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Course: Pantry
Keyword: Condiments, Sauces, Sawmill Gravy, Southern

Sawmill Gravy

Sawmill gravy in a cast-iron skillet on the set of Good Eats.
ACTIVE TIME: 10 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 30 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
A three-ingredient Southern breakfast staple, sawmill gravy is a simple sauce best served over fluffy buttermilk biscuits.
If you added 10 ounces of milk to 1 ounce of roux, you'd be well on your way to producing one of the most versatile of the five French "mother" sauces of yore: béchamel. In the South, however, we make it another way.
Note: If you fry up some country ham instead of sausage and pour in black coffee rather than milk, you will have made yourself some red-eye gravy, which is an acquired taste if there ever was one.
This recipe first appeared in Season 1 of Good Eats.
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  • 1 pound bulk breakfast sausage
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Specialized Hardware

  • 10- to 12-inch cast-iron skillet
Sawmill gravy in a cast-iron skillet on the set of Good Eats.
ACTIVE TIME: 10 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 30 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

Procedure

  • Crumble the sausage in a 10- to 12-inch cast iron skillet. Brown over medium heat. Remove the cooked sausage and pour off all but 2 tablespoons of fat, making sure you leave the stuck-on bits behind.
  • Whisk the flour into the fat in the skillet and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes. Kill the heat and whisk in the milk a little at a time. Return the mixture to medium-high heat and whisk occasionally while the gravy comes to a simmer and thickens, 2 to 3 minutes. (Be sure to scrape up any brown bits that might be stuck to the bottom of the pan — that's where the flavor is.)
  • Crumble the cooked sausage into the gravy, season with salt, add an insane amount of pepper, and serve hot over toast or biscuits.
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