Southern Red-Eye Gravy Recipe

(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Red-eye gravy is a Southern favorite. It requires just two ingredients: the drippings of pan-fried country ham and black coffee. It may sound unusual, but it’s quite tasty, with a bitter coffee flavor contrasting the ham fat’s sweet-saltiness. Easy to cook and a fun way to spruce up an old-fashioned Southern meal, red-eye gravy is often served over ham and sopped up with¬†buttermilk biscuits. Many people also enjoy it on top of grits, cornbread, or fried potatoes.¬†

Also known as red ham gravy, bird-eye gravy, cedar gravy, and bottom sop, the curious name “red-eye gravy” can easily be explained. It’s believed to reference the slightly reddish circle of liquid fat that forms on the gravy’s surface when it’s reduced.

Some people add butter or lard to help develop the sauce, but it’s generally not necessary. A quality ham that has a good amount of fat should render enough drippings to develop what’s basically a thin sauce.

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