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Gravy, as in biscuits and gravy

chowser Dec 19, 2006 12:08 PM

I'm making these as part of Christmas brunch. I think I'm going to use the Cooks Illustrated buttermilk biscuit recipes since they've been recommended on these boards. But, as the gravy goes, is there more to it than sausage or other meats in white sauce? That's what I've always done but has anyone done anything different? I saw the red eye sauce w/ coffee that Alton Brown made but don't want that. Thanks!

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  1. Candy Dec 19, 2006 02:33 PM

    Cream gravy with or without suasage is pretty traditional. Red eye gravy is fine with ham but would not be a good sauce for biscuits. If you did not want sausage you could substitute dried chipped beef as use in what some call SOS or others call creamed chipped beef on toast. I believe when it is SOS ground beef is used.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Candy
      chowser Dec 19, 2006 03:20 PM

      I've never had red eye but it doesn't sound good to me. I might just go with the plain cream sauce w/ sausages. I've never made it for my in-laws before. Thanks!

      1. re: chowser
        cristina Dec 20, 2006 12:41 AM

        Red eye gravy isn't for biscuits and gravy--it goes with ham, as Candy said, and especially with country ham. Country ham, beaten biscuit, and red eye gravy--mmm mmm, that is southern eating. Don't knock red eye gravy till you've tried it: it sounds weird, but it's really delicious.

        1. re: cristina
          revsharkie Dec 20, 2006 03:03 AM

          I've eaten red-eye gravy on biscuits all my life!

          1. re: revsharkie
            w
            wabbitslayer Dec 20, 2006 10:53 PM

            same here. If you have a couple of spoonfuls of red-eye on the same plate as your biscuits, you're going to have red eye gravy on your biscuits, whether you call yourself eating it with the ham or not.

            1. re: wabbitslayer
              Davwud Dec 21, 2006 12:23 PM

              Red eye gravy is also great on grits. When I make REG I always make grits.

              DT

        2. re: chowser
          d
          dhedges53 Dec 8, 2007 03:19 PM

          You know, I've had red eye gravy once. And, I despised it. But, come to think of it, I had it back in the '60s. As open-minded as I am on so many foods, I have to say, I'm a little ashamed of myself. I'm going to try it again. Maybe several times. Anybody have a recipe that everyone would like?

      2. n
        nissenpa Dec 19, 2006 03:12 PM

        Would you mind sharing a recope for sausage and gravy? I would love to do biscuits and gravy sometime in the next few weeks but have never tried it.

        14 Replies
        1. re: nissenpa
          Andiereid Dec 19, 2006 03:18 PM

          I don't ever use a recipe for that, just because growing up in the South, you just stand and watch your grandmother do it, but traditional sausage gravy in my family is:
          Cook the sausage and while it's draining on paper towels, pour off all but about 1 Tbs of the fat from the sausage in the pan. Add about 1 - 2 Tbs of flour and stir until it's smooth. Then just add milk or cream to the pan and stir to incorporate the flour roux. Season with salt and pepper and simmer until it's thickened. Ta-daaa! Man, I love that stuff.

          1. re: nissenpa
            chowser Dec 19, 2006 03:19 PM

            I don't use recipe--I cook up the sausages, use the oil to make a roux (adding flour and browning somewhat), add milk/cream, salt, pepper, whatever spices catch my eye, thicken, then add back the sausages. Being from up north, that might make any Southerner cringe.

            1. re: chowser
              Andiereid Dec 19, 2006 03:20 PM

              Only the additional spices. <G>

              1. re: Andiereid
                chowser Dec 19, 2006 03:33 PM

                LOL, I'm prone to impulse spicing.

                1. re: chowser
                  yayadave Dec 19, 2006 04:22 PM

                  Yeah, from your OP I thought the only thing you might want is some seasoning. It depends on how seasoned your sausage is. If I do this with cooked chicken or turkey, I season.

                  1. re: yayadave
                    chowser Dec 19, 2006 10:02 PM

                    Yes, I use fully seasoned sausage. I've never thought to do it w/ chicken or turkey--something to keep in mind. Thanks!

                2. re: Andiereid
                  s
                  scott123 Dec 19, 2006 09:30 PM

                  I'm a Northerner, born and bred and adding spices (other than some extra pepper or cayenne) to sausage gravy is making me cringe as well.

                  Are you augmenting the spices in the sausage by adding something like sage/thyme or are we talking other spices entirely?

                  But maybe the roux is a Northern thing. I always separate the fat to make a roux, add the milk to make bechamel and then add the cooked sausage. When it comes to saucemaking, my roux has to be pure fat (no water) to acheive the smoothest possible sauce. Drippings are invariably a combo of fat/meat juices. Unless it's a slurry, adding flour to water makes me cringe as well.

                  1. re: scott123
                    chowser Dec 19, 2006 10:01 PM

                    Dried red pepper flakes, tabasco maybe. I've never done it but if I had chipotle, I might be tempted to throw some in. I use some kind of flavored sausage so no more sage or thyme. A roux is a very southern thing--it's how you make gumbo. Sounds like the technique is pretty much the same with the gravy.

                    1. re: chowser
                      Andiereid Dec 19, 2006 10:04 PM

                      No! Not Chipotle! Plain gravy! Plain gravy! <G>

                      1. re: Andiereid
                        chowser Dec 19, 2006 11:50 PM

                        Okay, you've convinced me--salt and fresh ground pepper. :-)

                        1. re: chowser
                          Andiereid Dec 19, 2006 11:52 PM

                          Yes! And that's all! :) Well, if you want to be authentic, anyway...

                      2. re: chowser
                        s
                        scott123 Dec 20, 2006 12:01 AM

                        Had you said something completely foreign like oregano or cinnamon, I would have screamed bloody murder, but chipotle... eh, whatever floats your boat :) Chipotle is predominantly just heat and smoke. Heat is a perfectly acceptable addition and, although I wouldn't add it personally, smoke is not that foreign. Heck, elsewhere on this thread, smoke (in the form of bacon) is being discussed without anyone making a fuss.

                        Chipotle... sure, go for it! :)

                        As far as roux being a southern thing... Dark Cajun roux is an extremely Southern thing, but I have NEVER met a Southerner that didn't add the flour to the drippings to make sausage gravy. Drippings + flour don't qualify as a roux in my book.

                        1. re: chowser
                          cristina Dec 20, 2006 12:43 AM

                          Chipotle? Noooooooo!

                          1. re: cristina
                            s
                            scott123 Dec 20, 2006 02:50 AM

                            Hey, if you've got a problem with chipotle, go complain about the bacon. It's only fair.

                3. n
                  nissenpa Dec 19, 2006 03:28 PM

                  Thank you! I am drooling.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: nissenpa
                    k
                    Kari Dec 19, 2006 03:35 PM

                    We make biscuits and gravy at least once a month. It is one of our favoirte meals, breakfast or dinner. I do what most have suggested. I brown sausage, but I dont drain it unless it is just real fatty. Add two to three spoons of flour and cook a few min in the sausage. I add a can of evaporated milk along with regular 2% milk, or if I am in the mood some cream. Let it come to a boil for its full thickening potential. Add salt and pepper to taste.

                  2. k
                    kittyfood Dec 19, 2006 03:36 PM

                    I'm untraditional here -- even though I grew up in the South, I prefer brown gravy for biscuits. For that you need meat drippings. Usually mine is made from the drippings and juices that I save from a roasted chicken.

                    Sarah C

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: kittyfood
                      prunefeet Dec 19, 2006 04:12 PM

                      That sounds MUCH better! I can't deal with that white gravy.

                      1. re: prunefeet
                        Niki in Dayton Dec 21, 2006 12:42 AM

                        Actually, I make sausage gravy pretty much as Kari described, but it's not white. It's always a tan color--darker than my chicken gravy, in fact. I brown the sausage, using Bob Evans breakfast sausage, then sprinkle about 2 Tablespoons flour right over the cooked crumbled sausage, then continue to cook it, stirring constantly for about 3 or 4 minutes until the flour is browned, then add canned evaporated milk (which is beige in color, not white), then season to taste with salt, cracked black pepper, and sometimes hot pepper flakes. My mother-in-law, who used to add Kitchen Bouquet to sausage gravy because she won't eat white gravy, even approves of the color!

                      2. re: kittyfood
                        chowser Dec 19, 2006 04:13 PM

                        I'll do a combination of juices/drippings and cream sometimes, too. I've also used boxed broth if I didn't have juices/drippings.

                      3. e
                        eimac Dec 19, 2006 03:47 PM

                        My husband is the gravy maker and his secret is cooking up a slice or two of bacon along with the sausage. You can't actually taste it, but it adds a new dimension to the unctousness (if that's the word) of the sausage. If you can find Jimmy Dean Bold, use that.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: eimac
                          n
                          nissenpa Dec 19, 2006 03:49 PM

                          I live off of bacon. Does DH cook bacon until it is crispy? How well done should I get the bacon?

                          1. re: eimac
                            chowser Dec 19, 2006 04:14 PM

                            Does he use the bacon fat to make the roux?

                            1. re: chowser
                              e
                              eimac Dec 21, 2006 01:36 AM

                              He doesn't do roux, ( sorry, couldn't resist) He chops the bacon and browns it with the sausage, pours off some of the dripping, adds milk or cream and then sprinkles flour over the top and lets gravy simmer until thick. I usually get Wondra but he uses regular flour also. Seasonings ( salt and pepper only) go on when we each take our own since he likes things much saltier than I do.

                          2. m
                            MakingSense Dec 19, 2006 06:31 PM

                            A basic rule. You cannot make this with fat-free milk. Sausage gravy is NOT a low calorie, fat free, diet dish. If you are on a diet or something, go chew on a bagel or whatever.
                            Seriously, using less than the real thing - at least 2% or better yet, whole milk - will doom your gravy!
                            Go for the gusto! Make real biscuits! Praise the Lard and pass the gravy!

                            9 Replies
                            1. re: MakingSense
                              f
                              foiegras Dec 19, 2006 06:44 PM

                              ... And better yet, plenty of cream. I still remember the sausage and biscuits I had about 20 years ago at a Hilton? Hyatt? brunch, and they used cream. Also you must have freshly-ground black pepper (and I would add a pinch of cayenne as well).

                              1. re: foiegras
                                s
                                scott123 Dec 19, 2006 09:41 PM

                                I disagree. Cream is a wonderful thing, but it has no place in sausage gravy, imo. At least not 'plenty' of it. Milkfat has a tendency to mask flavor, so by adding cream, it takes away from the taste of the sausage. The sausage taste should pop, not be muted in any way by additional milkfat.

                                Whole milk, yes, but cream, no.

                                1. re: scott123
                                  u
                                  uptown jimmy Dec 21, 2006 01:00 AM

                                  I agree. And I find you can use a good bit of water or stock with no troubles whatsoever. It's the sausage and roux that count, not the liquid ingredient, at least not so much.

                              2. re: MakingSense
                                chowser Dec 19, 2006 10:04 PM

                                I'm using whole fat sausages and probably butter or shortening (haven't looked) in the biscuits, it would make no sense to use fat free milk! I'm thinking of using a mix of milk and half and half, and some meat juices/drippings.

                                1. re: chowser
                                  m
                                  MakingSense Dec 20, 2006 03:27 AM

                                  The origins of this are rural, not fancy food, so it probably would have been made with milk on hand, not with cream (expensive) or half-and-half. Some people try to use fat-free milk simply because that's what they usually have on hand these days for drinking. It doesn't work - too watery to emulsify properly.
                                  You already have the drippings in the pan from browning the sausage and there's meat juices in there as well. That's where all that flavor comes from in the gravy.
                                  Sausage gravy only messes up when people try to get fancy with a simple dish.

                                  1. re: MakingSense
                                    revsharkie Dec 20, 2006 03:31 AM

                                    My mom says her mom used to make her gravy with Mil-Not--a vile, canned, early form of soy milk that was at one point cheaper in Oklahoma than regular milk.

                                    1. re: MakingSense
                                      u
                                      uptown jimmy Dec 21, 2006 01:01 AM

                                      Exactly.

                                      1. re: uptown jimmy
                                        Will Owen Dec 8, 2007 04:46 PM

                                        We had Mil-Not once. Just once. As poor as we were, there was no way we would try such a thing ever again.

                                        1. re: Will Owen
                                          revsharkie Dec 8, 2007 05:35 PM

                                          There's a woman in my church, a few years younger than my mom but also from Oklahoma, who swears that punkin pie cannot be made properly without Mil-Not. That year when I was down at my folks' house in Kansas (didn't used to be able to buy Mil-Not in Kansas, evidently because of the dairy lobby in the state, but you can now), I picked up a bunch of cans of it and brought back for her.

                                2. chef chicklet Dec 19, 2006 06:39 PM

                                  I've started to use wondra for the white sauce along with chicken broth. The sausauge I prefer is ground pork sausage,then I add thyme and red pepper flakes. I've got the gravy down, I'm looking for the ultimate fluffy biscuit. Mine are "ok" but I've had better.

                                  8 Replies
                                  1. re: chef chicklet
                                    Candy Dec 19, 2006 08:47 PM

                                    We are very much a Wondra household for gravy and sauces. CI in some of their strange tastings said is had a sour flavor, I've never found the case to be true. But they also said Kitchen Basics stocks were bad and if you read the ingredients and taste there is nothing to be bad. It is just pure stock no fillers or gums etc. Some of the lowest sodium on the ready made market too.

                                    1. re: Candy
                                      chef chicklet Dec 19, 2006 10:08 PM

                                      Nope not ever had any strange sour tastings at all,in fact I prefer the consistency and that it doesn't taste like flour can in a white sauce if not done properly. I love cream gravy, such as the one that's being suggested for the biscuits.
                                      I've never used that broth I am on the west coast<<<<< where are you?

                                      1. re: chef chicklet
                                        s
                                        scott123 Dec 20, 2006 12:06 AM

                                        I know this is going to sound a bit strange to you, but put the Wondra side by side with regular flour and taste a tiny bit of both. Smell them also. Raw flour should have a wheaty/nutty not that terribly unpleasant taste. Wondra taste/smells like chemicals. It may not be that noticeable if you're only adding a little bit, but THAT's the taste you're adding to your dish

                                        1. re: chef chicklet
                                          Candy Dec 20, 2006 06:26 AM

                                          WE'll avoid the nay sayers on Wondra. I first started using it mid 80's and a still doing so. I am in south central Indiana and Kitchen Basics is a Brecksville OH prod. Ingred listed on the carton of chicken stock are as follows: chicken stock, chicken stock flavor, sea salt, honey, veg stock (made of carrot mushroomk mushroom celery) bay leaf, thyme and pepper nothing more or less

                                          20% sodium /cup

                                          It iis an Ohio product widely found

                                      2. re: chef chicklet
                                        s
                                        scott123 Dec 19, 2006 09:24 PM

                                        Try unbleached pastry flour for your biscuits.

                                        1. re: scott123
                                          chef chicklet Dec 19, 2006 10:05 PM

                                          Ok not a great baker, just becomming one this past year.
                                          Pastry flour??? I've never seen it, who makes it, I've seen cake flour?

                                          1. re: chef chicklet
                                            s
                                            scott123 Dec 20, 2006 12:14 AM

                                            Pastry flour and cake flour are both made with soft wheat, but the pastry flour tastes a lot better because it's been processed quite a bit less. Unbleached pastry flour tastes just like all purpose, but contains less gluten so it produces softer baked goods.

                                            Whole foods sells a whole wheat pastry flour (which I wouldn't recommend for biscuits), but besides that, pastry flour is unavailable on a retail level. Call a local bakery. Most bakeries will sell you a pound of pastry flour. Just make sure it's unbleached and NOT whole wheat.

                                            It will make an amazing biscuit (and pie crust).

                                            1. re: scott123
                                              chef chicklet Dec 20, 2006 03:06 PM

                                              No kidding, I appreciate the information!
                                              I didn't recall ever seeing "pastry" flour... I just love great biscuits, to die for!

                                      3. s
                                        shanda013 Dec 20, 2006 12:30 AM

                                        Cook the ground not linked sasuage with finely chopped onions add salt pepper and a small dash of cinnamon along with the floour, water and/or milk. This is the best gravy I have ever tasted.

                                        1. Will Owen Dec 20, 2006 05:28 AM

                                          My brother and I (he's still in Tennessee, I've left) are in agreement in our jaundiced view of Southern white cream gravy - it's just not meaty enough for our taste. The remedy is simple: just leave some sausage in the pan, make sure there's enough grease, stir the flour in and let it get good and brown (you need to use a little extra as the browning reduces its thickening abilities) and then pour in the milk, stirring vigorously. Lots of freshly-ground black pepper back there in the browning stage is a Good Thing, too.

                                          In all due respect to a fellow 'Hound, I would speak sternly to anyone who ventured to put cinnamon anywhere near my gravy. Or my anything, for that matter.

                                          1. chowser Dec 20, 2006 04:26 PM

                                            Thanks for the feedback, everyone! You all made me laugh. I'll stick with the basics, step away from the chipotle (and Asian 5 spice or cumin...j/k, would not have done that). I will use a lot more sausage than normal, thanks Will Owen, and leave some in the pan as I do the white sauce. I have whole milk, half and half and cream available and will do my usual add to taste. Oh, should I admit I'm making scrambled eggs to top it off?;-)

                                            16 Replies
                                            1. re: chowser
                                              Will Owen Dec 20, 2006 04:41 PM

                                              Only if you invite me over!

                                              1. re: Will Owen
                                                FoodFuser Dec 20, 2006 06:21 PM

                                                Yepppp...Glad to hear that you're gonna be using lots of crumbled sausage. They has be lotsa specks a' black pepper, too. And no browned roux... this stuff is whiiiite, with specks of pepper and fine chunks of sausage. Y'all had me worried when ya strayed inta' spice-land... This dish comes from kitchens where the only three condiments were fat, salt, and pepper.

                                                Grandma had a special "gravy-makin' tool": a wooden spoon with the first few inches sawed off so that it was a flat scraper, but real strong.

                                                1. re: FoodFuser
                                                  chowser Dec 20, 2006 07:00 PM

                                                  Oh, we have a flat wooden spatula/spoon thing that we use for stir fries that would be perfect!

                                                  LOL, Will, you're more than welcome--if the past is indication, we always have far too much food!

                                              2. re: chowser
                                                yayadave Dec 20, 2006 07:45 PM

                                                Are you sure you want to scramble dem eggs?

                                                1. re: yayadave
                                                  chowser Dec 20, 2006 08:08 PM

                                                  Yep, lots of people, one big pan. I don't want to play short order cook and make them to order. Though...the thought of runny yolks is tempting.

                                                  1. re: chowser
                                                    yayadave Dec 20, 2006 08:19 PM

                                                    I just thought B & G with eggs over on top would move this whole thing up to a new level.

                                                    1. re: yayadave
                                                      FoodFuser Dec 20, 2006 08:23 PM

                                                      I was thinking: use the BIG pan to makes lots of gravy, then drop in steel egg rings, and poach the eggs in the gravy. That would most probably fit chowser's constraint of "not making them to order".

                                                      1. re: FoodFuser
                                                        yayadave Dec 20, 2006 08:32 PM

                                                        If you don't have enough egg rings, you can always use all those little cat food and tuna fish cans. Wash them out first. An All-American Eggs Benedict.

                                                        1. re: FoodFuser
                                                          chowser Dec 20, 2006 08:36 PM

                                                          Clever! I don't have tuna or cat fish cans but I have enough sturdy cookie cutters w/ open spaces that if I spray first might work. As long as no one is offended by having a pumpkin shaped egg... I'll try it and see how it goes!

                                                          1. re: chowser
                                                            FoodFuser Dec 20, 2006 08:56 PM

                                                            Aww... C'mon... I was gonna say tuna cans, but I wanted to keep the discussion at a sufficient rarified level of "gourmet".

                                                            1. re: FoodFuser
                                                              yayadave Dec 20, 2006 10:23 PM

                                                              If you remember to wash them out before you use them, that's sufficiently "gourmet."

                                                              1. re: FoodFuser
                                                                chowser Dec 20, 2006 11:26 PM

                                                                Yeah, because "biscuits and gravy" screams "GOURMET!";-) I wonder if spam cans would work...

                                                                1. re: chowser
                                                                  yayadave Dec 21, 2006 04:03 AM

                                                                  Well, you could poach the eggs in Spam cans if you use Spam cans to cut out the biscuits. Wash them out first.

                                                                  HuH! How about Spam Can Biscuits & Spam Gravy covered with Spam Can Poached Eggs?

                                                                  1. re: yayadave
                                                                    chowser Dec 21, 2006 08:57 PM

                                                                    LOL, what would I do with the extra spam loafs??? Spam musubi?

                                                                    1. re: chowser
                                                                      yayadave Dec 21, 2006 11:37 PM

                                                                      Despite what the hard liners say, this is a variable and adaptabe meal. There's Sausage Gravy, Chicken Gravy, and now there's (or will be when you make it) Spam Gravy. Congratulations!!

                                                                      1. re: chowser
                                                                        revsharkie Dec 22, 2006 01:42 AM

                                                                        We discovered several years ago that Spam kebabs are kinda nice. Onions, peppers, pineapple and Spam on a stick over the grill. It's good. And I (normally) don't like Spam!

                                                    2. w
                                                      wabbitslayer Dec 20, 2006 10:57 PM

                                                      If you really want something different, while the roux browns, throw in some eggs to scramble with it prior to adding the milk. My grandmother used to make that for us all the time, for the roux she always used a few tablespoons of grease out of the can that always set on the stovetop.

                                                      Gross looking as can be, but pretty good if you can get past the appearance.

                                                      1. u
                                                        uptown jimmy Dec 21, 2006 01:05 AM

                                                        Just gonna say: I am the quintessential Southern Boy, and not without mixed feelings on that subject, but there ain't nothin' in this world better than fresh, piping-hot homemade biscuits with sausage gravy. Heaven. Mother's milk. It must be one of the most under-appreciated gourmet-quality foods ever. So trashy-seeming to most people, but just a culinary masterpiece if done properly. Gorgeous.

                                                        And I'm partial to Jimmy dean sausage. FWIW.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: uptown jimmy
                                                          revsharkie Dec 21, 2006 04:59 PM

                                                          Anyone who thinks good biscuits & gravy is "trashy" is just a snob. I grew up on them--all my family is from Oklahoma and points further south and biscuits are required. On days when there's not gravy, or you've had your fill of gravy but still want biscuits, you put a pool of jam or jelly (strawberry preserves, if at all possible) on the plate and spread it on each bite of your biscuit with your fork.

                                                          (And I prefer baking-powder biscuits to buttermilk ones; that's our family recipe, which my grandma learned from her mother-in-law and taught to my mom, who taught it to me.)

                                                        2. s
                                                          scott123 Dec 21, 2006 03:48 AM

                                                          Brown roux has been mentioned a few times in this thread. Just so there's no misunderstanding, when I refer to a roux for sausage gravy, I'm talking about a white roux. Anything darker than blond has no place in sausage gravy, imo.

                                                          I don't make a roux to augment flavor. I do it for one reason, flour added to drippings (water and fat) clumps/makes for a lumpy sauce. When you take the extra step to separate the fat, a smoother sauce is guaranteed.

                                                          Sausage gravy should be, as FoodFuser put it, whiiite. A brown roux is as much of a desecration as non native spices. Again, in my humble opinion ;)

                                                          1. Davwud Dec 21, 2006 12:40 PM

                                                            Okay, as a Canadian, the humour is not lost on my southern inlaws that I make a pretty darned good B & G.

                                                            I won't get into biscuits.

                                                            For the gravy, I use a fattier sausage (Tennessee Pride is my fave, JD isn't fatty enough) and render a half pound (or more if you like) until just cooked. Add as much flour as needed to soak up the drippings. Do not remove any of the meat. Cook the roux for a couple of minutes. Just until it loses it's floury flavour. Season with S & P and slowly add milk a half cup at a time and stir until fully thickened before adding more. It should be slightly loose because it will thinken after you turn off the heat. Taste and adjust the S & P to your tastes. I find the salt important because without it, it tastes kinda flat.

                                                            I used to put bbq seasoning in it when I first started but stopped after I decided that it was better made simply. I've messed around with some other spices but the forefathers of this dish got it right. S & P only.

                                                            I usually use skim milk when I make it since it's what we have on hand and I have no problems with it. I'd use whole milk as a preference. No cream. Too rich that way.

                                                            You want it to be meaty and velvety. Once you've achieved that, you're in comfort breakfast food heaven. More fresh ground pepper after plating for me.

                                                            DT

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: Davwud
                                                              FoodFuser Dec 21, 2006 04:57 PM

                                                              That's excellent step-by step technique. Back to basics. Nominations for "Honorary Canuck Colonel of the Sausage Gravy squad."

                                                              1. re: Davwud
                                                                chowser Dec 21, 2006 08:56 PM

                                                                That sounds great--I love not having to take out the sausage at all for the bechamel. I'll look for Tenessee Pride--I normally go with Jimmy Dean. Thanks!

                                                              2. s
                                                                scott123 Dec 21, 2006 01:33 PM

                                                                Regarding salt and pepper... Pepper, yes, a good addition to sausage gravy. But salt? I've tried tens of different brands of sausage and every single one of them has been salty as heck.

                                                                If your gravy has a high sausage to sauce ratio (the general consensus here appears to agree that it should), there's no way it needs added salt. The sausage is supplying more than enough.

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: scott123
                                                                  Davwud Dec 21, 2006 01:54 PM

                                                                  Salt is a very personal thing. I'm not big on salt but still add some. Then my wife dumps a ton more on hers.

                                                                  DT

                                                                  1. re: scott123
                                                                    revsharkie Dec 21, 2006 04:56 PM

                                                                    I use bulk sausage, usually, and of course it's well-seasoned (althought I generally add a sprinkling of cayenne pepper as the patties are browning)--but the gravy usually needs salt anyway. Taste it. (But then, I generally use all the sausage for patties and only drippings for the gravy, just like my mom & her mom before her did.)

                                                                  2. lollya Dec 21, 2006 05:01 PM

                                                                    agh! another recipe i long to have a good veggie substitution for....any suggestions? short of the veggie crumbles that resemble sort of sausage? it doesn't need a sausage flavor for me, but more so the biscuits and gravy component, maybe with some great substitutions? anyone? bueller?

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: lollya
                                                                      Davwud Dec 24, 2006 03:32 AM

                                                                      Well, there really won't be a "Good" veggie substitution.
                                                                      However, I have a JD sausage knock off recipe and here's the seasoning.

                                                                      Per 1lb ground pork
                                                                      1 teaspoon salt
                                                                      1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
                                                                      1/4 teaspoon rubbed sage
                                                                      1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
                                                                      1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
                                                                      1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
                                                                      1/4 teaspoon coriander
                                                                      1/4 Teaspoon savoury

                                                                      Perhaps if you just made a simple bechamel and added this seasoning to taste (Front load it too, so the oils will really start to come out) and served over biscuits you'd have something. It won't have the "toothsomeness" because you're missing the sausage. I wouldn't sub tofu into it because of textural reasons. Those however could be my own feelings of tofu though.

                                                                      You've got nothing to lose. It's only gonna cost you a few bucks in ingredients so if it's lousy, you can pitch it, guilt free.

                                                                      DT

                                                                      1. re: lollya
                                                                        s
                                                                        scott123 Dec 26, 2006 04:18 PM

                                                                        Ummmm... the 'gray' in 'biscuits and gravy' is sausage gravy. Without the sausage, you've got biscuits and cream sauce.

                                                                        Veggie sausage is great stuff and contains all the herbs/spices you need for great gravy. Leanlife makes a good vegetarian tofu based breakfast sausage. So does morningstar. I'm pretty sure boca makes a good one too. The leanlife, if memory serves me correctly, is kind of wet/mushy, so it requires lower heating for a longer time. I used to microwave it to 'set' it, then brown it in some oil.

                                                                        Veggie sausages tend to be low fat/fat free, so use plenty of butter in the roux you make for your cream sauce.

                                                                        Vegetarian sausage and gravy, if done well, can be sublime. It's one of the best vegetarian meals I've prepared/eaten, that's for sure.

                                                                      2. n
                                                                        Nathan P Dec 21, 2006 05:17 PM

                                                                        So to achieve this white-ness, does that mean you are not really browning the sausage in stage one. My tendency for maximum flavor is to crank the heat and get some color on everything and get some bits in the pan to deglaze, but I can already see a tan to brown gravy result.

                                                                        Is the path to biscuit nirvana keeping the heat down and until it is just cooked leaving the meat more grey than brown?

                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Nathan P
                                                                          Andiereid Dec 21, 2006 06:38 PM

                                                                          Personally, my sausage is always plenty browned, and there are always loads of browned bits in the skillet when I add the flour to thicken. But since I don't cook the flour and fat very long, it's not very brown, and then of course, adding milk or cream to that just lightens the color further.

                                                                          1. re: Andiereid
                                                                            s
                                                                            scott123 Dec 22, 2006 05:28 AM

                                                                            Fully browned sausage but relatively uncooked flour. White sauce with brown specs of sausage.

                                                                            Nathan, if you heat the gravy for a bit (barely a simmer) or store it overnight, some of the color (and quite a bit of the flavor/salt) will leech out into the sauce. The gravy won't be pure white, but it'll still be fairly light colored. I always heat my gravy for a while before serving it to allow the sausage to infuse the bechamel sauce.

                                                                            I also find that the more you brown the sausage, the denser it gets/the harder it is for the moisture in the gravy to penetrate/for the flavors to infuse. There's nothing wrong with well browned sausage, but it's good to remember it needs some extra holding time for the flavors to develop.

                                                                            That could be why some of the people find sausage gravy 'needs salt.' They may be serving the gravy fairly quickly after making it and not allowing the salt in the sausage to leech into the sauce.

                                                                            1. re: scott123
                                                                              n
                                                                              Nathan P Dec 22, 2006 08:11 PM

                                                                              Thanks for the input. I will take a shot at this over the holidays and post back.

                                                                              I think milk sauces just take an insane amount of salt. I know whenever I make bechamel I add what feels like a ton of salt and then still have to add quite a bit more until the flavor 'pops'.

                                                                              1. re: Nathan P
                                                                                Andiereid Dec 22, 2006 08:22 PM

                                                                                Well, just remember that you'll be using pork sausage drippings, which already have a decent amount of salt in them. So it might not take as much as other milk sauces.

                                                                        2. q
                                                                          Querencia Dec 22, 2006 02:03 AM

                                                                          Have read through this whole thread and have three comments. 1) My Southern-derived grandmothers made ALL gravy with whatever meat drippings for the fat and milk for the liquid. I was grown before I knew there was any other kind of gravy. 2) A while back on a genealogy board people got going on memories of Chocolate Gravy on biscuits as a special childhood treat in parts of the South: flour, fat, cocoa, sugar, and milk. 3) A lovely breakfast is Chicken & Biscuits: gravy made with strong homemade chicken stock (no milk) then mixed with cut-up cooked chicken and poured over biscuits---serve with hot coffee.

                                                                          1. c
                                                                            Cinnamon Dec 22, 2006 05:15 AM

                                                                            Two words: spicy pork sausage

                                                                            1. revsharkie Dec 22, 2006 08:04 PM

                                                                              Okay, for you southerners who know your gravy, I have a question maybe someone can answer. In my family we talk about a particular kind of gravy that's like red-eye but without any thickening (just mix liquid into the pan drippings). No one knows how to spell it--no one has ever seen it written. But it's pronounced like POOR-do.

                                                                              Anyone ever hear tell of this? How DO you spell it, and what are the origins?

                                                                              1. chowser Dec 25, 2006 08:53 PM

                                                                                You all are awesome--thanks for all the ideas. This morning, I made the gravy w/ two tubes of Tennessee Pride sausage, left it in while I added flour and then warm whole milk slowly. Salt and fresh ground pepper only. Thickened and then I added the eggs individually. I didn't need anything to separate them (no spam cans or my sprayed pancake molds)--they just fall into their own self contained pocket in the gravy. Perfect! I put on the lid but they weren't cooking so I popped the whole pot and lid in the oven for the last 5 minutes the biscuits (Cooks Illustrated)were cooking which was at 450 deg. I removed both from the oven but kept the lid on until time to serve. It was great--a little more cooked than I wanted but only because people were late. The CI biscuits were okay, a little on the small side and could have used more salt. I'll adjust the next time. But thanks to all your help, the biscuits and gravy were a hit (and everyone was stuffed after that, hot cinnamon rolls, pumpkin bars w/ cream cheese frosting, banana bread, baked oatmeal, fruit, brownies, butter thumbprint cookies w/ jalapeno jam, applewood bacon, scrambled eggs). No leftovers, though!

                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                1. re: chowser
                                                                                  FoodFuser Dec 26, 2006 04:11 AM

                                                                                  Awesome Xmas breakfast. A new tradition in the chowser household?

                                                                                  I'd love to hear some more details about the poaching of the eggs.

                                                                                  1. re: FoodFuser
                                                                                    yayadave Dec 26, 2006 05:16 AM

                                                                                    ...and what about those "butter thumbprint cookies w/ jalapeno jam?" Who ever heard of those? Is that a standardthumbprint cookie with store bought Jalapeno jam on top?

                                                                                    1. re: yayadave
                                                                                      chowser Dec 26, 2006 07:40 PM

                                                                                      Yeah, I'm an impulse cook. I made regular butter thumbprint cookies for Christmas the night before, regular strawberry jam, lemon curd, peach preserves, saw the jalapeno jam and thought it would be a good touch--slight heat w/ the sweet. Good but now I'm thinking I might use a tiny bit of ground up chipotle or something like that in the batter next time.

                                                                                    2. re: FoodFuser
                                                                                      chowser Dec 26, 2006 07:38 PM

                                                                                      Definitely will do it again but I get bored easily and haven't done anything often enough that it becomes a tradition in the chowser household...yet! The poaching was simple brilliance--thanks for the idea. They fall into the gravy in their own little pocket, resting on top so you could still see them. On the stove, the gravy wasn't hot enough to cook the eggs, 10 minutes later, they were still raw (my impulse at the time was to stir it in and have extra creamy gravy-- I was afraid to turn up the heat and have burnt gravy since I couldn't stir w/ the eggs in there) but since I had the biscuits in the oven, decided to pop it in and see what happens. Perfect--except people were about 10 minutes late so the eggs weren't as runny as I wanted but still good.

                                                                                  2. w
                                                                                    webhog Dec 8, 2007 11:56 AM

                                                                                    Here is a challenge, Three Cooks cafe in Petaluma Ca, makes the best gravy. Yet the chef will not reveal what is in the gravy. There is one ingredient i cannot figure???? Looks: light in color, like a simple white sauce. Texture: smooth with very small minced onions?, also chuncks of sausage. Flavor: very slight sweet taste / sausage / plus mystery flavor. Chef says he uses sausage, non dairy creamer, onion. plus ??? I cannot dulicate, something missing....not sage not much onion any ideas? thanks JP

                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: webhog
                                                                                      chowser Dec 8, 2007 12:52 PM

                                                                                      Hard to say based on that--fresh ground nutmeg? Is it a spice or something onion-like--maybe shallots?

                                                                                      1. re: chowser
                                                                                        w
                                                                                        webhog Dec 8, 2007 02:08 PM

                                                                                        Not nutmeg, Shallots? but the chef did mention onions, I've tried onion powder but so far I can't get the sweetness correct. I'm sure he is keeping something to himself...I have tried B/G all over and have never found one as good. The original name of the restraunt was Steve's barbeque. I am stumped...I don't think it's a spice...wish I could send samples..thanks JP

                                                                                      2. re: webhog
                                                                                        ArikaDawn Dec 9, 2007 04:42 AM

                                                                                        My aunt's gravy has a bit of sweet taste as the result of maple sausage in addition to the regular sausage.

                                                                                      3. pikawicca Dec 8, 2007 04:06 PM

                                                                                        Biscuits and gravy is traditionally a cream- or milk-based gravy with sausage. For biscuits, I strongly suggest that you do a Google search for Alice Waters' Cream Biscuit recipe -- sublime!

                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: pikawicca
                                                                                          p
                                                                                          piccola Dec 8, 2007 04:49 PM

                                                                                          That explains why I'm so confused. To me, gravy has always been meat stock/juices thickened with roux. No dairy. Wonder if that's a French-Canadian thing?

                                                                                          1. re: piccola
                                                                                            pikawicca Dec 8, 2007 04:56 PM

                                                                                            Outside of the southeast U.S., gravy means what you mean. "Biscuits and Gravy," however, is a different construct, and has nothing to do with your conventional understanding of "gravy."

                                                                                            1. re: pikawicca
                                                                                              revsharkie Dec 8, 2007 06:00 PM

                                                                                              I grew up right on the edge of the south (extreme southeastern Kansas, within shouting distance of Oklahoma and less than an hour's drive from Missouri), with both southern and yankee heritage. By the time I reached adulthood I had learned how to make gravy three different ways.

                                                                                              First is what I've always called skillet gravy. That's what you have with biscuits. It's basically white sauce made with the grease and stuff left in the skillet after you fry sausage or ham, pork chops, round steak, or even fried chicken, sometimes. You drain off all but a couple tablespoons of the grease, mix in some flour till it gets bubbly, and then stir in milk.

                                                                                              Then you have the gravy you make with your meat drippings. My mom's roast was always a chuck or something braised in an electric skillet. After she took out the meat and potatoes, she would stir in flour mixed with cold water, get it boiling, and cook till it thickened.

                                                                                              The third way to do gravy was how we did our white gravy at the cafeteria. This would be the "cream gravy" that would go on a chicken-fried steak. When I was cooking there at 5:30 in the morning, this was my first task each day (about all I was capable of at that hour, quite honestly). I'd get two gallons of milk out of the walk-in and dump them into a big pan and put on the stove to get hot. Once it was hot I'd stir in a couple big spoonfuls of chicken roux, which the evening cooks made from the drippings after frying chicken--in the cafeteria they fried chicken on the stove in pans, unlike up the ramp in my grandpa's store where they used those pressure broasters. Once that got boiling it would thicken nicely. Voila, gravy.

                                                                                              1. re: pikawicca
                                                                                                p
                                                                                                piccola Dec 9, 2007 10:28 AM

                                                                                                Ahhh mystery solved. Thanks.
                                                                                                Suddenly the debate over the possibility of vegetarian b&g makes sense.

                                                                                            2. re: pikawicca
                                                                                              chowser Dec 8, 2007 05:05 PM

                                                                                              Funny that this thread has been revived just before I start getting ready for our annual Christmas breakfast. Thanks for the cream biscuit recommendation. I did find it online. I have to say the Best Recipe biscuits were the weak link in the breakfast. Just not as flaky and light as I'd like, although I'm thinking shortening would give it the texture I'm looking for.

                                                                                              1. re: chowser
                                                                                                revsharkie Dec 8, 2007 06:09 PM

                                                                                                Looks to me like too little baking powder, and WAY too much sugar for biscuits and gravy.

                                                                                                Without meaning to disparage others' grandma's recipes, as far as I'm concerned this is THE way to make biscuits (measurements are guesses, but pretty close to what we actually put in)...

                                                                                                2 c. flour
                                                                                                1 tsp. sugar
                                                                                                3 tsp. baking powder
                                                                                                3/4 tsp. salt
                                                                                                1/3 c. shortening
                                                                                                2/3 c. milk

                                                                                                Stir dry ingredients with fork. Cut in shortening. Add milk and stir until all ingredients are moistened. Turn onto floured surface and knead 8-10 times. Shape into a ball, pat out to about 3/4" thick. Cut with floured biscuit cutter or rim of a glass. Bake on ungreased sheet at 450 for 10-12 minutes.

                                                                                                A family story about these biscuits, which my mom included in our family cookbook: When Gram made her first batch of biscuits for Papa, he told her to get his mother to teach her how to make them. Grandma Robertson got out the big wooden bowl, reached in the flour bin and scooped out two handsful of flour, threw in some salt and baking powder and a big spoonful of lard. Then she poured in some milk and mixed it up (probably with her hands) until it looked right to her. Gram learned well and made biscuits for Papa every morning before he went to work at 5:00 a.m. They were the best any of us ever had!

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