If you grew up anywhere near the south, then you probably have an appreciation for good sausage gravy. There is just something about that creamy, spicy, sausagy goodness that can’t be beat. I remember going to my grandmas house and getting excited when she would whip up a batch for breakfast. It was one of my favorite things to eat. After she passed, my mom started making it using grandmas recipe and after some time I learned how to make it. Of course with all of my recipes I have tweaked it a little over the years and come up with my very own version of it.
Now I have dined at a lot of restaurants that claim to have southern style sausage gravy, but for the most part they sadly fall short in a couple of areas. Either they just don’t have enough sausage in their gravy or they don’t use enough black pepper. Black pepper is key in great southern style sausage gravy. Well for that matter it is the key in a lot of southern style cooking period. Good sausage gravy should have both flavor and a good consistency. It needs to be thick with lots of chunks of actual sausage. It should also have a creamy flavor with a nice taste of black pepper and a slight taste of cooked flour. Most restaurants just serve bland generic tasting gravy. Who wants that? Yuck…
I have had a lot of people ask me for this recipe and I while I have always kept it tightly guarded I decided now was as good a time as any to go ahead and share it. The funny part about this recipe is that it is not that complicated and only has a handful of ingredients. You just have to do things in the right order and make sure to cook them properly. I’ll get to that in the directions below. Now, Let’s get started.
What you need before starting: Cast Iron skillet (or other frying pan that is NOT non stick, but I highly recommend a cast iron skillet if you have one), long-handled wooden spoon, spatula.
1 lb Jimmy Dean spicy breakfast sausage (make sure to use the spicy kind)
3/4 cup all purpose flour
5 cups whole milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
Biscuits. I used Pillsbury grands flaky layers biscuits.
Heat your skillet to medium high heat and add the sausage. Break it up as you brown it. Now when I say brown the sausage. I mean BROWN THE SAUSAGE. Most people tend to think the grey color ground meat turns when it is being browned is “brown”. Nope… You want a nice crispy brown. The gravy wont taste the same if you don’t really brown that meat.
See the pictures below. The one on the left is not browned yet. The one on the right is what you want it to look like.
While the sausage is cooking. Preheat your oven according to the directions on the biscuit package and get those started baking.
Once the sausage has been (properly) browned reduce heat to medium and start adding the flour. Make sure to stir it around until it is coating all of the sausage. Now continue to stir it and cook the flour for a couple of minutes. Next you want to start slowly adding the milk. Add about a cup at a time stirring it the entire time as the milk is being slowly poured in. Stir for a minute and let it heat back up before adding the next cup. It will be really thick at first but as you get more milk in you will see your gravy start to take shape. Don’t get impatient and try to add all the milk at once. This is important. You want to do it slow and steady. This will give you a nice smooth and creamy gravy. Depending on how thick or thin you like your gravy you may not need all of the milk. I used about 4 and a half cups. Since this is southern style sausage gravy it is supposed to be pretty thick. However, if you like a thinner gravy then you will just want to add a little more milk until you get the consistency that you like. (but thicker is better).
Now that you have your gravy to the desired thickness, add the salt and black pepper and stir it in good. I went a little light on the black pepper in this recipe but just a note. True southern style gravy is heavy on the black pepper. If you want it the way it is truly meant to be then add another half teaspoon.
Your biscuits should be about done now so all that is left to do is plate this wonderful masterpiece that you have just created. As I write this I was laughing to myself, thinking why should I need to tell someone how to plate biscuits and gravy but remembered a time I served this at a pot luck years ago and one of my colleagues had no idea how to eat biscuits and gravy. The poor guy scooped gravy into his bowl and then started dipping his biscuit into it and eating it kind of like you would chips and salsa. All I could do was shake my head. So here is how it should be done.
Take a biscuit and with your fork split it down the middle so you have to round halves on your plate. Then take a couple of big spoonfuls of gravy and cover the tops until you really can’t see much (if any) of the biscuit at all. That’s how you eat biscuits and gravy.
I really hope you all enjoy this recipe. It is one I have been making for years and I get lots of requests for around the holidays. Now it is yours to enjoy with your friends and family.
Thanks for Reading,