Whole or very coarsely broken grains of corn which have been hulled by pounding or soaking in lye.
1836 Knickerbocker 8.45 seNC, Public houses are very rare; and we were compelled to pick up our meals at the houses of the scattering planters on the road, where corn-cake and ‘big hominy’ is the universal provender. 1853 Aurora Weekly Std. (IN) 22 Dec /1 (newspaperarchive.com), Hominy is of two distinct kinds, large and small; the first is beaten in a mortar, the last ground in a mill. . . Take white flint corn and put from one to two quarts into the mortar, and pour a little boiling water on occasionally . . ; during the process of beating, remove the whole contents of the mortar occasionally into a tray and toss it in a current of air, so as to fan out the meal and bran; beat till every grain is broken and skinned. If not used soon after it is beaten it should be carefully dried. . . The large hominy is cooked in a similar manner [to the small], but before being taken up should be well mashed against the sides of the pot. 1853 Prairie Farmer 13.26 csIL, He makes a southern man laugh at his ignorance. . . Big hominy, which he describes is excellent, but not like the small, an every day dish, nor half so much eaten. 1855 Newport Daily News (RI) 13 Aug /2 (newspaperarchive.com), [Advt:] Large Hominy, a fresh supply at Young & Smith’s. 1884 Frank Leslie’s Pop. Mth. 18.330 LA, Meanwhile, the pot of big hominy hanging on the old-fashioned crane is occasionally stirred, and the plump, white grains tasted to see how it’s doing. 1908 DN 3.291 eAL, wGA, Big hominy. . . Whole grains of Indian corn hulled and boiled. Same as lye-hominy. 1918 DN 5.18 NC, Big-hominy, lye hominy of whole corn; contrasted with little hominy, or grits. 1942 Rawlings Cross Creek Cookery 72 FL, What the North knows as hominy, we call “big hominy.” This is the whole grains of white corn treated, amazingly, with lye, and boiled. 1950 PADS 14.14 SC, Big-hominy. . . Hulled corn. Also called lye hominy. c1960 Wilson Coll. csKY, Big hominy (usually just hominy). . . Whole-grain, home-made hominy. 1966 DARE FW Addit SC, Big hominy. 1986 Fussell I Hear Amer. Cooking 182, “Nobody ever ate big hominy,” said a friend in Columbia. “I ate it once and thought I’d choke, just couldn’t squeeze it down it was so awful.” 2004 Rehder Appalachian Folkways 211, In Appalachia and other parts of the South, this large-grained substance is still called big hominy.