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GRAVY? For buscuits and gravy?

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I fell in love with this dish in the South. I think the general recipe is to brown and render sausages, add flour and whole milk to the sausage and fat, and season to taste.

But I keep striking out. What's the best/easiest recipe?

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  1. This woman has a lot of great recipes on her food blog. Here is her recipe for B&G:
    http://thepioneerwomancooks.com/2007/...
    She keeps her sausage whole whereas my dad always made it by throwing sausage pieces back into the gravy. But the technique is pretty much the same.

    1. You've got the ingredients. Might be a matter of technique. Here's the way my great-grandmother taught me to do it:

      Crumble a pound of breakfast sausage into a skillet (pref. cast iron) and cook over medium heat until well-browned. Remove from skillet.

      Adjust the amount of fat in the skillet to 2 tablespoons. Reduce heat to low, whisk in 4 tablespoons of flour, and cook for a few minutes.

      Remove skillet from the heat and gradually whisk in 2 cups dairy (bluejohn, milk, cream, or some combination thereof). Return to medium heat and continue whisking until the gravy thickens.

      Salt and pepper to taste, add the sausage back in, and serve over hot biscuits.

      14 Replies
      1. re: alanbarnes

        Is the "crumbled pound of sausage" raw? (I assume so...and that I just twist each link in the middle to break the casing and squeeze out the raw meat.)

        1. re: NAtiveNewYorker

          In my house, we always make it with ground breakfast sausage and not sausage in the casing. That's how grandma taight me. Something along the lines of a Jimmy Dean pork sausage. Now, I am totally craving B&G. Mmmm.

          1. re: NAtiveNewYorker

            Definitely raw. I use bulk sausage, not sausage in a casing. Your local butcher may make it, or you can buy it in a plastic chub (Jimmy Dean brand is the most widely distributed).

            You can also make it yourself; it's just seasoned ground pork. Salt, pepper, and sage are a good start; allspice, thyme, bay leaf, and paprika are also welcome additions. I use Julia Child's all-purpose herb and spice mix--there's always a small jar of the stuff in my cupboard. It's two parts each ground bay leaf, clove, mace, nutmeg, paprika, and thyme, one part each ground allspice, cinnamon, and saovry, and a little white pepper.

          2. re: alanbarnes

            What is "bluejohn"?

            1. re: Hal Laurent

              It's the stuff that's left after you take all the cream from milk. According to my forebears, good for hogslop and not much else. Now grocery stores sell it as skim milk.

              1. re: alanbarnes

                no kidding...bluejohn....now there's a little history for ya...thanks for sharing!

                1. re: alanbarnes

                  We called it "blue milk", and yes, it went to make slop for the hogs.

                  1. re: Sharuf

                    When I was a kid and lived in Japan we were required to buy all of our foodstuff from the base commissary. The only milk available to us was reconstituted dry milk. The name on the carton was Blue Seal. After several years there we were reassigned to the US and on our first layover in Hawaii when my parents ordered milk for us we could not drink it. We had become so accustomed to Blue Seal that regular whole milk was like trying to drink heavy cream.

                    1. re: Candy

                      I fondly (?) remember the stuff you talk about. It was produced for the military and the carton was labled "Filled Milk". Nasty stuff. My kids grew up drinking Japanese milk because we chose to live on the economy for the 10 years we were there.

                      I swear, Japanese whole milk is higher in fat than it's American cousin.

                  2. re: alanbarnes

                    Another name for that is whey. :) What is buttermilk again? gotta look that up. :)

                    1. re: Morganna

                      If you take milk and turn it into cheese, the liquid that's left behind is whey. If you take cream and make it into butter, the liquid that's behind is buttermilk.

                      1. re: alanbarnes

                        Ah hah! Thanks :)

                      2. re: Morganna

                        It's also known as clabbered milk. It's actually low-fat despite the name. It can also be made at home with a little acidity and low-fat milk, but I'm not sure of the exact ratios.

                      3. re: alanbarnes

                        My grandma used skim to feed the cats with the left overs. eewww...bluejohn, very funny

                  3. Here is my SIL's recipe and it is very tasty!

                    Sausage gravy

                    Brown 1 lb bulk sausage until crumbled
                    Chop a stalk of green onion (only the green part)
                    Add onions to browned meat and cook for a minute or so
                    Remove sausage, leaving grease in pan, Set aside
                    Add some oil to drippings and 2 - 3 tblsp flour (keep a ratio of 1 tblsp oil to 1 tblsp flour)
                    Brown the flour to make a roux. It needs to be good and brown and not smell like flour.
                    Add milk and bring to boil, whisking continuously
                    Bring heat down and cook to desired consistency
                    Add salt, pepper and worchestershire sauce to taste. Put sausage back in to warm it.
                    Serve with biscuits.
                    Don't get fat! Use only for holidays - it's addictive. LOL!

                    16 Replies
                    1. re: danhole

                      Thanks danhole.

                      Is the bulk sausage raw or cooked? By "green onion" do you also mean scallion?

                      1. re: NAtiveNewYorker

                        The bulk sauasge is raw. Browning it is what gives you the grease you need to make the gravy.
                        I've never heard of green onions or worchestershire sauce in B&G before. I wonder if it is a regional variation (I'm Texan). Danhole, what part of the country is your SIL from?

                        1. re: Honey Bee

                          Honey Bee,

                          What do you season yours with (other than salt and pepper)?

                          1. re: NAtiveNewYorker

                            That's it. Salt and lots(!) of fresh ground pepper. If I really want to get fancy then I'll add sage and hope grandma doesn't scowl at me looking down from heaven.

                            1. re: NAtiveNewYorker

                              Generally sausage gravy is seasoned minimally, which I find a little too bland and rich. You can cheat a little with seasoned salt, garlic powder, paprika and cayenne. It can also do well with a bit of sage and/or thyme to bring out the flavor of the sausages.

                              1. re: JungMann

                                My favorite, favorite combination of flavors breakfast sausage sage and brown sugar. They're amazing together.

                                1. re: JungMann

                                  I get around this by using spicy breakfast sausage. :)

                            2. re: NAtiveNewYorker

                              The bulk sausage is raw when you put it in the hot skillet and, after you cook it until it is browned and crumbly, it is cooked. If you buy sausage links, you would slice the links to get the sausage out. "Green onions" refers to small baby onions sold in bunches with their green tops attached.

                              It would help in all of these recipes if you heat the milk before pouring it into the skillet.

                              1. re: NAtiveNewYorker

                                Raw sausage, browned and crumbled. The green onions are long stalks of green with onion bulbs on the end. Same difference as scallions I suppose. You can add as much as you want. I like to have a lot of it, but my DD doesn't like it at all. The worchestershire gives it a little kick. I don't use very much, but it isn't as good without it.

                                We are all born Texans, right here in Houston.

                                1. re: danhole

                                  Wow, Houston. Guess I need to branch out in my B&G eating.

                                  1. re: Honey Bee

                                    Like the old commercial says "Try it, you'll like it." I had never had it that way before but it beats all other hands down, for me anyway!

                                  2. re: danhole

                                    Green onions in sausage gravy? What will you wacky Texicans think of next?

                                    I'm gonna try that this weekend.

                                    1. re: danhole

                                      I think green onions are delicious and add so much flavor! I have never added them to my gravy, and gosh now I think I've been missing something! Will try this.... it is a drizzly mildly wet cool day here in no cal and the b & g is looking so tempting.....
                                      Do you saute them first?

                                      1. re: chef chicklet

                                        You don't saute them, you add them to the browned sausage and cook for a minute or two. If you wanted them cooked more you could add before the sausage was completely browned, but I like them cooked like the recipe calls for.

                                  3. re: danhole

                                    "don't get fat--use only for the holidays"

                                    LOL...damned straight...between the sausage, gravy & biscuits, it's practically a total-fat meal...but oh-so-good...I also use Jimmy Dean (sage) sausage, crumbled up in skillet, browned...I just add the flour to the pan with the browned meat in there...it melts right in...then let that cook for a few minutes, stirring, to lose the floury taste; add in the milk, let thicken and then I always add a few dashes of tabasco. I believe I was inspired by The Frugal Gourmet on PBS way back in the '80's; he cooked it without taking the browned meat out of the pan.

                                    1. re: danhole

                                      Mine is basically the same, but I like a little cayenne powder to punch it up a little.

                                    2. I hate messing with lard or solid shortening when making biscuits. I also hate cleaning the measuring cups smeared with lard or solid shortening. Finally, I hate dealing with trying to roll out sticky dough. It sticks to my hands, the rolling pin, the board, etc. You
                                      have to add more flour to the bread board, making another mess.

                                      This recipe avoids all of that by using canola oil as a shortening. The dough in this recipe is not sticky. It's easy to handle. I don't even use a rolling pin. I just press it flat with my hands. I never seem to have buttermilk on hand. This recipe uses milk and vinegar as a substitute. I always have those in stock.

                                      Even with those shortcuts this recipe makes flaky delicious biscuits.
                                      Give it a try.

                                      I call them No Doh! Biscuits

                                      3 cups all purpose flour
                                      4 teaspoons baking powder
                                      3 teaspoons granulated sugar
                                      3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
                                      3/4 teaspoon salt

                                      1/2 cup canola oil

                                      3/4 cup milk
                                      2 teaspoons distilled vinegar

                                      Preheat oven to 400 F.

                                      Measure flour, baking powder, sugar, cream of tartar and salt into a stand mixer bowl. Mix on low for 15-seconds.

                                      With mixer on low, add canola oil slowly to dry ingredients. Set mixer to medium and
                                      mix for 30-seconds or until mixture looks like dry cornmeal.

                                      Stir vinegar into milk. Add milk/vinegar to flour mixture and mix on medium for 15-seconds.

                                      Turn dough out onto bread board and knead several times. Roll dough out to 1/2 to 3/4 inch thickness.

                                      Cut with biscuit cutter and place on baking sheet.

                                      Bake on middle oven rack at 400 F. for 20-minutes.

                                      Makes 1-dozen, 2-1/2 inch diameter biscuits.

                                      1. My American cousins introduced me to this. OMG delicious.
                                        Sorry to do this but if you're not already heading for the kitchen to make these check out this picture and you will be.

                                        http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia...

                                        7 Replies
                                        1. re: Mila

                                          WOW. Food perfection!

                                          How did you cook the potatoes?

                                          1. re: Mila

                                            OMG that looks divine! I love potatoes!

                                            1. re: Mila

                                              Holy Crap, Mila! My mouth is WATERING!! ;-)

                                              1. re: WildSwede

                                                I take no credit. When I was looking for a recipe I found this picture and nearly fell out of my chair.
                                                It's hard to replicate in Canada with no Jimmy Dean sausage but I keep trying, then going to the gym, then trying again, then...

                                                1. re: Mila

                                                  Mila, I have felt your pain, and finally resorted to making my own sausage, biscuits and gravy. Talk about heart-attack heaven... but my tastebuds and tummy will die happy.

                                                  I think I got this Jimmy Dean knockoff on this board from Davvud. I use more red pepper flakes than called for, as I like my sausage spicy!!

                                                  16 ounces 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

                                                  I think I also followed Davvud's instructions for the gravy and it was perfect. But this thread has basically the same approach, so I won't bother posting it.

                                                  Here's the biscuit recipe I use -- takes no time to throw together.

                                                  3 cups all purpose flour
                                                  2 tablespoons sugar (cut back for savoury biscuits)
                                                  4 teaspoons baking powder
                                                  1 teaspoon salt
                                                  1 teaspoon baking soda
                                                  3/4 cup (1 1/2sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
                                                  1 cup buttermilk (2 – 3 Tbs more)

                                                  Preheat oven to 425°F. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in large bowl to blend. Using fingertips, rub 3/4 cup chilled butter into dry ingredients until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk and stir until evenly moistened. Using 1/4 cup dough for each biscuit, drop biscuits onto baking sheet, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake until biscuits are golden brown on top, about 15 minutes.

                                                  1. re: TorontoJo

                                                    Perfect, thanks for typing that out TorontoJo. Am printing off the recipe and will try this weekend. I have always used my basic "Five Roses" tea biscuit recipe which looks the same as yours, minus the sugar.

                                                    Have a great weekend.

                                                    1. re: Mila

                                                      You're welcome, good luck -- the cool fall weather has me craving B&G now. I should note that chances are your sausage will be much leaner than a package of Jimmy Dean, so you won't get a lot of fat when you cook it. I just add some butter to the pan before making the roux for the gravy to make up for the lack of fat.

                                            2. being gravyhound, i have a pressing need to weigh in on this one - even though the key points have been made. i use 1/2 hot and 1/2 mild flavored sausage (jimmy dean is good as suggested - here in the South we have so many to choose from). slice sausage into patties (or form into patties if bulk) and cook until crispy brown on outside in a well-seasoned iron skillet. for the roux, make certain that you brown the flour and use in the suggested (alanbarnes') proportion of grease/flour/liquid or even a little less flour. there's nothing worse than the white pasty flour paste that so many "home cooking" joints try to pass off as gravy. did i mention pasty? i add milk (white milk/sweet milk if you're old enough to remember calling it that - i'm not!) and then crumble/chop 1/2 of the cooked sausage back into the gravy just as it begins to thicken. keep stirring. salt and fresh ground black pepper! to taste but leave the green onions in the fridge for some other dish. serve over hot homemade biscuits with sides of farm fresh eggs and sliced homegrown tomatoes for color.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: gravyhound

                                                Agree! If the sausage is well flavored you really won't need onion or anything more than salt & lots of pepper. I don't ever use milk, but do keep half & half for coffee, so that goes into the gravy. I prefer a bit of sage so use Neese country sausage. Browning the flour is key, as is adding it slowly until all of the oil has been incorporated into the flour.
                                                Wish I had read this before I went for groceries this evening - now I can't wait for Sat.a.m. to have this for breakfast! http://www.neesesausage.com/default.htm

                                              2. I'll use the hot sausage only or add red pepper flakes, loose not links. And then I also add a bit of chicken stock and whole milk salt and pepper, garlic powder. Saute the sausage with the white small dice onion. Add flour, and make a thick paste then add chicken stock and whole milk thicken then gravy and salt and pepper again. Sometime I add a touch of thyme.

                                                1. Try adding some bacon drippings in making the gravy.

                                                  1. I have a question that is somewhat related. Years ago, I used to rent a room from a lady. She was originally from Idaho and did some of the best cooking I have ever had. She would make biscuits & gravy but she would serve it with some sort of pepper (bell) chutney-type mixture on top. I have searched and searched but cannot for the life of me figure it out. I am fairly certain that it had vinegar in it along with the bell peppers. Sort of sweet but with a tang. Does anyone know what it is? I believe it is a recipe from Idaho. TIA!!

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: WildSwede

                                                      Sounds like pickalilly (sp) or chow-chow. My Dad used to make it every year when he canned the garden goodies. His particular type was vinegary, spicy and sweet. I think you can make it from any combinations of garden vegetables. My Dad was from the midwest but spent time in the Navy. I'm not sure what the origin is. We did live in Florida, Texas and then retired to Oregon, so he could of gotten the recipe during those moves. Try searching for picalilly (and I know I am not spelling it right)

                                                      1. re: chef chicklet

                                                        That was my immediate thought, too. You get results with googling "chow chow relish."

                                                        1. re: yayadave

                                                          Thanks! I actually was thinking chow-chow and have two unopened jars of the stuff in my pantry. Thanks again!

                                                    2. What is the problem with your attempts? Is it a matter of consistency, or taste?
                                                      paulj

                                                      9 Replies
                                                      1. re: paulj

                                                        Both. 1) It lacks taste (I think it's a lack of sausage), and 2) the gravy is too floury

                                                        Based on this post i need to:
                                                        cook the roux more (and without the sausage)
                                                        brown more sausage (and start with raw, not cooked)
                                                        season better

                                                        1. re: NAtiveNewYorker

                                                          Yeah, make sure you cook the flour, and add plenty of black pepper. And make sure you have plenty of time to eat and digest. My lord, it's good when you do it right. Oh, and use Jimmy Dean or something, like others have suggested. I don't think it would work as well with some fancy artisan sausage.

                                                          1. re: alysonlaurel

                                                            Which Jimmy Dean should I choose? "Fresh?" Fully Cooked?" "Fresh Links and Patties?" (Their website has a lot of choices.)

                                                            I've got to get this great dish right for once...

                                                            1. re: NAtiveNewYorker

                                                              I would try fresh.

                                                              1. re: NAtiveNewYorker

                                                                The website isn't much help. Here's a picture of a 3-pack:

                                                                http://www.samsclub.com/shopping/navi...

                                                                1. re: NAtiveNewYorker

                                                                  Look for sage or breakfast sausage. You might find a local or regional brand that's just great.

                                                                  1. re: yayadave

                                                                    Sage breakfast sausage is a little wasted in B&G, I'd recommend getting the Jimmy Dean spicy hot breakfast sausage in the chub.

                                                                  2. re: NAtiveNewYorker

                                                                    Definitely "fresh" in the tube. It's just a lump of raw sausage packed up in plastic. Little southern grandmothers make it into patties or just crumble it. It's really useful. Definitely fresh, though. You could also try Neese's.

                                                                2. re: NAtiveNewYorker

                                                                  Are you happy with the results when you try to make a cream sauce (white sauce or bechamel)? That is the sauce made with flour, butter, milk, and salt and pepper to taste? Biscuit gravy is the same thing, but with a sausage and sausage drippings base instead of butter.

                                                                  In restaurants it is possible they start with a commercial gravy base, adding sausage to their own liking, whether it be freshly cooked, or left overs from the sausage served as patties or links.

                                                                  paulj

                                                              2. This thread was really helpful to me when I was making gravy. Good hints on poaching eggs in the gravy (so you get those runny yolks over all of it).

                                                                http://www.chowhound.com/topics/352702

                                                                1. Lately I've been adding spice to my sausage before cooking it. I start with a pound of my grocery store's homemade bulk sausage and add a tablespoon of either pureed chipotle in adobo or Sriracha. I form the sausage into eight patties, but short each one so I end up with about another patty's worth that I cook loose in the pan after I cook the patties.

                                                                  After that's all done I add some butter to the pan if needed (my grocery store's sausage doesn't put out much fat) and stir in some flour. I cook that until it's nice and bubbly, then stir in milk a little at a time, getting it bubbling so it thickens. I add milk till it's the thickness I want. Then I taste it and see what seasonings it needs. Almost ALWAYS have to add more salt, and an abundance of fresh ground pepper.

                                                                  Here's an interesting thing to do with your biscuits and gravy. There is a local chain down around where my parents live that's pretty good to go to for breakfast. They do something called a "Country Benedict." You take a biscuit, cut it in half, top each of the halves with a sausage patty and an egg cooked however you prefer them. Then you put gravy over the top of that.

                                                                  1. I am really getting hungry. Surprised no one has mentioned Purnell's Old Folks Whole Hog Country Sausage found in the freezer case, best ready made sausage I have found, Get the 3 lb box of patties and keep the extras in your freezer. I like the regular or spicy recipe but Hot is available. Patties go right from the freezer to the pan, brown well in a few minutes, remove, make your gravy in the pan as others have described, then add back some of the the crumbled patties, serve as others have suggested. Sorry I use biscuits in a can from the cooler case, they are so easy and this is not a heart healthy dish. An occasional guilty pleasure.

                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                    1. re: dijon

                                                                      My husband loves this dish, but in his family they used bacon instead of sausage. It's pretty easy to make the substitution. Fry up some thick bacon, make your gravy -- you'll actually have to pour off some of the fat. Make biscuits and serve the gravy over the biscuits with crumbled bacon. I add tons of ground pepper, which really adds zest to it.
                                                                      Personally, I never touch the stuff, although I make it for him (I DO taste minimally for seasonings). I find it disgusting.

                                                                      1. re: Fuser

                                                                        My Mom used to make bacon gravy. In addition on occasion she would also make hamburger gravy and tuna gravy. Sometimes these were served over toast instead of biscuits.

                                                                        1. re: Antilope

                                                                          Hamburger gravy. and tuna gravy! Add noodles and you have a Hamburger helper or a Tuna helper!

                                                                          1. re: danhole

                                                                            Or chicken gravy - use bacon grease for the roux or butter if you want refined. Add the milk then the left over chicken pieces and season with S&P and herbes de provence.

                                                                      2. re: dijon

                                                                        Sounds like a nice sausage, unfortunately we don't have it in Vermont. :)

                                                                      3. Here's a thread from a year ago:
                                                                        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/345805

                                                                        1. Gravy made with hamburger and milk, served over toast. Yup, you know what I'm talking about!

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: bkhuna

                                                                            I have always done the same as Antilope. making gravy with bacon grease. I like the
                                                                            recipe for biscuits(JP big daddy`s biscuit`s recipe on allrecipes.com). I cook a lb. of
                                                                            thick smoked bacon, save the grease for gravy while my biscuits are baking. I like biscuits that are about 2- 2 1/2 inches high about 2-3 inches wide, nice and browned on top and bottom. some times I fix potatoes and onions to go with my gravy.