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A Southern Classic: Red Eye Gravy

Sunday, January 27, 2013

I saw the most adorable little spiral ham at the market.  I couldn't resist it, so I decided to bake it and serve it with mashed potatoes, green beans, and red eye gravy.  Yum!  So what exactly is red eye gravy?  It is a gravy made from coffee and ham drippings.  There is some controversy on how it got its name. Some will say that it's because the ham and gravy dish is traditionally served in the morning and made with coffee.  Others will say that when a ham steak is fried in a pan, that the circle of liquid fat has a reddish tint.  I personally believe the first explanation!

All we need for a delicious dinner!

I used Cafe Du Monde's French roast, but for the very best red eye gravy, I suggest you use coffe and chicory!

Red Eye Gravy

1 (3-pound) country ham, store bought, sliced, or a couple of Smithfield ham steaks
2 tablespoons fat from the ham
3/4 cup coffee
2 tablespoons butter

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fat from the ham and render. When the fat is rendered, add the ham steaks or slices and pan-fry until golden brown on both sides. Remove the ham from the pan and set aside on a plate and keep warm. To the pan, add the coffee and stir with a wooden spoon, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the butter and stir. Serve the gravy over the ham and mashed potatoes.  If you are serving this at breakfast, serve over grits.

Note:  Some folks add sugar, but if you have a glazed ham, I think it makes it way too sweet.


Have you ever had red eye gravy?

Until next time...

Ricki Jill


  1. Oh- yeah- Lived in the South for several years...and I LOVE grits (which we can't get here) and I love chicory in my I am a bit homesick for Florida- xo Diana

  2. I've never had red-eyed gravy, but I am very intrigued!


  3. I don't think I have! Sounds delicious.

  4. I have never heard of red-eyed gravy but it sounds so good I'm going to try it the next time we have ham. Thanks for sharing. Joyous Wishes, Linda

  5. Never heard of it but that sure sounds like comfort food to I is in the mood for comfort food tonight!!!

  6. Hi RJ! Oh, yummy! I was born in Alabama and I know about red eye gravy! My granddaddy had a farm and raised hogs (not pigs) :) When he would slaughter one and bring in the ham my grandmother would fry it and the blood escaped. I don't know exactly what she added to it but man it was good. Homemade biscuits, ham and red eye gravy.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  7. I have never eaten red Eyed gravy but heard of it many times, what a lovely meal!

  8. I have never heard of red eye gravy and now I have of course I wouldn't like it as it contains coffee and I do not like coffee in any way shape of

  9. I'm starving! I've had the red eye gravy but have never made it. I believe the first analogy too!


  10. Ham and red eye gravy was a typical breakfast meal served at my Grandmother's table. I have lived in the south all my life and that is a very familiar duo for breakfast, lunch or "supper". Your ham, gravy, potatoes and green beans look delicious and now I think I'm hungry.

  11. Coffee gravy?! Why have I never heard of this before? That sounds really great (I don't like the gloppy salty gravy most people serve...I'm usually all about the mushroom gravy, or none at all). The next time ham is on sale, I am absolutely making this. Thank you!!

  12. I've heard of red eye gravy, but never had it. I'm pinning this, Ricki Jill!
    And btw, no, the vase is not a McCoy. Came with a lovely bouquet of a variety of roses that my hubby gave me a couple of years ago. But I like the vintage lines.

  13. I don't know that I ever have, but if I did I didn't know it was made with coffee. This sounds YUMMY, I've save your recipe!
    Hope you've had a wonderful weekend!

  14. I've never even heard of red-eye gravy ... and here I thought I was up on Southern cooking. I'll have to give it a try.


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I'm Ricki Jill. Welcome! I'm an artist and an avid reader, and I also enjoy decorating for the seasons. For more information about my blog, please read the Start Here page. Thank-you for reading The Bookish Dilettante!

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