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Southern Ham with Red Eye Gravy Recipe

This delicious ham with red eye gravy recipe is served in Southern restaurants for a reason. You might be surprised with the simple ingredients used to make this breakfast dish.

Make traditional red eye gravy from pan drippings of frying country ham. It is a thin sauce using black coffee, pan drippings, and sometimes additional seasonings. Sometimes, this is referred to as a poor man’s gravy, bird-eye gravy, sawmill gravy, or muddy gravy.

Add bold black coffee to red eye gravy to give it a unique flavor and a slightly bitter taste. It is an acquired taste type of recipe. However, the coffee helps to cut through the richness of the sauce and adds a nice depth of flavor. Additionally, the caffeine in coffee can help to wake you up in the morning, which is why red eye gravy is often served with breakfast foods.

Southern Ham with Red Eye Gravy Recipe

Easy Breakfast Recipe for Camping

This easy breakfast is perfect for those who love a savory and slightly sweet breakfast, this recipe is easy to make and sure to impress. Keep reading to learn how to create this classic Southern dish at home.

Make this as a quick and easy breakfast recipe for camping. It is easy to make and all it takes is making a bit more to feed a crowd.

How to Make Country Ham and Red Eye Gravy

To make red ham gravy, first fry the ham in a large skillet or your large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until golden brown. About 3-5 minutes per side. Remove the ham and set it aside. To make the gravy, add a cup of black coffee to the country ham drippings in the skillet and simmer for a few minutes. Scrape the bottom with a wooden spoon to get all the browned bits with all the flavor into the sauce. Add a bit of water or broth to thin the gravy if needed. Serve the gravy over the ham.

Southern ham Favorite on serving plates

What Kind of Ham to Use?

It is best to use a good quality slice of smoked country ham with a bit of fat on it. The fat is what renders down during the cooking process to create the base for the sauce. Pro Tip. If your ham does not have enough fat on it to render, you can add a one tablespoon butter or bacon grease.

What is a Country Ham?

A country ham steaks are a type of cured ham. This is dry-cured. Which is adding salt and letting it age for several months to develop its flavor. A popular food item in the southern United States. Serve thinly sliced as a breakfast meat or used as an ingredient in various recipes.

This is different than city ham. Which is wet cured and already cooked. Whereas the country ham is dry cured, sometimes smoked, and are ready to cook.

How to Store uncooked cut country ham slices. Refrugerate for a long period of time; two to three months. Wrapped tightly, it will freeze for two months. Once cooked, it is best to eat within 5 days.  

ham gravy with ham steak

Red-Eye Gravy Recipe Variations

If your ham is too salty, soak slices in water overnight in the refrigerator. This will remove the excess salty flavor.

Add up to 2 tablespoons of butter or bacon grease to the pan if your meat is on the leaner side.

If the coffee flavor is too bitter for you, replace with chicken broth. Alternatively, you can try adding a ½ teaspoon of granulated sugar or brown sugar to mellow out the strong coffee flavor.

Add umami flavor by adding 1 teaspoon of Soy Sauce. It’s a delicious combination with the ham flavors and coffee.

Make this spicier by adding black pepper, a pinch of cayenne pepper, or red pepper flakes.

If you are going to use this ham gravy to dip your biscuits, you can add even more flavor to the gravy by mixing in a teaspoon of stone ground mustard and a teaspoon of ketchup.

Make this a smidge thicker by mixing 1 teaspoon of cornstarch with ½ cup of water. Pour this into the boiling liquid and whisk to combine.

You can use this same recipe for pork chops if you don’t have a slice of ham.

Easy Breakfast Recipe for Camping

What to Serve with this Southern Favorite?

Of course, creamy grits are always a good choice. This recipe is perfect for a side of homemade buttermilk biscuits. Warm biscuits are a perfect pairing for so many things.  

This 2 Ingredient Cream Biscuits Recipe is the classic biscuit recipe your family will love. It just takes minutes to make and when you melt butter and brush over a hot biscuit, they are irresistible.

No time to make your biscuits from scratch? No problem, use your air fryer to make refrigerated canned biscuits in just minutes. Air Fryer Canned Refrigerated Biscuits

Make too much ham? Learn how to freeze it for serving later.

This is our favorite way to make Holiday Ham.

Southern Ham with Red Eye Gravy Recipe
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Southern Ham with Red Eye Gravy Recipe

This delicious ham with red eye gravy recipe is served in Southern restaurants for a reason. You might be surprised with the simple ingredients used to make this breakfast dish.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time15 minutes
Course: Breakfast, lunch
Cuisine: American
Keyword: 30 minute meal, brunch recipe, copycat, easy recipe, restaurant recipe
Servings: 1 Servings
Calories: 68kcal

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Ingredients

  • 1 Slice Country Ham
  • 1/2 Cup Black Coffee Strong

Instructions

  • Fry the ham slice in a skillet over medium heat until browned and caramelized on both sides. About 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer the ham to a warmed platter making sure to keep all the drippings in the skillet.
  • While the ham is resting, deglaze the bottom of the pan by adding the boiling strong black coffee to the skillet and scrape the bottom of the skillet to remove any bits from the ham that are stuck in the pan.
  • That’s it, pour gravy over the ham slice.

Your Own Private Notes

Notes

Red-Eye Gravy Recipe Variations

If your ham is too salty, soak slices in water overnight in the refrigerator. This will remove the excess salty flavor.
Add up to 2 tablespoons of butter or bacon grease to the pan if your meat is on the leaner side.
If the coffee flavor is too bitter for you, replace with chicken broth. Alternatively, you can try adding a ½ teaspoon of granulated sugar or brown sugar to mellow out the strong coffee flavor.
Add umami flavor by adding 1 teaspoon of Soy Sauce. It’s a delicious combination with the ham flavors and coffee.
Make this spicier by adding black pepper, a pinch of cayenne pepper, or red pepper flakes.
If you are going to use this ham gravy to dip your biscuits, you can add even more flavor to the gravy by mixing in a teaspoon of stone ground mustard and a teaspoon of ketchup.
Make this a smidge thicker by mixing 1 teaspoon of cornstarch with ½ cup of water. Pour this into the boiling liquid and whisk to combine.
You can use this same recipe for pork chops if you don’t have a slice of ham.

Nutrition

Calories: 68kcal | Protein: 6g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 17mg | Sodium: 332mg | Potassium: 80mg | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 0.2mg

AboutVictoria

You can find Victoria crocheting, quilting, and creating recipes. She has cooked in restaurants for over 20 years, including many larger parties. In her professional career, she has worked in management in a wide variety of businesses including higher education as a dean of a division. All the while attending college part-time to achieve her doctorate in higher education with an emphasis in e-learning.

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