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Jun 14, 2001 12:41 PM

Redeye gravy

  • r

I have a menu from Elizabeth's on 37th in Savannah which mentions redeye gravy. Being a Montrealer, can you give me a recipe for this (even hers)?

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  1. Redeye gravy is made with the drippings left over from cooking country ham slices in a skillet (iron skillet preferably). All you do is add 1 cup of STRONG coffee, boil & simmer for a few minutes. That's it!

    Some people do like to add 1/4 cup of packed brown sugar for more flavor. If you ask me, it's all about the quality of the ham. The better the ham, the better the drippings.



    4 Replies
    1. re: Guru

      I like to add coffee and an unhealthy amount of cream to the pan drippings. Makes it more gravy-like and less like dirty coffee.

      Emeril added vegetables and roux to his, but that's way over the edge.

      1. re: Guru

        Oh, not here! We use water instead of coffee! When I've tried it made with coffee, all I can taste is the coffee!

          1. re: SallyW
            S. B. Cochran

            A true Southerner's secret: Try deglazing the pan with a little Coca-Cola -- NOT diet, Pepsi (God forbid!), RC, Big K, etc. The liquid dissolves the salty fond and the sugar caramelizes producing a non-sweet result which is a good foil for the true country ham.

            I tried cream as one contributor suggested -- not bad, but a totally different animal.


        1. I am a 25 year Southerner now living in LA. I have always loved red-eye gravy. One thing to note is the "eye." One must have slices of ham that include the bone; therefore you get marrow and extra richness to the sauce. This is, where I assume, the "eye" comes from. I have been told by my father (who doesn't cook) and mother (from grandmother) and grandmother to add some (very very little coffee--they like instant) as well as water to the reduced drippings. I have made it many times and do not like the coffee. The coffee will flavour your gravy like a ham latté if you use too much. I think the coffee came about to strengthen and color the sauce to serve more than a few. Red eye gravy is a potent substance. It is difficult to make in "sauce/gravy" quantities. In my opinion it should be made with only water and when made used sparingly. The idea of cream may be a colloquial usage that I'm not aware of; or it could be an influence of nouvelle or something of the sort. To add a sweet cola beverage seems a stereotypical (outsider? or historically/tastefully altered) southern (albeit America has a quite sweet-toothe preferance) addition that is an adulteration.

          Good luck on the recipie. I would be interested in hearing some recipies for this.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Nicholas

            hey, you've been in LA too long, Roger. Might be time for you to come on back south. Red Eye gravy always was and always should be made with country ham drippings and black coffee, nothing more, nothing less! It IS potent. Probably because it was invented to be a flavorful partner to southern lard biscuits and grits. ADD WATER? No way!

            1. re: libby furr

              Absolutely right--that is the classic, pure form. The adulterated forms (cream, Coke) might fit the benighted soul who uses "inst--t 'grits'" but I will not sully the board by further mention of this heresy.

          2. sorry,
            first post,
            don't know the rules, (I did read them!)
            but I know that nobody here has red-eye gravy right.
            waiting for my sister's answer!!
            Miss Turpentine, where are you?

            1. It is my undestanding that it's called redeye because you have it in the morning to cure a hangover. And I've always had it with coffee added, not water.

              1. What an intersting amalgam of approaches! the comment about ham with the bone is dead-on although one can cheat. When the ham has been fried down, the "pan mumblings" (an Arkansas/North Miss'ippi term) or "pan drippings" (a North Carolina version that includes the little pieces of meat in tha pan--as does the previous "mumblings" term) are passed around with a little seasoning--if you wanna be fancy (say, onion slices--but take 'em out) and no salt, thank ham has more than enough NaCl. The earlier suggetion of Coca-Cola is time honored, and of value. Cream? Never; coffee? always! Ain't red-eye without no coffee.(Fear not! Most NC/ARK/MISS coffee is too weak to matter anyway. Boil it down and serve). If the gravy cannot run throughout your pile of grits like lava on a volcano, well, you are missin' half the fun. Resist the urge to thicken!!! that way lies madness! (Although White Cgravu is quite fine with Chicken Fried Steak!)