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biscuits and gravy

After sampling this dish for years everytime I went to the American Southeast, I made it for breakfast today.

I wouldn't mind knowing more about this dish and getting a few different recipes to try.

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  1. For the biscuits, all I can tell you is that White Lily self-rising flour was my best friend, and now that (a) they've changed the content and (b) stopped selling it in California I am one sad boy. But if you have a handle on biscuit-making, the only barrier to success is inexperience. You just have to learn to use a very light hand and not over-work the dough, ever.

    As for the gravy, as far as Nashville is concerned I'm a heretic, since gravy there is expected to be utterly white, and I want some color. What I do is crumble up about a quarter-pound of sausage and fry that until it's well-browned. Then I sprinkle on two tablespoons of flour and grind plenty of black pepper over that. Stir it with a small cooking fork until the flour gets somewhere between gold and brown, then pour in a cup and a half of warm milk, stirring constantly. No need to whisk, since the flour is well-distributed amongst the meat and is in no danger of going lumpy on you. After it's cooked and thick, taste for seasoning - it probably won't need any - and add more milk if you want the gravy a bit thinner. This is enough for two, maybe three. Any leftover gravy keeps very well covered and refrigerated - I often make too much on purpose for that very reason. Or did back when I could eat like that!

    10 Replies
        1. re: Will Owen

          No such thing as "too much" gravy.

          1. re: ipsedixit

            That is "Capital T Truth" if ever I heard it.


          2. re: Will Owen

            Red eye gravy? Chocolate gravy?

            1. re: Will Owen

              I bought White Lilly back frorm Alabama (to California) when I was there. Didn't know it was changed.

              1. re: Will Owen

                Anyone here tried Southern Biscuit flour? I have used this and found it to be a good sr flour. Also I grew up in the Mountains near Boone NC. I will tell you that you can search the world over and you will not find a better biscuit baking population that the mountain folks . My Grandad made the absolute best biscuits I have ever had. Grandmother had a stroke so for him to get his biscuits , he had to learn at the age or around 73. Honestly , you could not pick up one without it falling apart ( IOW the top was so tender and flakey it cam right off.) i have tried for years to make mine like his and I finally figured it was his gentle touch that did it. As far as gravy goes I know everybody talks about sausage but I have always made mine with bacon drippings. It makes a lighter gravy with a fantastic taste. You can also make a very good gravy after frying chicken using the chicken drippings , of coarse this is only good if you are wanting fried chicken with biscuits and gravy. Finally my favorite gravy is made from fried porkchops, Not a lot of grease in a porkchop but you will get enough to make a very good gravy , serve this with the porkchops along with some cooked apples and biscuits. Dang ,I m headed to the kitchen....................

                1. re: Darin Younce

                  >>>>""" i have tried for years to make mine like his and I finally figured it was his gentle touch that did it."""<<<


                2. re: Will Owen

                  Old post, but new to me!! Your gravy recipe sounds easy & wonderful...going to make some for those biscuits that I learned from you all. My gravy was always decent, but nothing you could crow about. As always, thanks for posting.

                  1. re: Will Owen

                    Hadn't made biscuits and gravy in forever and lost my gravy recipe. This seemed about right, and indeed turned out a wonderful dish, although I did use a good deal more sausage. Thanks, Will.

                  2. I use the Jimmy Dean Hot sausage. Depending on how much sausage I want in my gravy, my standard proportions are 1 lb. sausage to 3 cups of milk. Adjust as you like. For each cup of milk, add 2 Tbsp. Wondra, mix well and add to the previously fried up sausage in your pan. Salt to taste. Add more pepper if you like, but the hot sausage doesn't really need it. Regular sausage will need lots of pepper.
                    Serve over halved biscuits.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: pcdarnell

                      In NC we make it basically the same way. Hot break fast sausage crumbled, browned, removed from pan. stir in flour, for a few minutes, whisk in milk, add sausage back and allow the gravy to thicken. There should be no color other than that lovely white gravy, sausage, and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper for those signature little red flecks.

                      White Lily is essential. I live in Philadelphia now and have my mom ship bags of it!

                    2. I learned about different variations when I asked this a couple of years ago:


                      1. Add to Will Owen's prep - some chopped hard boiled egg, crumbled bacon, and some sliced mushrooms and chopped onions (saute in bacon grease).

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: hannaone

                          Well, see, I was assuming eggs alongside, but all of those things would be good too. I've never really understood why b&g is always flogged as a standalone item; when I have'em at home, they're always on a plate with eggs, hashbrowns or grits, and probably some bacon, too. One thing that bugs me about breakfast in most of the South is yer little bowl of grits here, your little plate of b&g there, your other plate with toast (??) and then eggs and meat on a larger one. At least the diners and coffee shops here in SoCal understand the need to pile everything one one - for starters, that's the only way you can get gravy poured over everything!

                          1. re: Will Owen

                            One large platter for everything is a must.
                            Even with the boiled eggs added into the gravy I take a couple over easy on top of hash browns and a couple strips of bacon.
                            Maybe a pancake or two on the side though so I don't get my syrup and gravy mixed together.

                            1. re: Will Owen

                              In that thread I linked to above, we talked about eggs with biscuits and gravy. I got the best poached eggs w/ runny centers by dropping the egg right into the gravy and heating gently in the oven.

                              Everything on one plate--maybe it's a southern thing but I've met more people in Virginia who hate their food touching than anywhere else.

                              1. re: chowser

                                It's a control thing. We'll only mix what we want mixed and when we want it mixed. (Va. born & raised, but loves a big sloppy plateful of eggs and fixins).

                          2. I was raised in New England without a drop of Southern in me so I don't know about what is authentic. However, I love Alton Brown's sawmill gravy. It is the white kind with a bunch of sausage (I use Jones bulk 1 lb sausage roll found at any grocer near me, either found refrigerated with the sausages in the meat dept. or found frozen by the breakfast sausages).

                            Completely simple and absolutely delicious. Lots of salt and fresh black pepper are key.


                            1 Reply
                            1. re: mels

                              Sawmill gravy is just that plain and simple Mels! Delicious!!!! --- Use your favorite Hot/Mild Roll sausage and......


                            2. My favorite starting point for this dish is two recipes from Jeff Smith's "The Frugal Gourmet Cooks American": Harriet's Southern Biscuits (baked in a cast iron frypan with the hot Crisco ready for the dough), and of course, his rather simple recipe for the sausage gravy (on another page in the same book).

                              What I've added over the years is some bacon fat to the cooking of the sausage, and some Hungarian Sweet Paprika and fresh grated nutmeg to the sauce. As for the sausage itself, I used to buy Bob Evans' but the quality isn't what it was; I'm fortunate to have a German pork store nearby, and now I get the sausage there. Makes all the difference.

                              42 Replies
                              1. re: mcsheridan

                                I love the Harriet's biscuit recipe. Sometimes I use it as he suggests as a crust on a pot pie.

                                1. re: pcdarnell

                                  Man, I just had me one hell of an idea: a sausage and gravy pie with a biscuit crust. OooooEEEE! Trick it up like hannaone suggests with chopped HB eggs and mushrooms, some sautéed onion...

                                  1. re: Will Owen

                                    I've gotten the King Arthur flour catalog a few times in the past, and I'm pretty sure they had White Lily flour in it. Might be worth checking out online, Mr. O.

                                    1. re: Phurstluv

                                      White Lily was bought by Smucker's a few years ago, and last year they shut down the mill in Knoxville and moved production to their Memphis mill. They are also buying wheat from pretty much anywhere instead of using the exclusive suppliers of the past. They insist that there's "no difference" in the product, by which they mean none detectable in lab tests. Shirley Corriher, who is not only a baking guru but a qualified food chemist, has tested the new White Lily and emphatically disagrees. RIP, White Lily...

                                      1. re: Will Owen

                                        Bummer, there just went a fine tradition.

                                        1. re: Phurstluv

                                          Worse than that! There went the flour that allowed a hamfisted dolt like me turn out biscuits so light they'd blow off the plate in a strong breeze. I will try their current flour, though it gripes my soul to give Smucker's any of my money. We'll be in Nashville in October, and I'll get some then.

                                          1. re: Will Owen

                                            Good call. Have some memphis bbq for me & if you come across a divey cajun place near Vanderbilt called Breaux, go for his gumbo - it's to die for.

                                            Back to biscuits, did you see today's LAT article on such? Wonder why they seem to like regular ol' ap flour?? One recipe calls for unbleached, one for ap, and the other, just plain flour. I don't get it.

                                            1. re: Phurstluv

                                              Non-Southerners tend not to get SR flour. I had to learn, being an Illinois boy, that it's NOT cheating. The simple fact is that all mills use their lowest-gluten wheat when making their self-rising, which is reason enough to use it.

                                              Yes, I saw the article, and the author's favorite biscuit has YEAST in it! BISCUITS DO NOT CONTAIN YEAST!! Period! Damn heretics... No wonder they didn't know what kind of flour to use!

                                              Memphis barbecue phooey. I'm gonna get some East Nashville barbecue from one of those night-time places where me and my friends are the only white guys in there. Crow's, if they're still around...

                                              1. re: Will Owen

                                                Yeast?! What's wrong with those people?! Have a great time in Nashville.

                                                1. re: Will Owen

                                                  In NC half people use SR and half use AP. The AP crowd thinks the SR crowd is cheating, but everyone likes the SR biscuits more. My mom is a AP person, me and my grams use the SR. My husband, not a southerner, asked me why my mom's biscuits were heavier, and I said because she's stubborn.

                                                  Yeast is heresy no matter where you live.

                                                  1. re: hollyd

                                                    So how do you adapt a recipe to use SR?? Do you just swap flours or do you have to adjust the leaveners??


                                                    1. re: Davwud

                                                      No adjustment needed in most cases....The leavening, salt, etc are already in the flour..."Self" Rising....


                                                      1. re: Davwud

                                                        exactly. Don't add any. I will usually add a pinch of salt. And I use White Lily SR, pat them lightly into a square pan, score, and bake. Square biscuits, yes, delicious, yes.

                                                        1. re: hollyd

                                                          I shall do a test next time I'm down yonder and have access to WL.


                                                          1. re: hollyd

                                                            The point of Mr. O's lament was that White Lily has changed hands and is not processed the same way as it was in the past. Do you find any difference with the WL flour now, as compared to years ago??

                                                            1. re: Phurstluv

                                                              I do find it inferior. But it's still the best out there. That and cake flour.

                                                            2. re: hollyd

                                                              "And I use White Lily SR, pat them lightly into a square pan, score, and bake. Square biscuits, yes..."

                                                              Aha! There's a place in Culver City, the S&W Diner, that makes their biscuits like that, and nobody can figure out where that came from or why. Aside from their perceived weirdness, they really are not terribly good biscuits, so not the best advertisement for doing it that way.

                                                              1. re: Will Owen

                                                                I find I have to fiddle with them less, making them lighter, and the fact that they're only scored makes them climb higher.

                                                                1. re: hollyd

                                                                  I've made them square in the past. I just made a rectangle blob on my counter and cut up with a board scraper. Very little trimmings for round two.


                                                                  1. re: hollyd

                                                                    The best biscuit recipe I make uses the food processor (very little) and very very little handling. It discourages use of the leftover dough after cutting the biscuits (discourages fiddling altogether). They're the best biscuits I've ever made, and consistently perfect.

                                                                    1. re: hollyd

                                                                      We heard Shirley Corriher speak at Cal Tech a couple of years ago, and one of the bits of wisdom she passed on was to use a pan instead of a sheet for baking biscuits, and to pack them in snugly together to force them to expand upwards instead of outwards. Your method pretty much does the same thing.

                                                                      1. re: Will Owen

                                                                        I make mine in a cast iron frying pan.

                                                                        1. re: bigfellow

                                                                          Pizza stone. Shoulder to shoulder.


                                                                        2. re: Will Owen

                                                                          That shoulder to shoulder method is almost a requirement if you use one of her wet doughs. This dough is so wet that you can barely handle it. You pick up a handful with floured hands, coating with enough flour so it stays together. Then place the ball shoulder to shoulder in rimmed pan. This is supposed to produce some of the lightest biscuits possible.

                                                                          A common style of scone calls for rolling the dough into a 8" circle, and then cutting it into wedges, which are then placed on a baking sheet. I like the shortcut of patting the dough into a 10" dutch oven, and scoring the wedges. This also works fine with plain biscuit dough.

                                                                          1. re: Will Owen

                                                                            that's my mom's method (pie tin used), and they rise well. then they're soft on the sides that touch each other, but crusty-ish on the outside edges (touching the pan's outer edge).

                                                                2. re: Will Owen

                                                                  my mom always uses self-rising for biscuits. she is a southerner, from the florida panhandle. when she was younger, she loved to get white lily when she was up in that area, because it didn't used to be available in south florida, where i grew up. i think she also had white lily self-rising flour. otherwise, she uses gold medal. her biscuits are lightly (VERY LIGHTLY) kneaded just to bring together the dough, then pinched off the roll of dough and lightly coaxed into a roundish shape, then put in a greased and floured pie tin, and lightly pressed so they all touch at the "seams".

                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                    I use White Lily, always have, as did my grandmothers and aunts. I have little to compare it to, but I haven't noticed a difference in it. I always used SR until the last few months - I've been trying to be a successful baker (New Years resolution: no fear of flour and yeast!) - which probably is not going to happen. So I use AP now. That's why I said on another link:
                                                                    thank God for almost- and no-knead bread!

                                                                  2. re: Will Owen

                                                                    Paula Deen made some bicuits with yeast on one of her shows and I was shocked! Then I wondered how they would taste?

                                                                    1. re: Will Owen

                                                                      a biscuit made with yeast is an Angel Biscuit.

                                                                    2. re: Phurstluv

                                                                      Alton Brown's recipe (which I use with great success) calls for AP


                                                                      1. re: Davwud

                                                                        Actually, if you watch the episode, he doesn't use regular AP flour but a lower protein one. I would assume it's White Lily. He also says if you don't have access to "biscuit flour" you can concoct your own from 3 parts regular AP + 1 part cake flour.

                                                                          1. re: taiwanesesmalleats

                                                                            It's been a long time since I watched it so I don't remember that. I think you're right about him using WL. IINM his grandmother is on the show and says that the recipe on a bag of WL is pretty good.

                                                                            I shall give the blend a try.


                                                                      2. re: Will Owen

                                                                        I used it for the first time a couple months ago and had a bit of a time with it. It was so much softer than any AP I'd ever used.


                                                                    3. re: Will Owen

                                                                      Yes there was a big piece about it in the NYT (last year maybe). It ain't the same no mo'. Indiscriminate purchasing of wheat and, if I recall correctly, not even the same milling. My condolences, ardent biscuit makers. :-(

                                                                      1. re: Will Owen

                                                                        Ever since Smucker's bought WL and changed the recipe I've decided not to give them my money. I find the new version of WL to be horrible. I'm still searching for a new brand (just like I'm still trying to find a new corn meal since Martha White was bought out). Right now I'm trying Southern Biscuit flour and Tenda-Bake corn meal.

                                                                          1. re: Davwud

                                                                            Okay, allow me to be dramatic, will ya! :) I didn't mean any harm.

                                                                            1. re: Boudleaux


                                                                              NP. Not saying you're one of these people but I'm guessing there's no shortage of people who wouldn't even have known if it wasn't all over these boards. Now they won't use it.

                                                                              Shirley Correher supposedly could tell from a blind test that it was different.


                                                                              1. re: Davwud

                                                                                It wasn't a "blind test" per se, it was batches of biscuits. When you've baked as many of those as Shirley has you know EXACTLY how this or that flour will behave under these or those conditions, and if it doesn't then they changed the flour. She says they changed the flour, and not for the better. Smucker's, hiding behind their chemists and nutritionists, quotes numbers to prove they didn't, not in any MEANINGFUL (i.e. quantifiable) way. Which shows how much chemists and nutritionists know.

                                                                                1. re: Will Owen

                                                                                  Okay, but in the end, it's the same thing. She is the "Go to guy" sorta speak on baked goods, especially those of Southern persuasion.

                                                                                  She is indeed the master. And she would know.


                                                                    4. re: Will Owen

                                                                      Oh, sir, we are SO going to need further reports on this pie as it develops.

                                                                3. Hi,

                                                                  Every Sunday morning for many years I have made sausage gravy and biscuits for my Husband and two generation of dogs.The pups live a long time and the Hubby is still kicking despite the fat intake :-)

                                                                  Will,we still get White Lily here in Fla...

                                                                  I don't like to use commercial sausage.We have a source for fresh sausage here.A friend has hogs and we get it from him.But,in a pinch I will use store bought.I don't like to use Jimmy Dean for sausage gravy.It is a good meat for patties but it doesn't have enough fat to make a good gravy.

                                                                  I cook the sausage then drain it into a bowl.Saving the liquid.

                                                                  for every T of fat use a T of flour.Put the reserved fat back into the skillet(pref cast iron) till hot but not smoking...add the flour and make a roux.cook for a couple minutes.Add the Milk slowly while steadily whisking.Once the lumps are gone add some fresh ground pepper to taste(depends on the sausage) drop the reserved sausage into the pan.Bring to a good boil then settle it down for about 10 mins.Stiring occasionally and if needed scrape the sides of the pan and add to the mix.

                                                                  I know this was a somewhat crude recipe.But this is the way I have been doing it for a long time and have never had any complaints.:-)

                                                                  Take Care,Robin

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. I'm surprised no one's included a recipe using bacon grease in the biscuits. I know the rise isn't as nice as it is with shortening, but the flavor is incomparable, IMO. Many farm families I knew, growing up in KY, used bacon grease in and on biscuits, sometimes even poured over top after baking, and sausage grease in gravy. Then, of course, they keeled over at 50, but they sure did die happy.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: cimui

                                                                      My mom grew up in Arkansas and made great biscuits with bacon grease! She'd always have a big jar of it in the fridge. They were really yummy! Luisa

                                                                    2. i fry up jimmy dean sausage and lightly brown it crumbled in skillet. then i sprinkle a tablespoon -- maybe a little more -- over the sausage,** and brown it in the sausage & sausage grease till it's a medium-golden brown. (if sausage is too lean, i add a little bacon grease up front....) then i add milk (mom uses water) -- oh, maybe a cup, cup-and-a-half, a little at a time, while stirring. it'll thicken up after cooking for a couple of minutes, and then you can add more milk to thin it. season with salt, fresh pepper, maybe a little cayenne. as it cools, it'll thicken.

                                                                      ** it's been a while since i made it, so i don't recall if you might need more flour. it's flexible.....maybe pc darnell's proportions are correct. but you don't want it to be really gummy, so go easy on the flour when you start learning how to make the gravy. you want it to be mostly sausage -- not mostly white sauce.

                                                                      btw, jimmy dean has a new "natural" sausage that i've bought, but not yet tried. http://www.jimmydean.com/sitecontent/...

                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                        That's pretty much how I make my gravy as well. If I want to be heretical, I drop in a little paprika, garlic and/or chipotles to spice things up.

                                                                        1. re: JungMann

                                                                          you just gave me an idea! you know the red lobster's cheddar bay biscuits with cheddar, butter and garlic? wouldn't cheddar and garlic be a good addition to sausage gravy? aaaooooooh!

                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                            No, no, no, silly...keep the biscuits just the way they are--you serve the B&G with cheesy eggs, of course. 'cause if you're already going to clog your arteries with B&G, you may as well go all the way with cheesy eggs. I do! :) And damn you all, this will have to be breakfast this weekend. Yum, yum, yum!

                                                                            1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                              Ditto the cheesy eggs and weekend breakfast plans!
                                                                              And if you want to really go over the top, add a duck egg for every 2 or 3 chicken eggs to your scrambled eggs!

                                                                              1. re: bakinggirl

                                                                                I'll have to get back to you on that when I figure out where to find a duck egg. ;) A virtual toast to you this weekend at breakfast. Cent'anni!

                                                                                1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                  Too late to order from CT Farm Fresh Express, but we get ours through our CSA at Cedar Meadow Farm in Ledyard. (Of course we're out of duck eggs right now...)
                                                                                  A toast to you as well. Sante!

                                                                      2. As most have posted, fry up some sausage, (I use Tennessee Pride) add flour, (I use as much as it'll take) add milk, (As much as needed) season, (S&P) serve over biscuits (I use Alton Brown's biscuit recipe and Mrs. Sippi says I'm a biscuit master).


                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: Davwud

                                                                          My mother always used bacon fat for her gravy, never sausage.

                                                                        2. Try to find the recipe for the Blue Ribbon Black Powder biscuits served at the Hell's Backbone Grill in Boulder, Utah. Best biscuits I've ever had, bar none. I know there's a recipe in their cookbook.
                                                                          I also like to use hot italian sausage for my gravy, and some rubbed sage.

                                                                          On another note, I made B&G in a dutch oven while camping recently. I forgot to bring parchment, so I had to use a little oil and cornmeal to keep the biscuits from sticking. They came out with deliciously crispy bottoms and fluffy tops.
                                                                          Everything tastes better camping...

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: funklight

                                                                            For anyone interested, the Blue Ribbon Black Powder biscuits recipe:

                                                                          2. If I make extra gravy can I freeze it and re-heat it in the saucepan?

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: thegirlwholovestoeat

                                                                              Yes, just be careful not to burn it. I use the nuculator.


                                                                              1. re: thegirlwholovestoeat

                                                                                yes -- in a warm saucepan, adding more milk and probably salt to taste....

                                                                                but it won't be as good as fresh. to start from scratch doesn't take too long, though.

                                                                              2. I'm going to make a list of all the suggestions and variations this week and take a day next week and make them all just to decide on what I like and what will work best in a restaurant in Canada.

                                                                                Thank you all!

                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                1. re: bigfellow

                                                                                  get out the alka seltzer, bigfellow.

                                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                                    I think that I just might try one or two of the recipes tomorrow morning.

                                                                                    1. re: bigfellow

                                                                                      Made biscuits with sr flour and 3 different types of gravy. Yummmmm!

                                                                                  2. re: bigfellow

                                                                                    It's a noble quest. Wish we could help you out with it. ;) Happy taste testing!

                                                                                    1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                      I can hear my arteries hardening now!

                                                                                  3. drooling in the office... quiet office. This is our weekend breakfast now~ dammit!! and chesey eggs.... o~~~

                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: jeniyo

                                                                                      If you have any of that left over bacon grease use it to pop your popcorn for a great afternoon snack!!!

                                                                                      1. re: scottydlv

                                                                                        Had this for the first time while visiting a friend Memorial Day weekend. I was in the shower when the dual heavenly scents of bacon and popcorn wafted in...needless to say, I had to rewash my hair to remove the rest of the soap, but I managed to get downstairs while it was still hot. YUM!

                                                                                        1. re: scottydlv

                                                                                          Oh man, I did not need to know that!!!!

                                                                                      2. I was born and raised in the Deep South and had some of the best biscuits ever. I didn't have sausage gravy until I was a teenager at a friend's house (still don't like it much). We had tomato gravy, especially during tomato season, and red-eye gravy.

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: bayoucook

                                                                                          oh, tomato gravy -- with bread or white rice! yummy.

                                                                                        2. A big thank you to everyone who helped and gave recipes or advice.

                                                                                          What I kave decided on is Will Owen's recipe with mcsheridan's suggestion of adding bacon brease and Hungarian Paprika (I used smoked).

                                                                                          I'm using SR flour for the biscuits with bacon grease and crumbled wild boar bacon.

                                                                                          Now I'm going to make some tomorrow to welcome my new puppy home.

                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: bigfellow

                                                                                            Well, congratulations! I am sure your new puppy will take after his dad and be a true chowhound. ;)

                                                                                            1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                              Bernese Mountain Dog. My last dog was a Newfoundland. Phred liked Guiness over Murphy's Stout (The traitor!) and corned beef hash.

                                                                                            2. re: bigfellow

                                                                                              Very nice -- on the puppy and biscuit fronts, both! Curious about ratios: Are you using all bacon grease or half bacon grease, half something else (shortening? lard? butter?). Would you please post back with the results of your experimentation if it's not too much trouble?

                                                                                              1. re: cimui

                                                                                                I use half bacon grease and half lard. (yes, yes, I know...you can hear the arteries hardening!)

                                                                                                The results of my experimenting is 4 posts up.

                                                                                                1. re: bigfellow

                                                                                                  Nah, that's a good way to get both flavor and rise. For a while, I was experimenting with this, too -- but I can't eat biscuits, now, so I have far less incentive to make 'em!

                                                                                                  Would love to hear about which combinations of flours / fats and methods you end up preferring.

                                                                                            3. I use cold butter cut into cubes, and use the food processor to insinuate it into the flour. I don't use self-rising flour, I use double-acting baking powder. The food processor trick is that once you've got the butter cut into the flour, add the liquid *all at once* and just run the motor until the dough becomes a cohesive ball.

                                                                                              Take the dough out of the food processor and handle it very gently. No kneading! I roll out and, like others above, cut squares instead of circles (which necessitate re-rolling the dough that's left - that diminishes the flaky lightness of these biscuits).

                                                                                              I also use a tablespoon or two of sugar in the dough.

                                                                                              My gravy contains sausage that I've browned thoroughly and then whizzed in the food processor just until it makes 1/8" lumps -- and 2 tablespoons of very finely minced onion that I've sauteed with the sausage.

                                                                                              I've gotten flak from purists about using the butter, but hey, at least it's not as bad as lard or bacon grease for one's arteries (yeah, like that's a concern for someone who's eating biscuits, gravy, and eggs!)

                                                                                              About the sausage: we're lucky where I come from. There are a few meat markets that make a lovely, slightly spicy/sagey breakfast sausage that's far superior to the frozen stuff available at market.

                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: shaogo

                                                                                                "I've gotten flak from purists about using the butter, but hey, at least it's not as bad as lard or bacon grease for one's arteries..." You obviously did not get the memo: butterfat is practically pure cholesterol, whereas pork fat is largely monounsaturated and contains a nice percentage of those good omega-whatevers; it's practically health food! I do think cold butter cut in at a temperature where it shatters rather than melds does make lighter and flakier biscuits. I'm going to experiment with frozen lard. I will not add sugar, nor will I blend in my sausage mechanically, since homogeneity is not a thing I find appealing in this kind of gravy.

                                                                                                1. re: Will Owen

                                                                                                  OMG - bring on the pork fat - LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                                                                  1. re: Will Owen

                                                                                                    I find my biscuits are lighter and fluffier when I work the butter and lard in with my fingers instead of cutting it in with a FP.


                                                                                                    1. re: Davwud

                                                                                                      But how cold is the fat? Working in room-temperature fat with fingers or anything else is pretty much several ways of doing the same thing. The trick is to incorporate bits of still almost-frozen fat amongst the flour just before baking it.

                                                                                                      1. re: Will Owen

                                                                                                        Both come out of the fridge for cubing. It then goes into the freezer to get really cold. Then it gets worked into the flour with finger tips. It is most definitely not frozen in any way but still cold.

                                                                                                        I think it's only half the equation anyway. The handling is the other half. I get my dough to where I can bifold it like pastry. I do that, flatten with my fingers, repeat. I'll do that about 5 or 6 times then cut out my biscuits. If you're careful to pile the scraps on top of each other to maintain the "Grain" of the dough, the second go round is all but indetectable from the first.


                                                                                                2. I made biscuits and gravy for the first time at home this weekend, after eating my dad's growing up, with Jimmy Dean pork sausage (I thought it was planty fatty) and they were outstanding. Now one question, I have no microwave - what is the best way to reheat? I was thinking of putting the gravy on the biscuits and putting that right into the oven, does this sound like an ok method or is there a better way?

                                                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: thegirlwholovestoeat

                                                                                                    I reheat the gravy in a saucepan on the stove. It usually needs to be thinned with some milk. I wrap the biscuits in foil and reheat in the oven.
                                                                                                    I think your biscuits would get really soggy if you put the gravy on first.
                                                                                                    I just made B&G for the kids yesterday.

                                                                                                        1. re: pcdarnell

                                                                                                          I'm a big fan of splitting leftover biscuits and toasting them in the toaster oven. Great flavor, and they get a bit crunchy, and stay that way when you pour the gravy on. I just love that.

                                                                                                          1. re: Will Owen

                                                                                                            biscuits with tomatoes -- the first tomato sandwiches.

                                                                                                            1. re: kizil

                                                                                                              Love...no LOVE biscuits and tomato!!!

                                                                                                          2. re: pcdarnell

                                                                                                            Love to bust open the biscuits...spread on a little butter....toast till brown on a cast iron griddle.....Good eats!!!

                                                                                                            1. re: pcdarnell

                                                                                                              A good way to reaheat biscuits is to sprinkle a little water on them and heat in the oven . I have done this for years and they come out almost as fresh as when you first bake them.

                                                                                                          3. I grew up in Alabama and on White Lily Flour. Have not tried the "new" White Lily. For the gravy--have always used flour, sausage and milk with plenty of black pepper. This is a good recipe (w/ photos!) for sausage gravy (also good biscuit recipe as well. )


                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: apple342

                                                                                                              well my momma didn't tear up any biscuits just for sausage gravy! ;-).

                                                                                                              ps, that looked like too much grease for the gravy.

                                                                                                                1. re: LaLa

                                                                                                                  the recipe said: "You need about two tablespoons, so if you have more drain it off to leave about that much."

                                                                                                                  if that was only 2 tablespoons of grease, then my eyesight is worse than i'd imagined.

                                                                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                    Judging from how the flour is mixing with the grease, I'd guess there is as much grease if not more, not a 2:1 ratio of flour to grease.

                                                                                                                    The appropriate fat to flour to liquid ratios can be found in any general cookbook recipe for a cream (white) sauce.

                                                                                                              1. I was having trouble finding Jimmy Dean here in Montreal, so I wrote to Sara Lee to find a retailer and this was their response:

                                                                                                                "Dear John,
                                                                                                                Thank you for contacting Sara Lee. It is always important to hear from our consumers, and we appreciate your interest in locating Jimmy Dean sausage. Unfortunately, Jimmy Dean sausage is not distributed in Montreal. However, I would suggest checking at any Super Walmart stores in your area as they will occasionally carry Jimmy Dean products. Thank you for your business! Should you have any comments or questions in the future, please contact us via our website at www.saralee.com or by calling our toll-free number, 1-800-925-3326. Our representatives are available Monday-Friday between the hours of 7am and 6pm CST.

                                                                                                                Sara Lee Consumer Affairs Representative "

                                                                                                                13 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: bigfellow

                                                                                                                  HEE HEE, you got a "Dear John" letter about sausage. So do you have Super Walmart? And do you prefer JD to your local butcher's breakfast sausage? This is kind of cool news. Like we are onto something with our JD. ;)

                                                                                                                  I wish there was a way we could easily survey everyone who's responded already to ask:
                                                                                                                  IS JIMMY DEAN YOUR BREAKFAST SAUSAGE OF CHOICE...AND, IF NOT, WHAT IS? I suppose I just asked. Let's see what happens. We got so focused on biscuits we got sidetrack on gravy tawk! :) I'm a JD girl all the way--bold or hot!

                                                                                                                  1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                    If you're talking the sausage used for B&G, then I use Tennessee Pride. It's a little fattier than JD. I use JD if I'm just having patties.


                                                                                                                      1. re: Uncle Bob

                                                                                                                        Uncle Bob, you handsome devil, you--because you are, in fact, way down south in Dixie, I'm guessing you can purchase Williams sausage at your local supermarket. I will have to send an e-mail to see where I can "pig out/pork out" in my local area. :) Thank you.

                                                                                                                      2. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                        I have no favorite as I'm not a sausage lover but hubster is. I buy Farmer John sausage links, I don't know why though.

                                                                                                                        1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                          Is Farmer John local to your area? I've never seen it. I like both JD and Bob Evans.

                                                                                                                          1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                            sorry I'd not seen this reply.
                                                                                                                            yes Farmer John is in all of our supermarkets.

                                                                                                                          2. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                            Because even now you can hear Vin Scully's voice urging you to buy Farmer John.

                                                                                                                        2. re: bigfellow

                                                                                                                          You are in the land of Montreal Smoke Meat, and the 2nd home to Poutine, and you still want Jimmy Dean? tsk tsk.

                                                                                                                          It shouldn't be hard to make something as good as JD starting with plain ground pork. The other ingredients in JD (all-natural regular) are salt, sugar, black pepper, sage, red pepper, spice extractives. It's not in a casing, so you could add these seasonings to the pork and fry it up without any extra effort.

                                                                                                                          1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                            I've used JD in the states and western Canada. It was the most recommended national brand so I decided to try to find it.

                                                                                                                            I will keep using the stuff my local butcher makes for me.

                                                                                                                            1. re: bigfellow

                                                                                                                              well you're lucky to have a good butcher with good country sausage. it's a real quest around here. i would prefer country sausage to JD, too -- if i could find some nearby.

                                                                                                                              in fact, you've inspired me to go try out the alexandria farmers' market this very morning; some hounds have recommended calhoun's there, for country sausage and virginia ham.

                                                                                                                          2. re: bigfellow

                                                                                                                            They just opened a Longo's here in Aurora (Ontario) and we noticed that they sell JD sausage patties.


                                                                                                                            1. re: Davwud

                                                                                                                              Correction. They're Bob Evans sausage patties. They come in a cello pack like meat comes in at the grocery store.


                                                                                                                          3. I somehow got involved in making this for a group of 25 next week- I think I'm going with Jimmy Dean and letting someone else deal with the biscuits. How much gravy for 25 people? I was thinking 10 cups but worried that people go nuts with it when it's buffet style. I'd never had biscuits & gravy until maybe 2000-2001, didn't grow up with it and it wasn't something that would even occur to me to order!

                                                                                                                            My first taste was at Cracker Barrel, on a road trip. It was ok, but not instant lust. I believe it needs to be eaten when it's freshly made and HOT- otherwise it's biscuits and glue.

                                                                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: Boccone Dolce

                                                                                                                              10 cups sounds close but not quite there, depending on your diners. 1/2 of gravy per person on a single biscuit would be a good serving. Of course, you may have some people who won't want it at all, and 10 cups might be just fine. However, you can never have "too much gravy". Ain't possible. :)

                                                                                                                              1. re: Boccone Dolce


                                                                                                                                1. make in smaller batches. the real question is how much sausage to buy. i haven't made in a while, but one 12 oz. roll of sausage makes about 4-5-ish cups of gravy (i use milk). maybe other hounds have better rations (mine is medium thick). don't forget the ground black pepper!

                                                                                                                                2. if its 25 people, go with the above advice; if its 25 men, bump up the volume, unless they're not familiar with sausage gravy. you might have some people going, "ew, what's this?!"

                                                                                                                                3. don't throw away leftovers -- biscuits can be reheated successfully, split and crusty -- and gravy can be re-warmed, with a little water to thin, and some more salt & pepper (most likely).

                                                                                                                                have fun! (ps. you might want to have butter, jam and syrup available for the non-gravy eaters).

                                                                                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                  1/2 cup of gravy on ONE biscuit? Ok, I def need more. They ARE mostly men, almost all are Floridians plus a few from the islands but they usually don't eat meat, only fish and chicken. Hmmmm, maybe I should do a chicken gravy. Thigh meat?


                                                                                                                                  There will be grits too- is gravy on grits a Southern thang? I'm a Yankee. I must google it at some point.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Boccone Dolce

                                                                                                                                    Oh, hell, I need more, too, but I'm a b&g veteran addict. If it's mostly men, then you're gonna need TWO biscuits for each and a Whole lotta gravy. :D
                                                                                                                                    Why not do one large batch (or as alkapal suggests, two smaller ones) of sausage gravy, and then one of a dark meat chicken gravy? (I might even put some chopped apple and more sage in that one.)

                                                                                                                                    PS: of course, the amount of gravy per biscuit will also depend on the size of the biscuits involved.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Boccone Dolce

                                                                                                                                      1/4 cup gravy per biscuit is (actually, quite) generous.
                                                                                                                                      chicken gravy? huh??!!! nope... make tomato gravy for the non-porkers. give 'em some fried grouper and hushpuppies. then *everyone* will be thrilled to death.

                                                                                                                                      gravy on grits? again: nope-- or "nosirreeeee". maybe just fried sausage patties, or bacon, or fried eggs. but not sausage gravy.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                        Went in a different direction so no biscuits-n-gravy this time. Wanted to thankya kindly ma'am for the advice (as usual)- made a fine baked french toast that was almost as artery clogging.... 8 eggs, 3 c cream..

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Boccone Dolce

                                                                                                                                          boccone dolce, you can't beat good french toast! i love custard, so the "excuse" of using up day old bread is just fine with me. ;-). i've never baked french toast, though.

                                                                                                                                2. i emailed williams' sausage folks -- but mr. williams replied that they don't distribute their sausage anywhere near here in northern virginia.

                                                                                                                                  1. I must be in the minority as I like my gravy more thin and runny. Better for sopping with the biscuits.

                                                                                                                                    1. My Great Grandma Macy (she was VERY VERY Southern!!) taught me the family Sausage Gravy and Biscuit recipe back when I was 7 or so (now 40) and have been making it that way ever since, with one exception, the biscuits.

                                                                                                                                      Her recipe is pretty much the same as everyone else's (must be a Southern thing)..she would make the sausage (we had a pig farm) from scratch, however today I try to make my I own, but really do not have the resources, so I will use Jimmy Dean regular sausage, if I am not able to make my own.

                                                                                                                                      I cook the sausage in a cast iron until golden, (do not drain!!) add ¼ C flour stir together well making a roux and cook for a few minutes to get the “flour” taste out. Turn heat down and add milk, about 2 ½ – 3 cups add salt and pepper and 1 tsp maple syrup. Stir well and let cook for about 10 minutes.

                                                                                                                                      I would serve with biscuits, but with my husband’s Bermudian influence I now serve with Johnny Cakes!!

                                                                                                                                      Sorry Nana Macy, Johnny cakes are better than your biscuits!

                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                      1. re: bermudagourmetgoddess

                                                                                                                                        Can't help but ask if you we familiar with" festival!" . Of course, Bermuda is not the West Indies, but it's close. My moms family is from Nevis, and heavily influenced by Barbados and "Triny" cooking, and I grew up with "bakes". My husband was born in Jamaica, and his family Introduced me to "Festival!". oh, md my dads family is from Alabama going way back. He liked "hush puppies".I guess fried dough does not always equal fried dough.

                                                                                                                                      2. I like bacon gravy even more than sausage gravy. Here's how I make it.

                                                                                                                                        MeeMaw's Bacon Gravy

                                                                                                                                        Makes about 2 cups of bacon gravy

                                                                                                                                        8 to 12 pieces of uncooked bacon
                                                                                                                                        (1/4 cup Bacon drippings (grease) - this comes from the fired bacon)
                                                                                                                                        1/4 cup all purpose flour
                                                                                                                                        2 cups milk
                                                                                                                                        1 Tablespoon bacon bits (optional for extra flavor)
                                                                                                                                        1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
                                                                                                                                        1/4 teaspoon pepper, or to taste

                                                                                                                                        Cook about 8 or 12 pieces of bacon until crisp and
                                                                                                                                        done in a skillet. Remove bacon. Leave grease in pan.

                                                                                                                                        You should have about 1/4 cup of bacon drippings (grease) in the pan.
                                                                                                                                        If you don't have enough grease to make 1/4 cup, add cooking oil, melted
                                                                                                                                        butter or melted margarine to make it up to 1/4 cup. If you have to add
                                                                                                                                        extra oil then also add the bacon bits later for extra flavor.

                                                                                                                                        To the bacon drippings in the skillet, add the flour. Stir with fork
                                                                                                                                        until the flour and grease form a smooth paste. Cook and stir over
                                                                                                                                        medium heat about 5 to 10 minutes until mixture starts to turn
                                                                                                                                        golden brown. Keep the heat low and keep stirring so you won't burn it.

                                                                                                                                        Slowly add milk, stirring constantly. Add about 1/2 cup of milk at a
                                                                                                                                        time and stir out all the lumps. Keep adding until all the milk
                                                                                                                                        is used. Stir out all the lumps. Crumble 6 or 7 pieces of the fried
                                                                                                                                        bacon back into the gravy. If you are adding bacon bits, add them
                                                                                                                                        now, also. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook gravy until it boils,
                                                                                                                                        turn the heat down and simmer it for for a few minutes until it
                                                                                                                                        thickens. Keep stirring the bottom of the pan so it won't stick and burn.

                                                                                                                                        When it looks thick enough, it's done. Turn off the heat.
                                                                                                                                        Stir in a tablespoon or two of butter for more flavor if you want.
                                                                                                                                        Serve over toast, biscuits, mashed potatoes, etc.

                                                                                                                                        1. Easter breakfast this year included a bunch of things to eat. The biscuits and gravy were not typical which was the idea. My dough was more of a roll than a biscuit:
                                                                                                                                          oil/water/white wine/2 kinds of cheddar cheese.
                                                                                                                                          the gravy: butter/bacon grease/sausage grease/flour/house seasoning/poultry seasoning/milk/ground cooked FJ's sausage (1/2 pkg = 5 links) 8 strips bacon fried then crumbled (that's where the grease came from) 3 leaves of sage that I put in whole then pulled&chucked.