Saturday, March 7, 2015

Sourdough Biscuits and Southern Style Gravy (without a recipe!)

Any good Southern cook worth her salt knows how to make gravy - without a recipe - or at least I was so told by my dear mother-in-law years ago.  :)  Thank goodness my dear mother-in-law undertook to teach me just how to make awesome creamy bacon/sausage grease gravy, without a recipe.

Not that I didn't know how to make gravy - my own dear mother had taught me how to make gravy, but since we were from the North, it was a tad different than Southern gravy.

(Don't be alarmed if you didn't know that there are differences between the North and South still!)

Yes indeed, there are.  You see, I was taught to make gravy with broth from meat that was roasted, and we never EVER ate bacon grease.  We just didn't.  We only ate gravy on mashed potatoes too, or on a roast beef open faced sandwich.  Again, I had never heard of, much less eaten, bacon gravy. For our (northern) broth gravy, we mixed up a solution of flour and water, stirred it until it was smooth, and added it to the hot roasted meat broth until the broth thickened, and that was what we ate and knew as gravy. (Delicious by the way!)

But.... after meeting my husband-to-be who was from the South, my cooking skills had to take a southern turn.  After all, the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, but first you have to learn how to cook like his momma!  LOL!  So, I did!

And one of the first things she taught me was how to make gravy - southern style - without a recipe. You just have to make it enough to just "know" how much flour to add, and how much milk, how much salt, and so on...

So... for those of you who need a recipe, I'm so sorry.  There isn't one.  However, I can show you how it is supposed to look, and perhaps you can take it from there!

First, before you ever get to making bacon gravy, the unwritten rule of the south is - biscuits and gravy go hand in hand!

So, while the bacon is sizzling happily in the skillet, biscuits are next.

I DO have a recipe for these wonderful biscuits, and they just happened to be sourdough biscuits - which are pretty amazing!  (I'll share the recipe for the sourdough biscuits below).

My sourdough starter had been fed the night before, and while it wasn't as fresh and bubbly as it could be, it worked.  

Cutting out the biscuits with the biscuit cutter...

Biscuits in the pan, cooked, and just waiting for gravy to be served up! (Someone had already snitched a biscuit before I could take the picture, lol!)

And here is the gravy ready to begin..... At this point in the picture above, the bacon had been removed from the grease, and a handful of flour dumped into the bacon grease and stirred.  Enough flour was added until the flour and grease create a bubbly happy brown mixture (sometimes otherwise known as a roux).

Once you see the grease/flour mixture bubbling, then add your milk.  Generally, it seems you add enough milk to almost double the mixture.

And stir, stir, stir!

Perhaps the most important lesson of all in southern cooking - and gravy making is this: ADD SALT! Seriously.  You can't get good gravy unless it has got a generous amount of salt.  Don't forget the pepper too!

Taste and see.... and sprinkle some more... lol!

And pepper - lots of it!  You want enough pepper in the gravy so you can see the black flecks in the gravy.

Continue to stir until the gravy begins to thicken and boil.  Bring just to a boil, and then turn off heat.

Continue stirring gravy until you get a very thick mixture.  If, by chance, it is too thick, you can always add a few more spoonfuls of milk.

Until you get the consistency you want, you can add milk, depending on how thick, or runny you would like your gravy.

Gravy this thick is just PERFECT for the hot sourdough biscuits!

And there you have it - a generous serving of gravy over homemade sourdough biscuits, fresh scrambled eggs from our very own chickens, and a slice of thick bacon.  Breakfast doesn't get much better than this folks!  I whipped up this easy, filling breakfast in about 30 minutes, from start to finish!  And a breakfast like this goes a long way - usually I make this kind of breakfast on a weekend morning, and we will generally not eat again until dinner.

I promised you the recipe for my sourdough biscuits, and here is what I have discovered when making these biscuits.  It depends on how fresh your sourdough starter is as to how much sourdough you need to add.  If you've waited a little past the peak time (which is generally an hour or two after feeding) to use your sourdough - which in my case was overnight -  then you may have to use a little more sourdough starter.

Sourdough Biscuits

2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp baking powder
1 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup butter (cubed)
1 to 1-1/2 cups sourdough starter

Preheat oven to 450.  Mix flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar together.  Cut in butter until mixture is butter is completely worked into the flour.  Make a hole in the center of the flour mixture and pour 1 cup sourdough starter in. Work sourdough in, adding more starter if necessary, until mixture comes together into a dough.  Roll out dough on floured surface to about 2" thick, and cut with biscuit cutter.  Cook in hot preheated oven for 15 minutes.  Serve hot - preferably with gravy, or homemade jam!


  1. Just when I swore I was not going to make any biscuits this week. OH MY! lol I think I am going to have to eat my words....or my biscuits! Thanks for the recipe. xo Diana

    1. LOL - I know biscuits and gravy are such a treat, and that is why we mostly do them on the weekends!

  2. Wow. Now that's a meal. My mom used to make everything with bacon grease. Yum. Don't eat bacon any more, but sure looks good.

    1. Yes, I know most people years ago saved their bacon grease and used it to fry everything!

  3. I love your blog and I've recently learned how to keep a sourdough starter without killing it. I haven't tried biscuits or bacon gravy, but since my husband thinks there should be a bacon perfume, I'm totally making your gravy, Thanks! Jeannie

    1. It is quite easy to make, and once you've made it, you'll never open another packaged mix of gravy again!

  4. Your mother-in-law was a wise one to teach you this southern delight!

    Sausage gravy is even easier, I think.

    For 6 ounces of ground, browned sausage (DO NOT DRAIN OFF THE GREASE), sprinkle 1 heaping Tablespoon of all purpose flour over it in the skillet. (For 12 ounces of ground, browned sausage, sprinkle 2 heaping Tablespoons flour; for 16 ounces, use 3 heaping Tablespoons flour.)

    Stir with a wooden spoon for several minutes to brown that. Then, for each 6 ounces of ground browned sausage, add one cup of the fattest milk you have (not cream). (For 12 ounces sausage, add 2 cups; for 16 ounces sausage, add 3 cups.) Over medium-high heat, whisk and stir until thick and bubbly.

    No need to season or anything. It's all in there and ready to pour over your delicious sour dough biscuits or scrambled eggs. Now THAT'S what I'm a talkin' 'bout!

    Hugs and happy weekend,

    P.S. Am loving your blog, girlfriend!

    1. Wow - thanks Kelley! That's a great way to remember how much flour to use for the proportions of sausage - I really appreciate you taking the time to share it here! I hope you are having a blessed weekend, and I appreciate your visit here, and kind words!!! I have enjoyed visiting your blog too!


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