How to make Biscuits and Sausage Gravy…Part Two:Sausage Gravy!

As mentioned in the Biscuit Post, Sausage Gravy is not only one of my favorite things to make, but one of the few things I learned directly from my mother. Most sausage gravy recipes are pretty much the same, with slight variations here and there, but the most obvious difference between the flavor of different sausage gravies is not in the spices used, the method of preparation, or anything like that, but in the sausage used to make it. The sausage used makes such a difference in flavor, b/c different sausage companies use various spices in their sausage to make it their own. Even my own sausage gravy varies from location to location because the best sausage rolls are usually locally-produced and therefore aren’t available country-wide.

When I lived in Missouri, the best sausage EVER was Oldham’s…I have relatives that live in other parts of the country and still go to Missouri with an empty ice chest just to bring back loads of that stuff. Nothing compares…nothing. And with that particular brand, the key to awesome sausage gravy was mixing the hot sausage with the medium sausage-and the result was perfection.

Now that I’m in Ohio, this is Bob Evan’s country, and I have to say, while overall I’m not a huge Bob Evan’s Restaurant fan, their Biscuits and Gravy can’t be beat in this area of the country! So, when trying to replicate their lovely breakfast dish, I now use Bob Evan’s original sausage. When we move somewhere else, I’ll have to find a new local company to love, b/c I’ve never been a fan of Jimmy Dean’s flavor (or price) and Odom’s Tennessee Pride pretty much makes me sick. So it’s like a new adventure to find the sausage that is best in YOUR area and use it for making sausage gravy!

Sausage gravy is fairly simple if you just understand the concept of a roux-based gravy. A roux is when you mix hot fat (in this case sausage fat, bacon fat, butter, or oil) with flour-in equal amounts, mix it up, cook it a little, and then add liquid (in this case milk) to it, bring to a boil stirring constantly (to keep it from sticking) and then when it reaches a boil, the roux will magically make your gravy thicken. So, knowing this is how it works, let’s get started.

First we need to cook our sausage. I just put it in the pan over medium heat and break it up with a metal spatula (metal b/c it breaks it up better) as it cooks. Partially cooked sausage breaks up more easily than raw sausage, so this is why I use this method. Some prefer to break it up with their hands, and that’s fine, too:
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After you’ve broken it up into crumbles, it will look something like this:
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Continue breaking it up during cooking, and cook until it is no longer pink-this picture is almost done:
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Once the sausage is no longer pink, it is essentially done, and you can push the sausage to one side of the pan (or some people like to remove it completely from the pan, but if you do this, leave the fat from the sausage in the pan), and tilt the pan allow the grease to drain to the opposite side as the sausage:
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Estimate the amount of sausage fat in the pan…if you are using a particularly lean sausage (like Bob Evans) you may not have enough grease to make a roux. You’ll need approximately two whole Tablespoons of fat to make it work. If you have too much fat, drain off what you don’t need. If you don’t have enough/any grease, you can add a Tablespoon of bacon grease, butter, or cooking oil if you are really desperate. Just make sure you have at least two tablespoons of the grease, and add an equal amount (2 tablespoons) of flour to the fat. Reduce heat to low.
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At this point, you can add salt and pepper to the flour, and mix it together with the grease until it forms a paste. I didn’t get a good picture of my roux, but I found a picture for you, just click the link to see what it should look like. It is okay if it is even a little more thick than that-more paste-like…it’ll turn out either way. Now you have a decision to make. The longer you cook the roux (remember your pan has been reduced to low), the darker it will get and the more flavorful your gravy will be…but the darker it gets, the less thickening power it will have. About one minute is just about right for most people to cook their roux before adding liquids. Don’t forget to keep stirring constantly, and you can allow the sausage to be coated in the roux during this time.

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Once you are ready to add the can of evaporated milk and can of water (you can use regular milk without water, but we don’t buy whole milk, and the more fat in the milk, the better your gravy will be, so I often use evaporated for this), go ahead and pour it in the pan, bringing the heat back to  medium and never stopping your stirring/whisking for anything at this point.

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Continue stirring with a spoon or whisk, making sure to get all the way to the bottom so the roux cannot attach itself to the pan, b/c if it does…it’ll burn to the bottom of the pan, give your gravy a burnt flavor, and won’t be able to thicken the gravy like it should. So KEEP STIRRING.

Once the gravy comes to a full boil, it will be pretty much as thick as it is going to get, and you can turn off the heat, but don’t stop stirring until it has cooled enough to stop bubbling. As your gravy thickens, you’ll note that not only does it become thicker and more gravy-like, it will darken and become uniform in color. That’s a good way to know you’ve succeeded.
Congratulations, your gravy is done!
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Now simply crack open a biscuit (or crumble it if you wish) and pour that yummy sausage gravy over it and enjoy!
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Sausage Gravy over Biscuits:
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Jess’s Sausage Gravy Recipe:

INGREDIENTS:
1 lb bulk pork sausage (local brand)
Fat to make 2 Tablespoons (sausage grease, bacon grease, butter, or oil)
2 Tablespoons flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 Can of Evaporated Milk plus one can of water OR 3 Cups Milk

DIRECTIONS:
Crumble and cook sausage over medium heat in a skillet with high sides (cast iron and non-stick work best). Continue breaking up the sausage with your spatula as it cooks. Cook until sausage is brown and has no traces of pink. Once the sausage is done, move it to one side of the skillet with spatula. Reduce heat to low. Tilt the pan slightly, and add or remove fat until you have 2 Tablespoons of fat left. Add 2 Tablespoons of flour, salt and pepper, and mix with a whisk until pasty. Using the whisk, mix the sausage back in and cook for approximately one minute, stirring constantly, scraping the bottom of the pan thoroughly to keep roux from sticking. Add milk and water (or just milk if not using evaporated). Continue stirring with whisk, kick the heat back up to medium, and heat gravy to boiling. Do not stop stirring for anything, and be sure to keep it from sticking to the bottom of your pan while it comes to a boil. Once boiling, remove from heat and continue stirring until it stops bubbling. Serve over biscuits. Makes approximately 4 cups (enough for 4-6 people). Recipe can be doubled if using a pan large enough.

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Finally, I made a batch of busicuts and sausage gravy that tasted good.. all my otheres i put way TOO much flour in because i didnt undersand how to get the sauce thick.. or it would clump to the bottom of the pan.. thank god i finally figured it out! thankyou so much..

    Jennah

    • You’re welcome! Most things in cooking start with a basic premise or method that’s based in science. If you can get the basic method down, your culinary skills often grow quickly from there. For example, using the roux method, you can now make pepper gravy, country gravy, sawmill gravy, cream sauces, cheese sauces, and more! It all starts with the same basic idea-using a roux to thicken a sauce.

      • I just add the flour to the cooked sausage, let it brown, then add evaporated milk. I usually use 3 cans of milk. I never use fresh milk and adding water takes some of the flavor away.

  2. […] Originally Posted by Kaede351 Okay, out of curiosity… I googled a recipe for those american "biscuits and gravy" and yes… it does look a little bit like someone threw up lol. BUT! I'm curious and might just give it a try! The actual "biscuits" sound quite nice… kinda like a crumble with buttermilk… sounds yummy! My questions are!!! What is the "sausage" the recipe asks for? 02907d80f42dfd252025e51.jpg[/IMG] Or is it something completely different?!?!?! haha http://homemadewithlove.wordpress.co…sausage-gravy/ […]


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