As you can guess, I’m a huge fan of sausage gravy and biscuits/toast/bread and while the fundamentals are pretty much the same for all good sausage gravy, there are a few small tips that I’d like to pass on for great sausage gravy.
First let me say that sausage gravy is one of the easiest things you will ever tackle in a kitchen. It’s basically, sausage, milk, flour, butter, salt, and pepper. That’s it!
1 pound of your favorite sausage – one of the beauties of sausage gravy is you use your favorite fresh sausage. Italian, sage, brats (yes, brats), chorizo, or even just your favorite 1 pound roll of your favorite breakfast sausage. Don’t stick to what might be the norm just because your home-ec teacher said so…branch out and make something you like with your favorite style of sausage.
About 2 cups of milk
About a half stick of butter (I like a stick but I find most folks prefer the half stick)
About a half cup of flour (probably just a little less but get the half cup out anyway)
Ok, this is how we do it.
1) Break up the sausage as you put it in the pan over a medium heat. Stir it from time to time as it browns and continue breaking it into smaller pieces so there are no huge chunks. You’re looking for pieces about 1/2 inch in size when it’s all browned and ready for the next step.
2) Just before you think the sausage is cooked through, add the butter and let it melt in the pan. Don’t drain the sausage!
3) Once the butter is melted, stir in the flour until there are no lumps of flour. Often the flour will coat the sausage and that’s just fine.
4) When the flour is all incorporated, slowly start to pour in the milk while stirring. Just keep this up until all 2 cups are in the pan and the gravy starts to thicken.
5) Once you have something that looks like gravy, pull the pan from the heat and season to taste with salt and pepper. You will likely need more salt and pepper then you initially realize but take it slow so you don’t over season.
That’s it! Easy peasy!
Now. lets talk about a few tips that you can consider to kick this up another notch in flavor.
1) When you add the butter, also add a couple of tablespoons of bacon grease. Yeah…nice! The confluence of porky flavors is amazing. Listen, this isn’t health food so it might as well taste good right?
2) Instead of bacon grease, just crumble two slices of crispy bacon into the mix right after you added the flour.
3) Use a whole stick of butter instead of a half. I really like the mouth feel and the buttery taste this adds to the finished plate.
4) Add some crushed red pepper flakes. One of my favorite additions to add some heat, toss this in right before you add the milk for the best results.
5) This one adds a step but I love onion so when I’m not in a hurry I will do this. Before you start the sausage, saute some finely chopped onion (about half a small onion) in some butter until soft. Then add your sausage and cook as normal. This adds some great flavor and you can cook the onions down to where you only get the flavor they impart or you can leave them a little crunchy to add some texture.
6) If you decide to do this with something like a basic breakfast sausage, I would add a little sage or even crushed fennel seed to add some nice flavor.
7) After you have added the flour, I like to let it cook until the flour is turning a light to medium brown. This gives the finished gravy a little richer color and more flavor.
8) As you pull the gravy off the heat, stir in about 1/4-1/3 cup of your favorite cheese. Dry aged cheeses are better (like romano and parmesan) but any cheese is good.
That’s it! If you have any tips or special sausage gravy secrets of your own I would love to hear about them.