Step Away from the McCormick! Make Your Own Gravy!

At work, my boss calls me the gravy-king.

We serve biscuits and gravy on the weekends and when we’re busy enough, it usually sells out.

Gravy adds comfort to a dish. More than comfort, it adds big flavor.

I was running low on ideas for the blog when a friend asked on a “gravy tutorial” and thought it to be absolutely brilliant. I don’t, by any means, know all there is to know about gravy, but I can thrown down a mean B&G (If you know what I’m sayin’).

Image from

Let’s chat about two that I’m pretty sure you’ll dig.

Sausage Gravy:
There are several ways you can make sausage gravy, but this is my recipe and what I’ve found to be what I would want on a biscuit (or on anything.)
What you’ll need:
1/2lb of good breakfast sausage [preferably a nice fatty one]
4T unsalted butter
1/4 cup unbleached a.p. flour (plus more for adjusting)
4 cups whole milk, room temp
Lots of freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of cayenne
1t fresh thyme, more for adjusting

Goes great on these babies!

Heat your pan on medium. Throw in your sausage and render out some of that fat. Toss in your butter and cook the sausage till it’s getting a bit crispy and browns nicely.
Once you see that most of the fat has rendered out, sprinkle and stir in your flour. Cook for 3-4 minutes so the flour can lose some of its “floury” taste.
Throw in your whole milk and bring it all to a boil and reduce to a simmer. This is when you start adding your flavor. I can’t emphasize enough the black pepper. It’s what makes any country gravy worth eating. Start with a 1/2T and work your way up by tasting. Same with salt. You’ll need plenty of both. Toss in your fresh thyme and cayenne and allow the gravy to reduce and thicken. Turn down the heat once it gets to the consistency you like. Add butter or cream if you want to smooth it out or add some body. (Those things can never really hurt a pot of gravy)

The rest, do with it as you will.

Basic Gravy (for chicken):
A little gravy on a chicken breast or over rice or potatoes is one of my favorite things.
If you have chicken stock laying around the house, perfect! If not, it’s really easy to make a bit for gravy. This is how I like to make gravy for poultry.

What you’ll need:
1lb chicken wings, throw in any necks or bones you might have
1 onion, cut in half
2 ribs of celery
2 carrots
spring of fresh thyme
1 cup dry white wine
5-6 whole peppercorns
2T veggie or canola oil
2 quarts water
2-3 smashed garlic cloves

Heat your stock pot with your oil. Season the wings, etc. with salt and pepper. Brown the wings, necks and/or bones. Don’t be afraid to let the skin stick to the bottom and get all brown and lovely. This stuff is called “fond” and you’ll be scraping this stuff up when you throw in your white wine. Fond = flavor.
Let your wine reduce by half and fill your pot with water, veggies, and seasoning.  Cook this for about 45 minutes. Strain veggies, bones and seasoning. Return to heat and continue to reduce your stock for another 10 minutes or so. Taste and season to your liking.

For the gravy part:
5T unsalted butter
5T unbleached a.p. flour

Heat the butter in a separate pan till it starts to sizzle. Sprinkle in your flour while whisking to avoid clumps. Cook butter and flour (roux) for about 5 minutes till the foam subsides a bit.
Add 2-3 cups of your stock to the roux and stir to incorporate. Let it reduce and thicken to the consistency of your liking.

If your gravy is looking too thin, you can always add a little “cornstarch/water” mix and it’ll thicken up pretty quickly. I tend to draw heavier on the flour in these recipes so it thickens the way I need it to.

Good luck and as always, let me know if you have any questions!


5 responses to “Step Away from the McCormick! Make Your Own Gravy!”

  1. that gravy powder is nothing but salt — pure poison. I don’t know how anybody could eat it. Chicken and gravy IS one of life’s great pleasures, even way up north we think so. Thanks for the easy, clear recipes!

    • McCormick chicken gravy has 1280 mg of sodium in the entire packet that makes at least a cup of gravy. That’s about a half tsp of salt. Unless you’ve lived life on a salt-restricted diet, you’d use that much to make a cup of gravy from scratch.

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