next person to a classic British fry-up or a fancy avo toast and smoked salmon brunch, American brekkies are just on a whole other level.
And nowhere in the States have I had a more epic breakfast experience than at Crockett’s Breakfast Camp in Gatlinburg. I’d already come to the conclusion that Gatlinburg is a wonderfully quirky town, and our morning fill-up at Crockett’s only added to the allure of our visit.
I mean, for a start, there’s a big ol’ frying pan outside with the Crockett’s name on it. The whole building has the vibe of a Western outpost, decorated with hay bales and wooden barrels.
Inside it gets even better. It’s pretty much the OTT huntsman’s lodge of cartoons, but distinctly real. Above a central fireplace, a deers head and a pair of rifles look down over the hungry crowds. Bags of ‘corn’ and light bulbs on pulleys dangle over the wooden tables lined up against maps, signs and farm machinery on the wall. For the décor alone, you should definitely visit.
The food’s pretty awesome too though, thankfully. Crockett’s is only open from 7am-1pm, seven days a week, and they specialise in…yeah, you guessed it. Breakfast.
Before ordering the main dishes, we decided to try the cinnamon buns. I wasn’t actually the biggest cinnamon fan before my visit, but these ones might just have converted me as they were something special. Huge buns covered in sticky caramel sauce and cream, you definitely want to order one of these to share.
In the name of research (although mostly in the name of me being really frickin’ hungry), I went all out and ordered The Black Bear Camp Skillet. Pecan-smoked bacon, cured ham, sausage and eggs doesn’t sound like TOO much, but add in American-style biscuits, grits and a side of pancakes and you’ve got a challenging breakfast of champions in front of you.
FYI – American ‘biscuits’ aren’t anything like digestives or hobnobs. They’re actually more like scones, and are great dipped in gravy. Which isn’t like Bisto, and more like a white sauce. And grits? They’re made from corn, ground into a coarse texture, then boiled. Kinda similar in consistency to porridge, but a distinctly corn-y flavour.
I ate basically every bite, because it was DELICIOUS. The pecan bacon and sugar cured ham added a hint of sweetness not normally found in breakfast foods, and the eggs were cooked perfectly. The fact the whole thing comes into a skillet adds to the ‘huntsman’ vibe of Crockett’s, and it makes for a pretty special breakfast.
In the end, the pancakes were my downfall – rather than the European ‘crepe’ style, these corkers were more the size of a Victoria sponge. At this point, I basically admitted defeat and gave up, although not for lack of trying…
If you’re staying in Gatlinburg, or even passing through at breakfast time, make sure you get yourself to Crockett’s for a truly quirky eating experience!
Crockett’s Breakfast Camp
1103 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738