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Recipe by South Your Mouth

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1 pound thick country ham or cured ham slices (country ham is customary)

1 tablespoon bacon grease or vegetable oil

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 cup strong black coffee*

1/2 cup water

Pinch of salt


Heat a medium or large cast iron frying pan over medium heat (you can use other types of frying pans but the best red-eye gravy is made in a cast iron pan). Add bacon grease or vegetable oil to hot pan then fry ham until nicely browned on each side. Do not cook at a higher heat than medium. You do not want your pan drippings to burn or brown too much or your gravy will taste burnt.


Remove ham from pan then add butter. Stir butter until melted then add coffee. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up all the lovely ham bits from the pan. Add water and salt then continue cooking over medium heat until the gravy is simmering. Once simmering, cook for 4-5 minutes or until gravy is slightly reduced. Taste for salt and add if necessary.


Serve over ham and grits.


*We make our coffee really strong so I usually make my red-eye gravy with half coffee and half water and let it reduce a little. If you make your coffee on the weak side, you can probably use all coffee and omit the water.