Using refrigerator rolls.
See, biscuits were almost perfect things for bakeries to sell–simple, inexpensive to make, and everybody loves them. The problem was that biscuits are best consumed when hot, fresh from the oven–you couldn’t slip a wrapper on it and leave it to be picked up the way you could a loaf of bread.
So Willoughby, who was a tinkerer when he wasn’t baking, started by using a special formulation of baking powder from the Fleishmann’s company designed to be used in refrigerated doughs, a foil wrap, and in the original iteration an epsom salts can. The biscuits stayed fresh for about a week, and Willoughby sold them as Ye Old Kentuckie Buttermilk Biscuits.
The can became a cardboard tube, but by 1931, Willoughby patented his process.
Not having the money to exploit the patent himself, Willoughby approached Ballard & Ballard, which produced Ballard’s Oven-Ready Biscuits for decades, even for a time after it was purchased by Pillsbury in 1951. It wasn’t until 1965 when we were introduced to the icon associated with the sound of opening the cardboard roll:
From the box of L.R. from Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Brown 1 lb. ground beef and drain.
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1 Tablespoon instant minced onion
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
Separate 1 can refrigerated flaky rolls and put in ungreased muffin cups, making sure dough extends up the sides of the cups. Spoon mixture over dough and sprinkle with shredded, sharp cheese. Bake at 400 deg. for 10 to 12 minutes.