White gravy is a staple of Southern cooking. In the South and Southwest we use it to top everything from biscuits to French-Fries. Southern style white gravy is usually made from pan drippings or lard instead of butter and always uses cracked black pepper. It’s even called pepper gravy in some places.
This version uses butter for those of you who can’t use bacon fat or lard, but with distinct differences, so pay attention class!
Let’s make some Southern Gravy!
First, melt 5 Tablespoons of butter over low heat. Then turn up the heat to medium high until it just starts to brown.
Then add in about 4 Tablespoons of flour. All-purpose is fine. I’ve never needed to use anything else for this gravy. (Whole wheat flour is a bad idea, though.)
Whisk the flour into the melted butter, then add some salt and pepper (Black pepper. Southern Gravy has black specks in it. It’s supposed to!). Keep whisking the flour until it’s a deep tan color and smells nutty.
Now it’s time to add in the milk, stirring constantly. Add in a bit at a time, until the gravy is where we want it, which in this case, was here:
Note… White gravy will keep thickening after you’ve made it, so it should always be made when it’s needed. If you have to make it ahead, make it a LOT thinner than you think you’ll need it.
And there you have it folks. The South’s answer to all your problems. Perfect white gravy, just waiting to be slathered on something… Like biscuits.
- 5 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 4 tbsp. all purpose flour
- Approximately 2 cups milk (vitamin D milk, not skim, fat-free, fat-less, or other, and nothing heavier, it won’t work.)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Melt butter over low heat in a small saucepan. Add flour and combine. Add ¼ tsp salt and around 10 grinds pepper.
- Stir until the flour is about the color of peanut butter and smells nutty. Add ½ of the milk and increase heat to medium.
- Allow to come to a simmer, stirring constantly to avoid sticking. On the first run, the gravy is likely to nearly seize, be ready with more milk.
- Add milk by quarter or half cups until gravy has thickened considerably. If using a whisk you’ll know the gravy is ready when drawing the whisk through the gravy leaves “tracks” from the wires that remain visible for at least 5 seconds.
- Add at least 10 more grinds pepper and another pinch of salt, to taste.
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.