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Sawmill Gravy

Resistance is futile, give up now. Sawmill gravy is the answer to your weekend breakfast dilemma. No matter what the dilemma is, sawmill gravy will make it better!

This creamy white gravy with the peppery sausage is nothing short of a dream! You’ll be glad you decided to spend the morning in your jammies with sawmill gravy and biscuits!

Blue plate with two biscuits covered in thick white sawmill gravy with lumps of sausage showing in the gravy.

Sawmill Gravy

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS

  1. Sawmill gravy is a simple “use what you got” recipe. You’ll never run short of the ingredients.
  2. Sawmill gravy is easy to save and warm up again later.
  3. A weekend that begins with sawmill gravy can’t possibly go wrong.
Sawmill Gravy being poured from a ladle onto biscuits sitting on a blue plate with black skillet in background

Sawmill Gravy

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ):

WHAT IS SAWMILL GRAVY?

Sawmill gravy is a southern delight using meat drippings pork when I make it), milk and flour. Wiktionary defines it the same way.

ARE THERE OTHER NAMES FOR SAWMILL GRAVY?

Sawmill gravy is also referred to as Old sawmill gravy, Cracker Barrel Sawmill Gravy and white sawmill gravy.

WHERE DID THE NAME SAWMILL GRAVY COME FROM?

According to a thread on the “civil war talk” history forum, sawmill gravy originated in logging camps (and old time sawmills) and it was made from cornmeal, bacon drippings and milk with some seasonings.

As you can imagine, this would have been a somewhat gritty gravy. The men would sometimes accuse the cooks of using sawdust to make the gravy.

Do I know if this is true? No. But it sounds like a story that might be true. Lol. You can go check it out yourself.

CAN YOU MAKE SAWMILL GRAVY WITH OTHER KINDS OF MEAT OR NO MEAT AT ALL?

You CAN make sawmill gravy using bacon. When made without meat it is referred to as milk gravy.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SAWMILL GRAVY AND RED EYE GRAVY?

Make sawmill gravy with milk, flour and meat drippings or pieces (like pork). You make Red Eye gravy with country ham, black coffee and small amounts of flour, sugar and other seasonings that various cooks apply.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SAWMILL GRAVY AND BROWN GRAVY?

Make sawmill gravy with milk, flour and meat drippings or pieces (like pork). You make Brown gravy with meat drippings, stock and usually a small amount of flour or corn starch to thicken.

WHAT DO I EAT WITH SAWMILL GRAVY?

The best thing to eat with sawmill gravy is southern buttermilk biscuits!  The second choice is toast.

Of course, it is also wildly delicious poured over the top of everything on your breakfast plate! Try it on eggs, Southern Fried Breakfast potatoes, hash browns, Southern Creamy Cheese Grits or anything else you find!

Canned mashed potatoes and ANYTHING that has this The Secret to Breading that Sticks will need gravy!

I’m pretty sure it would make a piece of leather taste good.

CAN I MAKE SAWMILL GRAVY WITH BACON and BACON GREASE?

Yes. Follow the instructions below in the recipe box, but instead of sausage, use bacon and then tear it into tiny pieces if you plan to put any of it in the gravy. 

Add those to the pan and then add the flour. Continue with the recipe.

HOW WOULD I MAKE SAWMILL GRAVY USING CORNMEAL?

You can make sawmill gravy using the directions below. Simple substitute as follows:

In the bacon grease, add 3 TBS of cornmeal and cook for a few minutes. Add 2 Cups of milk. Then season with salt and pepper.

CAN I REHEAT LEFTOVER GRAVY?

Yes, it reheats well in the microwave. Heat for 1 minute, stir, heat for 30 secs, stir, and repeat for 30 second  Intervals until it is as hot as you like.

You can also add it to a small saucepan and heat on low heat on the stovetop. Add a little milk if it is thicker than you like for reheating.

CAN I FREEZE SAWMILL GRAVY?

Unfortunately, this gravy does not freeze well. When you thaw it, it separates. Freezing breaks the gravy.

HOW LONG IS SAWMILL GRAVY GOOD FOR?

You can allow the sawmill gravy to set out for 2 hours and then you need to cover it and put it in the refrigerator.

It will be good for about 5 days if you keep it refrigerated. 

 

 

TIPS AND TRICKS FOR COOKING UP A BATCH OF SAWMILL GRAVY.

  • Have all of your ingredients ready when you start because once the milk is added you must stir stir stir till its’ done’.
  • If you have a lot of grease left after cooking the sausage (or whatever meat you choose to use), then pour that off.
  • When you add the flour, allow it to cook in the dry pan for 1-2 minutes to get the flour taste out.
  • Add the milk and scrape up any of the meat bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pan.
  • As the milk thickens and cooks, you’ll note that some of it wants to cling to the side of the pan. Use your spoon to scrape that off and add it back to the gravy regularly.
  • You can cook the gravy to be as thick as you want it. If you like it thicker, just cook it a little longer.
  • Note that the gravy will thicken a little as it cools.

LETS SEE HOW THIS IS DONE

First, brown the sausage (or the meat you are using)

Sausage in a black cast iron skillet being stirred and browned

Browning the sausage for sawmill gravy

Pour off the grease and add the flour

A photo of flour in a blue bowl being sprinkled over the sausage in the cast iron skillet

Adding the flour to the sawmill gravy

Stir the flour and cook it in the pan for 1-2 minutes

a photo of the sausage in the cast iron skillet with flour on it being stirred and cooked using a wooden spoon

Stirring the sawmill gravy and cooking the flour

Add the milk all at once

A photo of a quart jar pouring milk into a black cast iron pan with sausage and flour in it

Add the milk to thegravy

Season the gravy with salt and pepper

a photo of salt in a small blue bowl being added to the cast iron pan mixture with wooden spoon in photo

Add seasoning to the gravy using salt and pepper

Stir constantly until the sawmill gravy is thickened and bubbly

a photo of a wooden spoon covered with gravy and clumps of sausage over the top of a cast iron skillet filled with milky, creamy thick gravy

Thick bubbly gravy

DOES LOAVES AND DISHES HAVE OTHER GRAVY RECIPES? 

Sure do! 

We have…

Sausage Gravy

Southern Tomato Gravy

How To Make Gravy Without Drippings

Red Eye Gravy

Sawmill Gravy

Hamburger Gravy 

How To Make Gravy with Cornstarch! 

YA’LL HELP ME OUT, OK?

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Blue plate with two biscuits covered in thick white sawmill gravy with lumps of sausage showing in the gravy.

SAWMILL GRAVY

Resistance is futile, give up now.  Sawmill gravy is the answer to your weekend breakfast dilemma. No matter what the dilemma is, sawmill gravy will make it better!
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side
Cuisine: American
Keyword: sawmill gravy, white gravy
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 280kcal
Author: Wendi Spraker

Ingredients

  • ½ Lb  Sausage Best Quality you can afford
  • Cup All Purpose Flour
  • 4 Cups Whole milk
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Cook the sausage in a 9-10” skillet over medium heat on the stove top.  Break the meat up into small pieces as you cook it.
  • After the sausage is done, pour off the grease leaving just a small amount in the pan.  It’s fine to leave the sausage in the pan if you are going to use it in your gravy.
  • Add the flour by sprinkling it over the top of the sausage. Cook the flour over medium heat for 1-2 minutes with the sausage in the dry pan.
  • Add the milk all at once and use your wooden spoon to scrape the bits of meat and stuck on pieces from the bottom of the pan.
  • Stir continuously, scraping the sides and bottom of the pan while stirring.  Continue this until the gravy is as thick as you like it. The longer it cooks the thicker it will get.  It will get slightly thicker once you remove it from the burner. If the gravy starts to boil and spatter, turn the heat down and keep stirring.

Notes

  • Have all of your ingredients ready when you start because once the milk is added you must stir stir stir till its’ done’.
  • If you have a lot of grease left after cooking the sausage (or whatever meat you choose to use), then pour that off.
  • When you add the flour, allow it to cook in the dry pan for 1-2 minutes to get the flour taste out.
  • Add the milk and scrape up any of the meat bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pan.
  • As the milk thickens and cooks, you’ll note that some of it wants to cling to the side of the pan.  
  • Use your spoon to scrape that off and add it back to the gravy regularly.
  • You can cook the gravy to be as thick as you want it.  
  • If you like it thicker, just cook it a little longer.
  • Note that the gravy will thicken a little as it cools.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
SAWMILL GRAVY
Amount Per Serving
Calories 280
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Mention @loavesanddishes or tag #loavesanddishes!

A VERSE TO SHARE 

Sometimes what I write here comes to me in the strangest ways. I always pray that God will give me words that will speak to someone in their time of need.

You would be shocked to read the emails I get about the passages I share. God works in mysterious ways, that’s for sure.

Today, as I prayed that He would give me the right message, this is what happened.

A song immediately came on my station and the lines were:

“So keep your head up, keep your love

Keep your head up, my love”  

~ Lumineers, Stubborn Love~

I looked up Bible verses for keeping your head up and stumbled upon Proverbs 4.

Such wisdom here. There’s nothing else that I need to add other than, I encourage you to read the whole passage.

Proverbs 4: 23-27

Above all else, guard your heart,

   for everything you do flows from it.

Keep your mouth free of perversity;

   keep corrupt talk far from your lips.

Let your eyes look straight ahead;

   fix your gaze directly before you.

Give careful thought to the paths for your feet

   and be steadfast in all your ways.

Do not turn to the right or the left;

   keep your foot from evil

 

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Recipe Rating




Tina Masarik

Thursday 23rd of April 2020

My mother made all of these gravies when I was growing up.I made them for my kids now doing it for the grands...We grew up southern & I'm so glad we did..Thanks for your recipes..

Wendi Spraker

Friday 24th of April 2020

Hi Tina! Thanks so much for leaving a comment, I love leaving my grands with a tradition too. Gravy is sure a favorite! :) Thanks for leaving a comment!

Barb

Wednesday 20th of February 2019

I've been making this for years, but I add a pinch of poultry seasoning to it. It makes a great thing even better! I didn't, however, know that it's called sawmill gravy.

Wendi Spraker

Saturday 9th of February 2019

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