4 Holiday Recipes from Early Bird Diner & Hello My Name is BBQ

Instant Grit


Still searching for those perfect crowd-pleasing holiday recipes to really wow your guests? Look no further! Ryner and Cody Burg, owners of Hello My Name is BBQ, and Dexter Haigler and Nicole Morris, owners of Early Bird Diner, were kind enough to share some of their signature recipes. The holidays just got a whole lot tastier. 


Cody and Ryner Burg of Hello My Name is BBQ


Spicy Meatloaf

Recipe courtesy of Ryner and Cody Burg of Hello My Name is BBQ


Serves 4

  • 1 pound grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 cup your favorite spicy salsa or Mexican tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs 
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce 
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper 
  • 1 egg
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, mix the beef, salsa, breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons Worcestershire, salt, pepper, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, egg, and jalapeno. Use your hands and mix well. Pat down into a loaf pan. Top with the ketchup, the remaining 1 tablespoon Worcestershire, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon cayenne. Smooth over the top and bake until cooked through, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let cool for 30 minutes.



Pimento and Habanero Mac and Cheese

Recipe courtesy of Ryner and Cody Burg of Hello My Name is BBQ


Cook's Note: I use sharp cheddar mostly, but you can you use any mixture of cheese you have on hand. There is no wrong cheese for this recipe.


Serves 6

  • 1 16-ounce box pasta (your choice)
  • 2 cups half-and-half (or 1 cup whole milk and 1 cup cream)
  • 1 pound shredded sharp cheddar 
  • 1 cup your favorite pimento cheese (homemade works best)
  • 4 medium habeneros, seeded and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons prepared yellow mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Cayenne pepper 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Prepare the pasta according to the directions on the box given for al dente pasta. Drain the pasta and put back in the same pot over low heat. Add the half-and-half, half the cheddar, the pimento cheese, and habaneros. Stir until melted and creamy. Stir in the mustard, salt, and pepper. Pour into a 9-inch-by-13-inch casserole dish, top with the remaining cheddar, and sprinkle with cayenne pepper. Bake until golden brown and bubby, about 20 minutes.



Dexter Haigler and Nicole Morris of Eary Bird Diner


Sweet Potato Hash

Recipe courtesy of Dexter Haigler and Nicole Morris of Early Bird Diner


Cook's Note: We ran this the first Christmas we were open at the diner. I feel like maybe more
employees ate it than customers. (It was difficult to keep in house.)


Serves 4–6 as a side

  • 6 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and diced 1/2 inch
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon herbes de Provence
  • 1/2 cup sweet yellow onion, diced 1/4 inch
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced 1/4 inch
  • 1/2 cup country sausage, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup andouille sausage, finely minced


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place large cast iron skillet on bottom rack. 


Toss sweet potatoes with a 1/4 cup of the melted butter, paprika, salt, white pepper, and herbes de Provence. Lay out in an even layer on a sheet tray and roast in the oven until tender, around 45 minutes. 


Take the skillet out of the oven and set on the stove at medium heat. Add the remaining butter and onion to the pan. Stir just often enough to prevent burning—you want your onions to caramelize. Once the onions have begun to take on a nice golden brown, add the country sausage and bell pepper. Keep stirring and scraping the pan, as the sausage may stick a little, which is fine. Once the peppers have begun to brown and the country sausage has lost some of its raw color, add the andouille sausage and cook until the entire mixture has a golden brown color and the country sausage is fully cooked. Add the roasted sweet potatoes and stir until well mixed. Cook a few minutes more until the sweet potatoes are browned, stirring only enough to prevent burning. This can be served as a side for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.



Almond Toffee

Recipe courtesy of Dexter Haigler and Nicole Morris of Early Bird Diner


Cook's Note: Always a Christmas favorite. The end result looks really impressive, but it's super easy. It also makes a large portion so there is enough to go around at holiday gatherings with family and friends.



  • 2 cups butter, cubed (or 4 sticks)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon water


  • 2 cups dark chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon Crisco
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds 


Line a large sheet tray with parchment paper and set aside. Place all of the toffee ingredients in a large stock pot and attach a candy thermometer. Cook over medium-high heat and stir constantly until the butter is fully melted. Let the mixture come to a boil and continue to stir occasionally until the thermometer reaches 290 degrees, or just before the hard-crack stage of candy making. Immediately pour the candy on to the parchment. Then, in a microwave-safe dish, heat the chocolate chips and Crisco, stirring every 30 sec for about 2 minutes, or until the chips are completely melted. Pour the chocolate evenly over the warm candy and spread around with a spatula. Finally, sprinkle the sliced almonds over the chocolate. Wait at least an hour, or until the toffee is completely cool, before breaking it up. It can be easily cut into squares or just smashed into random pieces. Store in an airtight container.