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    True Sawmill Gravy

    Source of Recipe

    "The Southerner's Cookbook: Recipes, Wisdom, and Stories"

    Recipe Introduction

    "The finely milled flour that thickens pasty-white 'sawmill' sausage gravy today wasn't always an everyday ingredient for many Southerners. Certainly not the mountain men who worked logging camps in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Back then cornmeal did the job. This recipe adheres to that tradition, creating a thicker gravy that's more akin to grits. In fact, the lumbermen often joked that there was sawdust in their gravy, but they didn't complain about the flavor."

    List of Ingredients

    ◦ 1 tablespoon bacon grease or unsalted butter
    ◦ 4 cooked thick-cut country ham slices
    ◦ 3 tablespoons coarse-ground yellow cornmeal
    ◦ 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    ◦ 2 cups whole milk
    ◦ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    ◦ Dash of hot pepper sauce


    Melt the bacon grease in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Fry the ham slices for 3 to 4 minutes per side depending on their thickness. Remove the ham slices from the pan and wrap them in foil to keep warm.

    Reserve 1 tablespoon of the rendered fat in the skillet; discard the rest. Add the cornmeal and salt and cook, stirring regularly, until the cornmeal begins to brown, 2 to 3 minutes.

    Slowly whisk in the milk, breaking up any lumps and scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes, until the gravy has thickened (it will thicken further upon standing). Season with pepper and the hot sauce. Serve with ham slices and warm biscuits.

    Serves 4




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