We show you how to make red eye gravy, that Southern classic made with country ham, coffee, brown sugar, and other everyday pantry staples.
Red eye gravy. It’s a Southern classic that’s frugally made from pan drippings and coffee. It’s traditionally served with country ham, although any ham steak will work admirably as long as it has sufficient fat around the edges to create some drippings. You’re going to want to reach for your most trusty cast-iron skillet when you make this, trust us.–Renee Schettler Rossi
What Is Country Ham?
Country ham, popular in the deep South, is a manner of dry-curing and smoking ham that relies heavily on salt. As such, the resulting ham has a lingering saltiness that’s quite intense. It’s less prevalent today than in the past but is still available. It’s typically either used in ham with red eye gravy as here or thinly sliced and sandwiched in biscuits.
Ham with Red Eye Gravy Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 10 M
- 15 M
- Serves 2
- One 6-ounce ham steak, preferably country ham (look for a ham with as much fat as you can find)
- 1/2 teaspoon all-purpose flour
- 1 cup brewed black coffee
- 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter
- Pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Dash store-bought or homemade hot sauce
- 1 teaspoon light or dark brown sugar
- 1. Place a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat and cook the ham steak until browned on both sides, 6 to 8 minutes.
- 2. Use a fork or tongs to plonk the ham steak on a plate. You should have 1/2 to 1 tablespoon drippings left in the skillet along with any small pieces of ham. Sprinkle the flour over the drippings and stir until well combined. Add the coffee and whisk to thicken the gravy. Add the butter, salt, pepper, and hot sauce and whisk until incorporated. Add the brown sugar and whisk until the sugar dissolves and the mixture begins to bubble. Taste for accuracy, season if necessary, and add more hot sauce if you’re brave. Serve the gravy alongside the ham or pour it over the top.