Sawmill Gravy With Sausage

Sawmill gravy

The Spruce 

  • Total: 25 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
528 Calories
45g Fat
19g Carbs
13g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 528
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 45g 58%
Saturated Fat 23g 116%
Cholesterol 125mg 42%
Sodium 923mg 40%
Total Carbohydrate 19g 7%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Protein 13g
Calcium 101mg 8%
*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.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The term "sawmill gravy" comes from early logging camp food and old-time sawmills. It was originally made with cornmeal, bacon drippings, milk, and seasonings. This resulted in a somewhat gritty gravy; in fact, rumor has it that the loggers would accuse the cooks of putting sawdust in the recipe!

This gravy can be made with bacon and bacon drippings as well as sausage. This version is a sausage gravy, a breakfast tradition in the South. The base is a roux, making the gravy thick and creamy. It is up to you whether to add the chunks of breakfast sausage back into the gravy; it will bring interesting texture and wonderful flavor, but if you prefer a smooth gravy you can leave it out.

Sawmill gravy is the perfect addition to a Southern-style breakfast. Serve with split and buttered biscuits or creamy grits.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound sausage
  • 3 tablespoons fat (from cooking the sausage)
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups milk, light cream, or half-and-half
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for sawmill gravy
    The Spruce
  2. In a heavy skillet over medium heat, cook the sausage, breaking up and stirring until no longer pink. Remove the sausage to a bowl with a slotted spoon and set aside.

    Sausage in skillet
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  3. Leave 3 tablespoons of drippings in the skillet. If there aren't 3 tablespoons left, add some butter, shortening, or bacon drippings to make 3 tablespoons.

    Add 3 tbsp of drippings
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  4. Place the skillet back over medium heat and sprinkle the flour over the drippings. Cook, stirring constantly until the roux is lightly browned.

    Place skillet back over medium heat
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  5. Gradually add 1 cup of the milk. Stir to loosen any bits of cooked sausage from the bottom of the pan.

    Gradually add milk
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  6. Taste and season with salt and pepper; keep stirring until the gravy has thickened. Add more milk or cream as needed to reach the desired consistency.

    Taste and season
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  7. Add the sausage to the gravy, if desired.

    Add sausage to the gravy
    The Spruce 
  8. Serve and enjoy on top of biscuits.

Tips

Although this is a relatively easy gravy to make, you will achieve better results if you follow a few tips. First, make sure to measure the amount of fat left in the pan after cooking the sausage; if it is more than 3 tablespoons, your gravy will end up being greasy. If it is less than 3 tablespoons and you don't add any other fat, then the roux will be too dry and the flour will probably burn.

After sprinkling over the flour, it is important that you cook it long enough to remove the raw flour taste; 1 to 2 minutes is usually long enough, but then continue stirring and cooking until the mixture begins to turn brown.

Recipe Variation

  • To make a sawmill gravy with bacon, fry 4 to 6 strips of bacon in the skillet and leave 3 tablespoons of drippings. Proceed with the recipe and serve the gravy with the chopped up cooked bacon, if desired.