|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 7g||10%|
|Saturated Fat 1g||7%|
|Total Carbohydrate 2g||1%|
|Dietary Fiber 0g||0%|
|Total Sugars 2g|
|Vitamin C 0mg||0%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
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.
Click Play to See This Tasty Southern Red-Eye Gravy Come Together
"I made the recipe with a large, thin slice of country ham and very strong coffee, and it was delicious. Served on biscuits, you can't beat it! It might be difficult to find country ham outside of the South, but it is shelf-stable, so you can easily find it online." —Diana Rattray
1 slice country ham
1/2 cup boiling strong black coffee
Steps to Make It
Gather the ingredients.
In a skillet, fry the ham slice in its own fat over medium heat until nicely browned on both sides. Once cooked, transfer the ham to a warm platter, keeping the drippings in the skillet.
Add the boiling black coffee to the skillet. Deglaze, scraping the bottom and sides of the skillet to dissolve any particles that developed when you cooked the ham.
What is left in the skillet is red-eye gravy, which you can then pour over the ham and serve. Enjoy.
- The key to red-eye gravy is selecting the right ham. A good-quality, well-cured country ham such as a Smithfield or a genuine Virginia ham is ideal. If you are so inclined, you can cure your own country ham.
- Choose the slice of uncooked ham that has the most fat so you can maximize its delicious drippings.
- You also want to be sure the coffee is nice and strong and tastes good to you. Even though it is cooked down, it does contribute a significant amount of flavor to the recipe.
- When you have a leaner ham, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of butter or lard to the pan.
- If you find the gravy a bit too bitter and acidic (from the coffee), add a little chicken broth or water, as well as a pinch of sugar to mellow out the flavors.
- When making a Southern ham biscuit, it's common for a diner to dip the biscuit's cut sides into red-eye gravy before assembling the sandwich.
- Some people enjoy mixing the gravy with mustard or ketchup, then sopping it up with a biscuit.
What Is Country Ham?
Country ham is a ham that has been dry-cured with salt and preservatives over a long period of time. The curing process and appearance are similar to prosciutto. You can find shelf-stable country ham in the southeastern U.S. or online. Uncooked cut country ham may be refrigerated for two to three months or frozen for one month. After it is cooked, refrigerate it for up to seven days.
How Can Excess Salt Be Removed From Country Ham?
To remove the salty flavor from a country ham, soak slices in water overnight in the refrigerator.