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Behind the review, Local Three: Boiled peanuts?

Photo by Becky Stein

Photo by Becky Stein

In my review today of Local Three, I mentioned that chef Chris Hall prepares an excellent rendition of boiled peanuts — cooked just to that creamy-bursty point and deeply flavored with chile, garlic and bay leaf.

I’ve also noticed boiled peanuts show up on the menu at Sprig — the new neighborhood joint in Oak Grove.

Could boiled peanuts be this year’s pimento cheese — the simple Southern snack rethought and gussied up for gourmet-minded menus?

I’m going to have to duck to avoid flying objects after saying this, but I have to admit, as a non-Southerner, I’ve never really enjoyed boiled peanuts until I tried this version. I’ve dutifully picked up bags on road trips just for “when in Rome” ’s sake, but I’m the only one in the family who can even stomach them.

Are there any fellow non-Southerners out there who’ve developed a taste for boiled peanuts? And is anyone noticing them showing up on other menus around town?

65 comments Add your comment


January 21st, 2011
11:10 am

I’m a southerner, and I can only tolerate them on very rare occasions. They’re too salty, too slimey. But when hot, they can be addictive.


January 21st, 2011
11:12 am

John, I was born and bred in Atlanta, with trips to South Georgia regularly to see grandparents. I dreaded my father’s roadside stops that filled the car with musty bean smell, and have never recovered to enjoy boiled peanuts. A challenge to the palate is always important though, so I will give these a shot.

This review highlights your concerns voiced earlier however, the responses to which have been extremely entertaining, as I am sure you intended. The two most heralded openings of the last few months, Empire State South and Local Three, are very similar, with comfy/casual with a touch of refinement. But my wedding rehearsal dinner was at Joel, and when considering where to go for a special meal, I am now at a loss. I suppose I will revert to Bones, as they do that genre better than anyone, but I really miss the transcendental experience. Most of our best options these days seem like chef driven improvements on what I could cook at home. I can cook a good burger. I can source and arrange a good charcuteri. I can’t very well execute the dorade Joel served us, and I miss it. I want to be transported forward, not backward. Thanks for stirring the pot.


January 21st, 2011
11:32 am

A real Southern delicacy and a favorite of mine for many years. One of the rites of fall was driving up toward Blairsville, picking up a six pack and a bag of boiled nuts from a roadside guy with no teeth, and enjoying the cool mountain breeze. Served with buttermilk, it’s also a great way to get rid of yankee guests! BTW, you may be aware Hugh Acheson is doing a boiled peanut hummus appetizer, which I have “borrowed” several times. Really good.

[...] original here: Behind the Review: Local Three | Food and More with John Kessler Related Posts:The AJC’s John Kessler reviews Local Three, Buckhead | Food and M… Local [...]


January 21st, 2011
12:42 pm

boiled peanut hummus??? Intresting.


January 21st, 2011
12:42 pm

interesting rather.


January 21st, 2011
12:44 pm

I don’t doubt your memories, however you stopped way before Blairsville to get your beer. Union County (Blairsville) only voted in alcohol sales this past July. Fannin County (Blue Ridge) which you must drive thru to get to Blairsville went “wet” about 2 years ago, beer & wine only. After spending my life (55 yrs) in Atlanta and Middle GA, I bought a cabin in Fannin County 2 years ago. When I stopped in to get some boiled peanuts at the local market, I was asked “Wet or Dry?”. I had no clue. They explained that in the mountains, most folks dry the peanuts before boiling, a few boil green (fresh) peanuts. This market offered both. Green tastes best.

Hungry Gringo

January 21st, 2011
1:07 pm

It’s just like edamame to me, although less salty.


January 21st, 2011
1:29 pm

A roadtrip to FL isn’t complete without boiled peanuts! I’m a native Atlantan and gnawed on boiled peanuts has a kid. My husband is a Damn Yankee (born in NY and stayed in the South) and he’s slowly developed a taste for this redneck treat.


January 21st, 2011
2:30 pm

closest place i know to get them fresh every day is off the Lavista toward Northlake mall after you pass Sprig on the right….David’s Produce is the place


January 21st, 2011
3:06 pm

Born in ATL, but raised in Texas, and I wouldn’t touch these things until I was an adult. Now I love them, but they have to be steaming hot.

Liz, if your husband likes boiled peanuts, he’s no longer a Damn Yankee – just a Yankee, which we can deal with. ;-)


January 21st, 2011
3:30 pm

I can understand the turn-off some may experience from roadside boiled peanuts; they can be ghastly.

If you want good boiled peanuts, make them yourself!

Seriously, they are not that hard to do. You need a pressure cooker, water, salt and green peanuts. Make sure you use green peanuts that are slightly immature and have not been fully dried. These may be hard to find this time of year.

They are delicious when fresh out of the cooker — not slimy at all. My mother used to make them for us all the time with peanuts fresh from the garden. I’ll have to see how all these gourmet versions stack up; I am dubious.


January 21st, 2011
3:31 pm

Born and raised in south GA – Atlantan for 20+ years … now that my Georgia street cred has been established …

My father’s side of the family had a big cauldron of boiled peanuts at every family reunion. The reunions were always held in late fall, so the nights were cool enough to enjoy the open fire underneath the big, black cast iron cauldron filled to near overflowing with boiling peanuts. And my Great-Uncles and random other family members would sit around the fire and play music until the wee hours (they probably were nipping a little homemade sauce during that time, too, but they never let we children see it!).

I can vividly remember a mandolin, a big bass fiddle (country for almost-a-cello) and my Aunt Pam who (now that I think about it, was probably under the influence of above mentioned sauce) would get to dancing.

Yes yes yes – it’s hokey and common and to most of you probably waaay too provencial (read, redneck or country or whatever you use to describe it) to appreciate – but it was my family life in the 70s. And now, any time I think about boiled peanuts (which I DO eat occasionally now), that memory is always punctuated with a longing for those reunions.

I’m excited about this (hopefully) resurgence of the boiled peanut! I’m kind of a traditionalist, in that flavorings and fancy-fying aren’t needed but I’ll certainly be giving Local Three’s a try!

BTW – for all of you who think boiled peanuts are kept to the rural areas, there was for years a vendor at the corner of Ponce and Moreland who sold them daily, up until a few years ago.

Jenn B

January 21st, 2011
3:33 pm

Heathen! Delta’s ready when you are!! :) Seriously, born and raised in So GA and been in Atlanta for 17 years and boiled peanuts are a favorite. It was the best when the season rolled a round and my dad would come home with green peanuts and put them in a huge pot on the stove. There’d be a huge mound of shells on the counter as we “monitored” them until they got to just the right texture and salinity. To this day, they are crack to me. As long as they are in front of me I will eat them.


January 21st, 2011
4:10 pm

I’m from the north, too, and I hated them at first. Then I found out that they’ve got to be hot. Charleston has a great location on 61 (on the way to the plantations) that’s some guy in an old orange camper that has been there for years. I randomly stopped by and loved his version of cajun, with banana peppers in it. Found it — it is called Timbo’s.

Ramona Clef

January 21st, 2011
5:14 pm

I’m not a native Georgian but a native Georgia helped me to understand boiled peanuts. She said once you’ve tried them you’ll never again forget the peanut is a legume. She was right and I like them a lot.


January 21st, 2011
6:58 pm

The first time I got boiled peanuts in a restaurant was at Sushi House – not Hayakawa, but in the same space, back when it was the “Mr. Sushi-Hand-Chop-Guy” place. They served the peanuts in a little dish like edamame, as part of the ban chan that I received before my hwae dup bap. They really are similar to soybeans, and I like them. I also had them as part of a dish at Five and Ten, and I’m sure there are other places, but some of them have slipped my mind.
For another new take on a classic, try the pig ears at Purple Rain in Duluth. Delicious.


January 21st, 2011
8:28 pm

Thanks for the post – I love reading all the comments. Seems everybody who likes ‘em has a special memory attached to them, including me. I live in VA and even though it’s a big peanut-producing state too, I have a hard time finding green peanuts, but when I do I always get a bundle. Only the people way out in the country seem to know what “biled peanuts” are!


January 22nd, 2011
8:23 am

I love me some boiled peanuts. The hotter/spicier the better.


January 22nd, 2011
11:14 am

The Big Ketch gives out a can of boiled peanuts free. I has some pepper added. You can also buy a can of boiled peanuts at Publix. Dump them out and microwave them for about 1 minute — dump the juice out and run them under cold water to cool them to eating temp..


January 22nd, 2011
5:09 pm

@Rodney…The boiled peanut is a staple for our family reunions as well. Every July in Vidalia, GA, we have a fish fry and peanut boil. It’s just not a reunion without them. When my family temporarily moved to Texas, we could not find green peanuts. We could only get boiled peanuts in a can. Gross. Boiled peanuts are best when they are fresh, just a big pot of water, salt, and the peanuts.


January 22nd, 2011
6:30 pm

Boiled peanuts, a southern Amuse Bouche du Jour? Please, bring back the sophistication and international influences.


January 23rd, 2011
8:59 am

I saw them at Farm Burger the other night. I meant to order them, but forgot. Damn. I also go to David’s Produce on LaVista to get my local fix.


January 23rd, 2011
9:16 am

I grew up in Georgia (my mom’s from up north) and I have never had boiled peanuts until I went to college. What’s weird about them is it tastes less like a snack and more like something you would find in a soup or a beef bisquet. Yet, they are amazing and I’m probably going to get a bag soon…..

Jennifer Falk

January 23rd, 2011
9:46 am

I love boiled peanuts but have not found any “green peanuts” in stores so I can make them at home. Anyone know of a place to buy the raw peanuts ?


January 23rd, 2011
9:57 am

Raised in Georgia. Living in Texas most of my life. These “goobers” out here don’t know squat about boiled peanuts. However, I get my share when I visit relatives in Georgia.


January 23rd, 2011
10:08 am

I remember taking them to the Braves game before they started selling them at the stadium.

Atlanta Native

January 23rd, 2011
10:08 am

Like ‘em? I chew on the shells!


January 23rd, 2011
10:12 am

1. People that are born and raised in Atlanta are only southern in their own minds. The rest of the south thinks ya’ll are yankees. 2. Boiled peanuts are a wonderful treat but must be eaten fresh and hot from the pot(not the microwave).


January 23rd, 2011
10:26 am

Boiled peanuts are like collard greens – a necessity of life to a true Southerner – especially those from Southwest Georgia!


January 23rd, 2011
10:32 am

I grew up in Birmingham and on trips through South Alabama to visit my grandmother, or going to the beach, it was a family tradition to pick up boiled peanuts at a roadside stand. I think they’re great, but like them straight up: salt, peanuts and water. I use a pressure cooker to speed the process, and they freeze and reheat in the microwave perfectly as a snack.

Old Dixie

January 23rd, 2011
10:41 am

Paul (just above) is dead on about Atlantan’s. Got to be from south of Macon to understand!

Smyrna Transplant/Native

January 23rd, 2011
11:05 am

Moved to ATL from Northern Virginia in 1968 when Dad was transferred here for his job. I am only remaining family member left in town, everyone else moved to warmer climates (yes, Texas and Florida). My grandparents had a vacatio cabin on Nottely Lake in Blairsville. Dad would take us there often in the spring and summer. Part of the ritual WAS eating boiled p-nuts on the drive up. I despised them when I was a child, but grew to love them muchly as an adult!

You don’t have to wait for a road-side p-nut stand to get your fix of boiled p-nuts. You CAN make them at home. Here’s what you need:

One LARGE (as big as you can find) stock pot
P-Nuts (wet or dry, your choice, I use dry)
Large box of kosher salt
(optonal: other seasonings to taste, but I prefer “virgin” p-nuts, salt only)

Fill your stock pot up with water and half the box of kosher salt (adding more salt later during the cooking process). Add p-nuts. Let them soak in the pot on the stove overnight (if you’re using dry p-nuts). If you’re using fresh, let them soak in the brine for a couple of hours, then turn on the heat full blast and boil for 2-6 hours (depending on what kind of p-nut you started with), taste testing your product periodically to ensure they are cooked to perfection. Using dry p-nuts takes longer, but I think you get a better product with them.

It should go without saying, if you’re making boiled p-nuts at home, somebody MUST supervise the p-nuts once you turn on the heat. Otherwise you could burn your house down. Cooking at home requires many hours of boiling and at a fairly high temperature…leavin p-nuts alone and unsupervised could mean you end up homeless.

Good luck ya’ll. ;)

Longtime Educator

January 23rd, 2011
11:10 am

Boiled peanuts are not just a Georgia delicacy! I grew up in South Carolina and boiled peanuts were a treat enjoyed every fall. Fall of the year is when the peanuts are mature enough for harvesting. Peanut plants prefer a sandy, loam soil which is why they grow so well in south Georgia and the coastal plain of SC.
@Jenn B, you brought back memories of my own peanut monitoring when I was growing up. They had to be just the right texture with an adequate amount of saltiness. Ahhhh, childhood memories!


January 23rd, 2011
11:26 am

nothing better on a cold day watching football than boiled peanuts and beer I boil my own in my crock pot


January 23rd, 2011
11:32 am

You can order green peanuts from Hardy Farms in Hawkinsville when they’re in season. 888-368-NUTS.

Summit Dawg

January 23rd, 2011
11:33 am

Most times, the ones you get on the roadside are boiled “green” ones, but are the dried ones for
roasting, not boiling…..thoses are no good…..have to be “green!”


January 23rd, 2011
11:34 am

I was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida and in the black neighborhood we had a peanut man that came through every evening after school selling peanuts. The boiled peanuts in the Atlanta area are not the same as the ones down there. You have to buy the Florida Green Peanuts, and they are a different taste than the Georgia boiled peanuts. You can’t get them year round but you can buy them and freeze them. Green peanuts aren’t slimy and the shells are softer once cooked. You can buy them at local farmers markets in Georgia and sometimes they sell them at Publix and Kroger. I cook mine with sea salt and every now and then I add a little cayenne pepper but most of the time just the salt. Some one mentioned red neck food, no it’s just a simple southern delicacy to enjoy while at a ball game or sitting on the porch and sometimes watching a movie.

I love this much better than popcorn.


January 23rd, 2011
11:37 am

I grew up in Savannah, 50 miles from my grandfather’s farm. We would pick the peanuts and boil them the same day. Never had better. Never slimey or over salted. If you let them sit for days in the same water, that is what you end up with.


January 23rd, 2011
11:38 am

i find that i prefer my peanuts slightly less salty and less cooked as i have gotten older and i also add about 2 oz of apple cider vinegar per 1/2 gallon of water. my family reunions feature a huge cast iron pot filled with bushels of boiling peanuts all weekend to go with the pig, fresh corn on the cob, okra, fresh tomatoes, etc. it is not until the weekend after father’s day and i am getting hungry just thinking about the food and the company.


January 23rd, 2011
11:42 am

When I was I boy no road trip to the lake or to the mountains was complete without boiled “goobers”. Thats right, goobers is the proper term if ya want to get true southern with the subject. As a kid there is no snack more satisfying than one that allows you to chuck the remnants out of a moving car. And although there is no longer a boat to go to at Lake Lanier (hobie cat), the memories are only further justified through this unique snack. Best stop ever was on the way to Ellijay from Dawsonville right before hwy 53 splits off to hwy 183. The old man and his faithful dog Peanut may no longer be there to serve them goobers, but the shack still stands to this day.


January 23rd, 2011
11:47 am

I believe they’re also on the menu at Empire State South.

LOVE ‘EM. I make at home in a crock pot. So easy. I throw ‘em in the night before whatever sporting event I’ll be watching the next day and they’re done by the time I get up the next morning. Although, i prefer mine very mushy and VERY salty. I throw in red pepper flakes and use nothing but Louisiana hot sauce.

I’ve seen some recipes call for Bay leaves and some garlic. Might try that next time.

It’s a quaint, novel idea to have them on menus at nice places but I usually reserve them for home, backyard BBQ’s, or tailgates.


January 23rd, 2011
12:06 pm

DeKalb Frarmers Market has good green peanuts. Often, I find them in the produce section at Publix. A cast iron dutch oven does a great job. Takes about three hours IN a 300 degree oven – not on the top. The moisture doesn’t escape from the heavy lid. You can pretty much forget about them while they’re cooking. A packet of crab boil will make some nice, cajun-spiced ones. Otherwise, just salt. If you get them too salty, you can drain the liquid and reboil them in fresh water.

Grandma Gah

January 23rd, 2011
12:30 pm

For those looking for green/raw peanuts, try the local farmers’ markets. I have occasionally found them at Kroger, but rarely.

I’m from D.C., and I got started on boiled peanuts (which I at first HATED) when I craved them while I was pregnant. I bought them canned from the grocery store. They come regular and Cajun. While they aren’t the best I’ve had, they aren’t the worst…and the satisfied my craving. Now my son makes them frequently (I was pg with him when I craved them…any connection? LOL). He puts a huge pot on the stove with just water, salt and raw peanuts, and cooks them all day. They are always great. It’s an acquired taste…and takes awhile to get “used” to them.

Atlanta Native

January 23rd, 2011
12:32 pm

The secret to good boiled peanuts is they must be made with green peanuts (before they are finshed growing). Growing in the Atlanta area, when ever fall arrived, my family would drive up to Helen (many times!). We would always stop at JAEMORE Farms on Hwy 365 N on the way to get those boiled peanuts. Now that I am grown I keep trying boiled peanuts when ever I see them. I think JAEMORE has the best I have tasted. Now I need to try that place in Oak Grove!


January 23rd, 2011
12:40 pm

Does a bear poop in the woods?


January 23rd, 2011
12:42 pm

Chili powder et al–it should be ILLEGAL to do that to boiled peanuts.

To get good ones, you generally have to go to the panhandle of Florida, or find someone from there. Some folks on the east side of Athens 20 years ago made some fine ones. Turned out they were from the panhandle. My mom always used to tell of her Daddy giving them 25 c each Saturday to go to the movies. They could pay to get in and get a bag of boiled peanuts for 25 c. They would eat the peanuts and suck the shells. Heavenly!

I remember introducing my then-2 year old to them. She didn’t understand that you didn’t eat the shucks.

Alabama Jack

January 23rd, 2011
12:42 pm

My wife buys raw peanuts from Publix and cooks them in a slow cooker, can control the salt and degree of cooking that way. They are the best I have eve had. Took a few tries to get it right, but now awesome. Each batch is a bit different in cooking time, guess that it is a function of how dried they are, so have to keep sampling as you go.


January 23rd, 2011
12:43 pm

I have fond memories of the whole family sitting around and pulling the nuts off the plant after pulling up the peanut plants in the field all day. I’m sure it automated now days, but that was hard work back in the day.


January 23rd, 2011
12:49 pm

A year is just not complete without a good supply of boiled peanuts in the freezer for year round snacking.
I usually boil two bushels every year, put tem in quart plastic bags, stack them in the freezer, reserve some for me, and share the rest with friends and family. I’ve never had anyone hesitate to accept them and most ask, “Can I get more later?”
I can’t imagine that adding any flavorings or spices can possibly improve them. I only use water and salt and they taste great.
I have never seen or eaten a slimy peanut like one of the posters experienced.