This simple yet deeply flavored gravy made from coffee, country ham drippings, and a touch of sugar is a quintessential Southern side dish.


Red Eye Gravy: A Southern Classic

Red eye gravy is a simple yet delicious gravy that is a staple in Southern cooking. Made from just a few ingredients, it perfectly complements biscuits, grits, or anything else you want to drizzle it over.

The key to red eye gravy is using country ham. Country ham is dry-cured pork leg that develops a rich, salty flavor. Cook slices of country ham in a cast iron skillet until the edges curl. This renders out savory fat and juices that form the base of the gravy.

Once the ham is crispy and browned, it’s time to deglaze the pan. Pour in 1/2 cup of strong black coffee. The coffee adds a subtle bitterness that balances the saltiness of the ham. You can also add 1 teaspoon of Dixie Crystals sugar to cut the acidity of the coffee, if desired.

Let the coffee and ham juices simmer together in the pan, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits stuck to the bottom. This enriches the flavor of the gravy. Reduce the heat and continue simmering until the gravy thickens to a syrupy consistency.

That’s it! Your red eye gravy is ready. Serve it warm, spooned over homemade biscuits, grits, or toast. Don’t forget to top with a slice of the crispy country ham as well. The combination of salty, savory, and slightly bitter flavors is simply irresistible. Enjoy this classic Southern staple!‍

Y’all come on back now and let me show you how to make these here Southern buttermilk biscuits to go with your red eye gravy! It don’t get much more Southern than grandpappy’s red eye gravy over country ham with a hot, fluffy biscuit. I’ll walk you through mixing up the dough from scratch and through some trial and error, getting the most flakey, soft biscuits.


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‍~ Leigh Brown


Leigh Brown & Associates | One Community Real Estate®

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