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Red-eye Gravy

Condiments, Dressings, Sauces

  • Makes about 1/4 cup.


  • Country ham slices
  • brewed coffee (1/2 cup, more or less; you may add water to adjust strength to taste)
  • 1-2 Teaspoons butter (optional)


I consider this more a technique based on personal taste than the usual recipe using measurements. You may want to experiment using different amounts of brewed coffee to adjust the strength to your liking.

I must add that in all my years of traveling Kentucky and being served red-eye gravy, I’ve never met a Bluegrass cook who doesn’t know how to nail it. Kentucky is the home of red-eye gravy for my taste.

Fry country ham slices in a cast-iron skillet. Remove the ham and keep warm. Pour approximately 1/2 cup of black coffee or a combination of both coffee and water (depending on taste) into the drippings. Many cooks tell me they like to add a teaspoon or two of butter at this point. Bring to a boil, stirring and scraping the dregs off the bottom of the pan. Continue stirring and boiling for a minute or two, until gravy reduces by half. Pour the gravy over country ham and spoon over grits for a sensational breakfast.

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