If you’ve lived in the South or driven through it, you’ve likely been to a Waffle House, those bright yellow joints off the highway that dish out breakfast 24/7. Regulars know that for the namesake dish, pecans are the way to go: The mix-in has been a favorite since the first location opened in 1955, and pecan waffles consistently outsell newer varieties like apple-cinnamon oat and chocolate chip. Although you can watch the waffles being made behind the counter, you’ll never get the recipe, so chefs in Food Network Kitchens had to figure it out on their own.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the pecans on a baking sheet; bake until toasted, 5 to 7 minutes. Let cool, then chop. Reduce the oven temperature to 200 degrees F.
Whisk the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl. Whisk the egg, milk, buttermilk and vanilla in a separate bowl until combined. Stir the egg mixture, melted butter and shortening into the dry ingredients until just combined. (The batter will be lumpy.)
Preheat a waffle iron and brush with melted butter. Ladle some batter into the iron (about 1/2 cup, depending on your waffle iron); sprinkle with 2 tablespoons toasted pecans. Cook until golden brown, then transfer the waffle to a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven. Repeat with the remaining batter. Top the waffles with butter and maple syrup.