I’m the queen of mastering and sharing recipes for foods I myself won’t eat – everything from Shrimp and Grits to Macaroni and Cheese. This Classic Southern Sausage Gravy is another addition to that list. My husband loves it and it’s always a hit for those that partake when I make it, but I’m good. I’ll have some strawberry jam with my Buttermilk Biscuits, thanks.
Someone asked me recently how I go about making foods that taste “right” even if I don’t eat them myself. The answer is many-fold, but I think the main factor is that I have a pretty hefty mental index of individual flavors and flavor profiles and I’m good at pairing them. I know if you put A with B you’ll end up with X, but if you sprinkle in a bit of C, you can end up with Y. Cooking is both science and art, right? Often it’s like building a puzzle.
Classic Southern Sausage Gravy Ingredients
Feel free to jump to the full recipe, but here are useful notes about the ingredients you will need to make this Classic Southern Sausage Gravy recipe:
- Pork breakfast sausage: I use Neese’s Country Sausage because that’s what you use here in Eastern North Carolina and usually the regular version. Use your own favorite breakfast sausage, just make sure it’s raw, not cured or anything, and without casing. This recipe does indeed work with turkey breakfast sausage too – try it with my Homemade Turkey Sausage! – but if you opt for turkey you’ll need to add some sort of additional fat because turkey sausage is unlikely to render enough fat to cook the flour thoroughly. I like butter, but bacon grease or vegetable oil will work just as well.
- Whole milk, all-purpose flour: These are what make it gravy! You can substitute low-fat or fat-free milk, but plan on letting the Classic Southern Sausage Gravy simmer for about 10 minutes so that it has a chance to thicken up nicely before serving, unlike the 3-5 minutes you’ll simmer it with whole milk. Self-rising flour would be fine if that’s all you have on hand.
- Cracked black pepper, seasoned salt: Lots and lots and lots of freshly cracked black pepper is a must for proper Classic Southern Sausage Gravy. Depending on your tastebuds you may or may not want to add seasoned salt. We add it, but you might think the gravy is plenty salty enough from the sausage, which can vary depending on what kind you use. Add it last and only after you’ve given it a taste, if you’re going to use it.
How to Make Classic Southern Sausage Gravy
Full instructions are included in the recipe below, but here is a basic overview of what you’ll need to do, along with some important tidbits to help you make the most of this Classic Southern Sausage Gravy recipe:
- Brown the sausage. Place a large – at least 10″ across – skillet over medium-high heat. Allow it to repeat for 2 minutes. Add the sausage to the pan, using a wooden spoon to break it up into small pieces, as you would ground beef for tacos or spaghetti sauce. Once the sausage is broken up, spread it out into an even layer and let it fry, tossing and stirring every few minutes until no more pink is visible.
- Cook the flour. Make sure the browned sausage is spread back out into an even layer and reduce the heat to medium. Lightly sprinkle about a third of the flour over the top of the sausage, then use the wooden spoon to stir the flour into the sausage. The grease in the pan will begin to congeal with the flour, and it should only take a minute or so of stirring for there to be no more dry bits of flour in the pan. Once this happens, go ahead and add about half of the remaining flour to the pan and stir that in. Once that has been worked in sprinkle in the last bit of flour. This time after there are no more dry bits of flour, keep stirring and cooking the flour and sausage together for another 2-3 minutes.
- Add the milk. Add the milk to the pan one cup at a time, switching to a whisk if that’s easier for you. Make sure the milk is completely incorporated before adding the next cup. When you’ve added the first four cups of milk you’ll need to make a decision. Let it simmer for one minute, give it a stir and consider the consistency. The Classic Southern Sausage Gravy will thicken as it sits and even more as it cools. If you want the gravy to appear in the bowl as it does in the pan at this point, go ahead and add the remaining half cup. If you’d like a thicker gravy that more ‘plops’ than ‘pours’ you can put that half cup of milk back in the fridge.
- Season and simmer. After you’ve made your decision, give the sausage gravy a taste. Add half of the black pepper and all the seasoned salt too if you’re using it. Stir them in well, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer the gravy for 3 minutes or so. Turn off the heat, stir in the remaining black pepper, and serve immediately. Dassit!
What To Serve With Classic Southern Sausage Gravy
Almost any savory country breakfast would welcome this Classic Southern Sausage Gravy recipe! For example, you could…
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