(Note: if you’re looking for traditional, made with bacon grease southern Gravy, then check out this post for real-deal, Southern White Gravy made with bacon grease, as it was intended to be made.)
White gravy is a staple of Southern cooking. In the South and Southwest we use it to top everything from biscuits to French-Fries. Every family has its own unique method of making Gravy, and most families will tell you theirs is the best gravy ever made. (They’re all right, by the way. It’s a family thing.)
Then of course, there’s the stuff you get in restaurants across the country. In the South and Southwest it’s pretty close to what’s made in homes all across the area but once you start moving North, the story changes. The gravy starts turning into a floury-tasting ooze with all the culinary soul of preschool paste. This affront to gravy is usually made from a pouch or bag by someone who has never had real Southern gravy and has probably never cooked anything for themselves at home.
Some companies have obviously noted that this foul mix needs more attention. I’ve seen it labeled as “Southern style with ham” in which tiny bits of processed ham are added in an attempt to mask the utter blandness of it all, and I’ve seen the same done with bacon and sausage.
It doesn’t help, it’s still awful and there’s no getting away from that. It’s usually too thin. It sets up like mortar if not eaten promptly, and is usually used to hide even worse attempts at biscuits or other southern staples.
So restaurant owners, listen up and let me tell you how to do it right! I was raised on white gravy, and I just can’t take it any more!
You may wonder why I call this restaurant style gravy. Well, I’ll tell you. True southern gravy is a pan gravy, usually made with grease, fat or lard. This recipe uses butter, which can be done but is not – in my opinion – home style gravy. I’ll instruct Y’all in that delicacy on another day.
If you’re from the North or Northwest, try this first, it will get you prepared for the real goodness of home style gravy that is to come.
This version is based on the classic béchamel, but with distinct differences, so pay attention class!
The restaurant version of a true Southern staple
If you like your gravy with a kick, feel free to add a dash of cayenne powder or ground chili. You may also add cooked sausage, cooked bacon or ham if desired.
Enjoy. This is the good stuff.