Tis’ the season for giving thanks, gathering with friends and family, and sharing your favorite seasonal recipes. There are those tried and true family recipes that must be on the table each Thanksgiving. And, then there are recipes you try when shaking things up, trying something new, and making new traditions.

Executive Chef Jim Smith of The Hummingbird Way has a recipe to share that is sure to become a staple on your holiday table.

Chairman of the Alabama Seafood Marketing Commission, past Executive Chef for the State of Alabama, and current owner of local favorite, The Hummingbird Way, Smith’s attention to sustainability, fresh and regional ingredients shines in his work.

Haven’t been to The Hummingbird Way? Tucked in the Historic Oakleigh Garden District on George Street, the eatery serves a dynamic offering of oysters along with a consistently rotating menu based on what’s fresh and available. Each dinner is unique and delectable.

To have a taste of Chef Jim Smith’s cooking on your own table this holiday season is a gift in and of itself.

Oyster Dressing Recipe
Chef Jim Smith, The Hummingbird Way



  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup melted butter, at room temperature
  • 3½ cups fresh cornmeal, sifted
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and place two 9-inch cast iron skillets in the oven. Preheating the skillets helps the bread cook evenly, develops a crust and makes removal of the bread easier. 

  2. In a mixing bowl, lightly beat the eggs with a whisk and then add the buttermilk, milk and butter. Set the wet ingredients aside. 

  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt until evenly mixed. Using a rubber spatula, slowly pour and mix the wet ingredients into the dry and combine.

  4. Carefully remove the preheated cast iron skillets from the oven and coat heavily with pan spray. 

  5. Equally divide the batter between the two pans and quickly return to the oven. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until done and let cool.




  • Vegetable oil
  • ½ pound (2 cups) Conecuh sausage, diced fine
  • Cajun mirepoix, diced fine (1 medium onion, 1 medium green bell pepper and 2 ribs of celery)
  • 8 cups crumbled cornbread (The cornbread recipe above yields 12 cups.)
  • 2 tablespoons melted fat, melted (bacon, duck, butter or shortening)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2¼ cups chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons picked fresh thyme, stems removed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 24 shelled oysters, liquor reserved
  • ¼ cup reserved oyster liquor
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

  2. Lightly coat a medium sauté pan with vegetable oil and render the sausage under high heat until it has browned.

  3. Reduce the heat to medium, add the Cajun mirepoix to the pan and sauté until the vegetables are translucent. Be careful not to brown the mirepoix. Remove the mixture from the pan and let it cool. 

  4. In a large mixing bowl, place the cornbread crumbs, the cooled sausage mixture and the fat. Mix the ingredients and then add the eggs, stock, thyme and parsley while gently mixing. 

  5. Finally, add the oysters and the oyster liquor and mix, making sure to leave the oysters intact. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Coat a 12-inch cast iron skillet with nonstick spray, and evenly pour the oyster dressing batter into the skillet. Bake for 45 minutes.

About the Chef:
Chef Jim Smith outside his Mobile restaurant, The Hummingbird Way

The Hummingbird Way is a new concept by Chef Jim Smith in Mobile, Alabama. The restaurant features regional cuisines and a fresh, reinvigorated take on Southern classics while utilizing the fresh produce and seafood harvest of the Mobile region.