Monday, June 2, 2008

Homemade Southern Milk Gravy W/Bacon (Bacon Gravy)

Last night we had Breakfast for dinner. I know this may seem strange, but growing up my mom used to make Breakfast for Dinner all the time and we loved it as kids! Come to find out so does my family it really makes a easy dinner night for me. 
I try to make breakfast at least twice a month. We love sausage gravy but Milk Gravy with Bacon is such a nice change. I learned how to make bacon gravy years ago from my grandmother by marriage. Goodness that was about 25 years ago. She really knew how to cook all those great southern meals from scratch.
I loved to watch her cook, she never measured anything but I caught on very fast. I was so proud the first time I made bacon gravy all by myself. I have since remarried and grandmother has passed one, but her gravy holds a special place in my heart.
I still cherish the times I spent in the kitchen cooking and learning the wisdom she had in the kitchen. It's something I will never forget. This recipe is pretty easy to make. Homemade gravy takes a bit of practice to accomplish the first time, but you will get it. Every time I make this gravy it reminds me of her.

To start you need bacon grease. Either from frying up some bacon or using your reserved stock of grease. Every great southerner has a jar of reserved of bacon grease in the fridge. I know I do. 

Start by heating the reserved bacon grease in skillet and stir in the flour. Continue stirring until the flour absorbs all of the fat. Add the salt and black pepper. Start out with the smaller amount of pepper and add more later if desired.

Add the water and milk together in a large measuring cup. Slowly stir in the milk mixture a little at a time. Use a whisk or a fork to prevent lumps. Continue adding milk mixture and whisking or stirring at the same time until the milk is added to the gravy. Let the mixture come to a boil. Allow it to boil gently for about 5 minutes. It will thicken nicely. Taste the gravy and see if you need to add any additional salt and pepper.

Serve over toast or biscuits. My family prefers biscuit, and yes as you can see in the picture I do cheat and use Pillsbury Grands Biscuits. Funny thing is i can make homemade gravy but i stink at making homemade biscuits. Maybe one day i will get it down until then these will do just fine.

Homemade (Milk) Bacon Gravy:

Bacon, cut into small pieces, bacon slices OR 
2 - tablespoons bacon grease
1/3 - cup flour
1/2 - teaspoon salt
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (to taste)
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups water

Start with bacon of course. You can cut the bacon into small pieces, but my family doesn't like the bacon pieces in the gravy they like more of a smooth gravy instead and bacon on the side. 

Put bacon into a large skillet and fry it over medium heat. Or if your like me it's so much easier to cook the bacon in the oven. I cook mine at 350 degrees on a foil lined baking sheet. Turn bacon once or twice as the bacon cooks it will release it's fat. 

When the bacon is done remove and drain on paper towels. Pour about 1/4 cup of the bacon grease from the baking sheet into a skillet. Heat the reserved bacon grease in skillet and stir in the flour. Continue stirring until the flour absorbs all of the fat. 

Add the salt and black pepper. Start out with the smaller amount of pepper and add more later if desired. Add the milk and water to a large measuring cup, and slowly stir in the milk mixture a little at a time. 

Use a whisk or a fork to prevent lumps. Continue adding the milk mixture and whisking or stirring at the same time until the milk is added to the gravy. Let the mixture come to a boil. 

Allow it to boil gently for about 5 minutes. It will thicken nicely. Taste the gravy and see if you need to add any additional salt and pepper. Serve over toast or biscuits. My family prefers biscuit.

Cook's Note: Essentially, bacon grease is the fat left in the pan after frying bacon. It is best stored in a clean jar in the refrigerator. Every time bacon is cooked, pour any leftover grease into the jar. It is used mostly for frying and seasoning. Bacon Fat lends a very special flavor to food that is hard to duplicate. 

If you don't have bacon, but you do have bacon grease, then use 1/4 cup of bacon grease instead of the bacon. Heat it in the skillet until it is bubbly. Stir in the flour and proceed as directed.

You can see in the picture I do cheat and use Pillsbury Grands Biscuits. Funny thing is I can make homemade gravy but I stink at making homemade biscuits. Maybe one day I will get it down until then these will do just fine. {Revision} I'm happy to say since I have made this post I can finally bake Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits. That is quite a accomplishment for me. I can also make quick Skillet Buttermilk Biscuits.


Anonymous said... #

Hi Tina... Oh how I tried to make this the other night, but my gravy was lumpy. I used my wisk and I thought my hand would fall off but the lumps stayed. What did I do wrong?

Tina Butler said... #

Hi kks, the only way i can prevent lumps in my gravy is after i add the flour to the grease. Slowly add the milk a little at a time mix with the whisk then add more milk and whisk and milk keep doing that until you have added all your milk and the gravy is the consistencey that you want.

I used to have problems making homemade gravy. Now that I make it so much more often you just start to get the hang of it. Believe me i have had my share of glooey messes of gravy. It just takes practice.

Anonymous said... #

Thanks for the quick response...will try it again. YA know being from Texas..We gotta have us some Bisquits and Gravy!!

Grizz said... #

KKs....if you add the flour to a jar with a lid, then add only enough milk to soak it....cover and shake well, then add it to the drippings. I found that this will usually take care of any lumping problems

Anonymous said... #

I just made biscuits and gravy for the first time and I failed miserably lol. My Son and Wife are having Mac 'n' Cheese tonight now. =P It was really thick and had 0 taste. Any idea where I went wrong?

FYI I'm a total novice in the kitchen and this was my first attempt at making something besides something frozen.

Thanks in advance.

Tina Butler said... #

Sorry it didnt turn out. When making gravy you have to slowly ad your milk or liquid so it doesnt thicken up on you so quick. You could of just added more milk or half milk and water is what i do. Keep using your whisk until it gets to the consistencey you want. Milk gravy takes lots of salt and pepper.

Jessie (Anonymous) said... #

2nd attempt went perfect! I also used your method for baking bacon this time and it made life much easier. Thanks!

Tina Butler said... #

Hi Jesse, I am so glad it worked out the second time. I hate to say it but when making milk gravy it really is practice makes perfect. I remember a long time ago about 20
years ago when I was married the first time around. My MIL taught me how to make that gravy, well i tried it and made the best wall paper paste you ever did see. LOL so you see it just takes a bit to get it down. I kept doing it and the gravy got better each time. You will figure out the ratio of milk/water to flour to make your own perfect consistency. Yeah for you!!!

Anonymous said... #

just made this gravy and the look and texture is great, but it has no flavor at all. i even used fresh bacon grease; rendered it right before i started the gravy. what's happened?

Tina Butler said... #

I am not sure it usually has a great bacon flavor from the grease. How much did you use? Plus lots of pepper and salt. Not to much salt because it gets salt from the bacon grease.

noahbythesea said... #

i just stumbled across this recipe, and just have a quick question about saving the bacon grease.... i think this is a brilliant idea but have a few questions.. 1- do you strain the grease to get out any bacon bits? and 2- what kind of shelf life does this stuff have in the fridge? thanks so much! i have your candy bacon in the oven as i type! smells amazing!

THE IslandGirl and Makijo said... #

I have never seen this recipe posted! My mom is southern and we ate this as children. I love it and make it every so often as we are constantly watching our weight. Northern people tend to have chipped beef in their gravy. This is so much more yummy because of the bacon dripping! :) I serve it with High as the Sky biscuits when I do take a notion to serve it!:)

Daily Rant said... #

Hi Tina, I am new to your site.
So excited to try some of these recipes - they look fab!
This one in particular caught my eye. I had biscuits and bacon gravy years ago for breakfast after spending the night at a friends house. I've never seen an actual recipe for it until now and I cannot wait to make it for my family.
Thank you for sharing!

Anonymous said... #

Thank you so much for this recipe!! I made it tonight and it taste just like grandma's gravy! This is my first time succeeding this recipe I have attempted it many times. Thanks again!

Anonymous said... #

Thank you thank you! I've tried for years to make this & failed . Got up & made your gravy ... Kids love it !

Anonymous said... #

My grandmother always made this growing up as a kid! It was def one of my fav things. My brother wantd to make it like our nana did tonight, so I googled it! For the first time making it I think we did an awesome job! (im not too good in the kitchen but team effort was involed) lol Thanks so much for the help! :)

Anonymous said... #

As a retired chef and restaurant owner I'd like to offer a couple of secrets to making great country gravy. It works for both sausage or bacon gravy.
First: Measure the milk and let it sit out an hour before making the gravy. This takes the chill off and helps prevent the gravy from lumping.
Second: To an average size skillet of gravy, add approx. 1/2 tsp sugar (stir and taste for the right amount). Yes, sugar! You won't believe what a magical ingredient a tiny bit of sugar is to milk gravy.

Anonymous said... #

Chef Anonymous above is spot on. Room temperature milk will more readily absorb into the flour.

If you don't want to sit the milk out for an hour (because I know I always forget) microwaving it for 30-40 seconds usually does the trick.

Unknown said... #

I have always tried making gravy like my mom and grandmas but it NEVER TURNED OUT! Well when I took your advice on half milk and half water instead of only milk, IT TURNED OUT GREAT!!! LOL Looks like that was all I needed:))) THANK YOU:)


Unknown said... #

I have been trying to make gravy like my mom and grandmas but it NEVER TURNED OUT!!! Well I took your advice on using half milk and half water instead of all milk, and IT TURNED OUT AWESOME:):):) Very glad I can now make it!!! I am away from family and that is my favorite breakfast(sometimes dinner lol) food:) My husband is military so I am always cooking for the single friends from his shop and they very much enjoyed the gravy:):):) THANK YOU:)


Scaled down the recipe a little and added paprika for a little kick. Delicious :)

Mar said... #

We love milk gravy and sausage gravy! My hubby was raised in Washington state and Nebraska of German/Dutch parents and I was raised in the Midwest of Scandinavian parents, but we both grew up with this! When we have fried chicken, I make the gravy the same way with the chicken grease.

Unfortunately, some people just don't have a taste for this and think it is bland and tasteless no matter how you season it! I have served it to friends on several occasions; at the same meal, some thing it is great while others think it is awful! Oh well, WE know it is delicious!

Anonymous said... #

Found this recipe today when I googled how to make milk gravy! Made it for the first time ever this morning using your instructions and it was wonderful! Thank you! No more gravy mixes for me!!!! (The men at church seemed to enjoy it as well!!! )

Unknown said... #

This gravy is amazing!!! My husband's grandma used to make this all the time. I tried and tried to make this and never mastered it until I ran across thus recipe! Thanks again

Anonymous said... #

If you look at the grease it's more then two tables spoons

Tina Butler said... #

Thank you for pointing that out Anonymous. I made the recipe, so I assure you it is 2 tablespoons. Looks can be deceiving, but thank you for stopping by just to stir the pot and get everyone going. Have a great day!

drewsila michelle said... #

I have had my fair share of fails on gravy! But this recipie was Great!! I nailed it first try!! Thanks for sharing!! No more from the packet gravy for this family! #Alabama

Anonymous said... #

So is it 2 Tablespoons, or 4? One place says 2, while another says 1/4 cup, which is 4. Just curious.

Annette (anonymous above) said... #

BTW, your site looks fabulous! I love the red w/white polka dots. It's so cheery and attention-getting. Your recipes look wonderful. I will definitely bookmark your site and also Pin a few recipes!

Unknown said... #

Wow that was really easy my father used to make this gravy all the time when I was a kid didn't try it until now... Just follow the steps and it turned out great......thanks

Anonymous said... #

I eat this many days while growing up, but we also eat egg gravy, which is adding an egg or 2 to the mixture after adding some of the liquid, stir it all up and will make good eating also. And on the biscuits, my grandmother would spoon some of the bacon/sausage grease over the tops of biscuits to help them brown easier. take a spoonful of the dripping after cooking the meat, and touch tops of each biscuit. they would have speck of the meat on each but never hurt the taste any. thought someone might like to try for a different twist from the newer recipes. I grew up raising our own pigs and chickens for meat/eggs.

Tina Butler said... #

This is the first time I have heard anyone besides my Mother in Law mention Egg Gravy!!!! I love Egg Gravy too!!! I look forward to it when I go down and visit. She doesn't make it as much as she used to, but her mother used to make it too.

Anonymous said... #

Tina, I'm just really curious why you add water along with the milk. I grew up on milk gravy, and have never heard of using water. Was this something that was done to stretch the use of milk so it would last longer ?? I was thinking that the gravy wouldn't be as rich and creamy adding water.....but I've known to be wrong before.....( it was just one time, though !!!! LOL)

Tina Butler said... #

I use half milk and half water because that was the way I was taught to make milk gravy from my husbands grandmother. I am sure it was to stretch the milk back then, but it does not change the recipe in any way? It is still as rich as using all milk.

chicory said... #

My Mamaw made biscuits and milk gravy every morning. I noticed you mentioned not being proficient at making biscuits. I have a little hint, not from my Mamaw but the internet lol. Grate your frozen fat, butter or lard. And when you mix them up put the bowl in the freezer for a while before adding liquids. Also do not twist your biscuit cutter. I prefer lard but butter is very good as well.

Nancy said... #

Good day!
My Mama made this for me all time and have wanted to learn how make it since forever! I think she used condensed milk and no water though,does it make a difference to use just the condensed milk as opposed to using the milk/water combo?
Thank you! :)

Tina Butler said... #

It was probably evaporated milk and not condensed milk. Condensed milk is sweet and evaporated milk can be used to substitute whole milk.