While I’ve shared a basic Southern gravy recipe here before, if you’re thinking of making biscuits and gravy it can’t be done with restaurant style gravy. It must be made with sausage gravy. Sausage gravy is a Southern staple. It can be found in nearly every restaurant and diner in the South and the Southwest and is undoubtedly made in nearly every home in the area as well.
Nothing quite compares with biscuits and gravy. It’s not a fancy meal. It shouldn’t be made into a fancy meal. It’s peasant food at its best. Pure, simple and filling. It is food born from a need to feed a family with only what was on hand and feed them well.
This is my mother’s recipe. I have not adapted it, modified it or otherwise mucked with it. On the contrary, I’ve invested over 20 years of my life trying to perfect my mother’s technique. At first I tried to make it my own. These attempts resulted in some pretty good gravies, but they just weren’t “right.” It’s taken a long time, but I think that if my mother was still with us, this gravy would make her proud.
The real secret behind sausage gravy is in both the sausage and in the way it is cooked. The sausage used in this dish should be of the bulk store variety and preferably be very fatty. Also, low, gentle heat should be used to cook the sausage. This low cooking temperature allows the fat in the sausage to completely render out of the meat. The resulting grease is the heart and soul of a great gravy. It ads the base flavor, body and character of everything that comes later.
Another key to success is in cooking the sausage properly. The aim here isn’t to just barely get your sausage cooked through, but to take it just a tiny bit past that point. At the end the sausage should be slightly dry. It should then be strained for at least five minutes through a fine mesh sieve or colander and the drippings should be reserved.
From this point making sausage gravy is an identical process to any other flour-based pan gravy. Return the oil to the pan, add flour and brown, season, add milk and stir, stir, stir! I use all-purpose flour in my gravies, but there are those who swear by Wondra. I’m not going to judge, but I’ve never ended up with lumpy gravy, so all-purpose is just fine by me.
Of course a gravy of this caliber needs something to be lavished upon. The go-to (and highly preferred) vehicle for gravy delivery is the plain ol’ Southern style biscuit. The light, flaky, multilayered biscuits of the North are not appreciated here. The gravy just makes them soggy and they don’t have the right texture. You gotta have a biscuit with some heft to it.
And there, my friends, you have it. The ultimate experience in breakfast, brunch or late night munching fare. The culinary pinnacle of flour, milk and flavor. A humble food that deserves a place in every kitchen. My mother’s sausage gravy. Give this a try the next time you’re craving a little love. Trust me, there’s a lot of love in this recipe. Rich, spicy sausage gravy. The kind we make in the South. It's sure to make your breakfast, brunch or dinner a better experience. All measurements given below are close approximations. Making gravy is not an exact science. Amounts of flour and milk vary depending on a number of factors, including humidity, elevation, water content in grease, size of pan, etc. It also depends on whether you like your gravy thick or on the thin side, so feel free to fiddle with the amounts as necessary to get the right fit for you.
Southern Sausage Gravy Recipe
Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 260Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 56mgSodium: 546mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 14g
Rich, spicy sausage gravy. The kind we make in the South. It's sure to make your breakfast, brunch or dinner a better experience.
All measurements given below are close approximations. Making gravy is not an exact science. Amounts of flour and milk vary depending on a number of factors, including humidity, elevation, water content in grease, size of pan, etc. It also depends on whether you like your gravy thick or on the thin side, so feel free to fiddle with the amounts as necessary to get the right fit for you.
What I would have done differently had I thought of it at the time:
Not a darned thing. I never deviate on this recipe. It’s been good to me.
Links to other sausage gravy recipes:
- Restaurant Style Southern White Gravy, from CbsoP
- Southern Sausage Gravy, from Andrea Meyers
- Sausage Gravy and Biscuits, from Judy at No Fear Entertaining
- Southern Style Biscuits – Deep South Comfort in Your mouth
Wow…those biscuits and gravy look so delicious!! I am so excited to be going to Missouri where I know when I order biscuits and gravy…it will taste fabulous and look just like yours! Good job….where’s the Sweet Tea?
You’ll definitely find good biscuits and gravy there!
This makes me think of my dad! He loved bisquits and sausage gravy, thanks for posting it. I need to show my family some love!
If you want to show your family some love, this can’t be far from the best way to do it. of course it’s a dish best enjoyed in moderation, but that is what makes it so special!
Oh boy, GRAVY. A friend’s doctor says to call it, “sauce”. Sauce is better for you than gravy.
Yaughta pick up a container of Wondra next time yer at the store. I did once and was quite pleased with the results. I’d buy more, but I’m lazy, then I forget. What’s not to love about experimenting with gravy?
Naw! This is Southern food. Can’t be bad for you because there’s no butter in it!
Huh, you’re right, good point. That and it’s not deep fried, must be health food.
So true. Health food at its best! My grandmother used to have the family over for a big ol dinner once in a while. When she had all the fixin’s she said it was a calorie free day and all the bad stuff was replaced with love. I miss that lady.
Sausage gravy on biscuits is my all time favorite breakfast. I would ask for it as my last meal.
It tops my list, but more as a brunch option. Then again… I never eat breakfast anyway, so every day starts with brunch
Oh Jeez. You’re killing me with this. My mother makes hamburger gravy on biscuits and although I’ve made it often (it’s guaranteed to get the hunkster to swoon when he walks in the door after work) it isn’t the same as hers. Yours looks awesome. I’ll have to try it with sausage.
Hamburger gravy is more a West Coast and Northern thing. Southern families use bacon or sausage. Hubbz will love it, I promise you that!
I don’t know what makes you think that those flakey layered biscuits are a northen thing bacause they are not, in fact, when you order biscuits in a restaurant you will never get a biscuit made out of one of those pop out containers that you beat on the side of your counter. Also, hamburger gravy is “not” a northern or western thing either, hamburger gravy came from people being poor during and after the depression and was rightfully called Shit On a Shingle, or SOS, which was a phrase coined by American service men during WWII. It was quick and easy to make. Now back to the biscuits, to say that biscuits are southern tells me that someone needs to travel north of the mason dixon line and find out for your self that biscuits are not purly southern.
That would be wrong. SOS is dried beef with white gravy on toast. My father, who served in WWII should know. Canned, dried beef. And the flaky, layered biscuits are more typical of the northern-style biscuit.
You are absolutely correct. SOS as originally listed is made using dried, chipped beef. The original recipe (from the Army manual) can be seen here. And it seems that Frank missed the point: I never said biscuits were a Southern thing, just that the TYPE of biscuits made in the North, South and Southwest are different.
I’ve made biscuits & gravy more times than I can count, but never drained the sausage first. That step probably makes for a better bite and texture for the sausage, I’ll definitely try that next time I make it. I also make the gravy from pepperoni, my personal favorite.
Hey Jerry, I discovered your blog earlier and have been going through your recipes looking for ideas. I wanted to say that the various recipes you’ve come up with look absolutely wonderful – this gravy included – but that this recipe strikes me as incomplete.
Not the gravy itself – that looks right about perfect – but the biscuits which would ideally accompany it. I did a Google search and noticed you don’t actually have any recipes for biscuits that would go well with this gravy – the only biscuit recipe I could find were the cheddar biscuits which, as you say, would better complement seafood or the like.
I know I could look up various recipes anywhere online, but since I’m from “the North” and those “light, flaky, multilayered biscuits” that “are not appreciated here” are the ones with which I’m most familiar, I’m especially curious to hear your take.
Maybe it’s a Tennessee thing, but my family always makes sausage gravy just like Southern White gravy. The sausage is removed when making the gravy, and then it’s added to the opened biscuit and cut up with them on the plate (my family also crumbles the cooked bacon into the Southern White gravy when it’s plated up.