Nothing says comfort like waking up to a warm plate of Southern-style Buttermilk Biscuits and Sausage Gravy for breakfast!
This is one of my FAVORITE comfort food breakfasts.
Creamy gravy ladled over steaming, crumbly biscuits always make me nostalgic. Each year for Christmas brunch the family depends on my grandma to show up with a big slow-cooker full of her thick sausage gravy and mounds of warm, buttery biscuits.
Southern Biscuits And Sawmill Gravy
You’ll find biscuits and gravy on any good Southern breakfast menu. This breakfast combo melds together an American adaptation on a French roux-based white sauce with a quick-bread that has been a staple in American kitchens since those kitchens were open-air fire pits.
It’s hard to tell exactly when people started putting sausage gravy (also called sawmill gravy) on their biscuits, but it was a combination that made sense, since the ingredients were readily available and inexpensive. (As a side note, early sausage gravy was probably made with water, not milk, so it was a VERY cheap meal.)
How To Make Perfect Sausage Gravy Every Time
Making gravy is a fairly simple kitchen task. Fat, thickener, and liquid come together to create a smooth and creamy accessory that is perfect for so many meals.
To make sausage gravy you MUST start with a good breakfast sausage. If you start with a good breakfast sausage, everything else falls into place.
After browning your sausage you add a bit of flour as a thickener for your gravy. (All the fat you need is there from the sausage. But, if your sausage is REALLY fatty, you can feel free to drain a little. Just don’t go too crazy, you need some fat in there!)
Then, we add milk to our flour and sausage mixture. The milk gets added slowly, stirring as it goes in, and you’ll watch the thickening magic happen right before your very eyes.
Finally, you have a decision to make. How thick do you want your gravy?
For a thicker gravy, simmer it longer. For a thinner gravy, simmer is less time.
Gravy is so forgiving too. If you accidentally simmer it a bit too long and it gets too thick for your liking, no worries. Simply add in a little more milk as you heat it, until your desired consistency is reached.
How To Make Fluffy Biscuits
Biscuits are a class of quick bread all to themselves. The name “biscuit” means “twice baked” and they were originally flat cakes that were baked twice to dry them out and make them last longer.
Light and feathery biscuits like we know today originated on Southern plantations where they were eaten as a basic bread with any meal.
So, what makes a good biscuit?
A good biscuit will be fluffy with layers that just flake apart. That’s the butter at work.
Yes, leavening and buttermilk help the process along, but, let’s face it, without butter, biscuits don’t hold the same appeal.
Some people cut the butter into the flour mixture to get nice, even pieces throughout the dough. We learned a trick with melted butter that eliminates the butter cutting and still results in flaky biscuits.
If you pour your melted butter into cold buttermilk, the butter will harden from the temperature change. However, if you stir your butter while pouring it into the buttermilk, the butter hardens into little flakes, which are perfect for distributing within your biscuit dough to make the perfect fluffy biscuits.
Now, you’ll have to excuse me. My plate of steaming biscuits and gravy is calling!
Basic Fluffy Buttermilk Biscuits
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 cup buttermilk, cold*
- 4 Tbsp butter, melted
- Preheat your oven to 450F. Lightly grease a baking sheet and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl combine flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
- Pour the buttermilk into a second bowl. Gently pour the melted butter into the cold buttermilk, stirring as you pour. (The butter should solidify into nice small flakes.)
- Pour the buttermilk and butter mixture into the dry ingredients, mixing just until your dough comes together.
- Knead the dough gently 5-6 times and then roll it out to 1/2 inch thick. Cut your biscuits with a 2 1/2 inch biscuit (or cookie) cutter. Re-roll any excess dough and continue cutting until all the dough has been used.
- Place the cut biscuits onto the greased baking sheet. Bake for 14 - 15 minutes or until lightly golden. Serve warm.
Southern Sawmill Gravy (Sausage Gravy)
- 1 lb uncooked breakfast sausage
- 1/4 c unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 c milk (more if you like your gravy thinner)
- In a 9 inch skillet with high sides, brown the sausage over medium high heat, chopping it up as it browns.
- Once the sausage is cooked, reduce the heat to medium and mix in the flour until it is completely moistened.
- Slowly add the milk, stirring constantly. Once all the milk as been added, continue stirring the gravy as it begins to simmer and thicken. Simmer the gravy for 3-5 minutes, until just before your desired gravy thickness is reached. (The gravy will continue to thicken as it cools, so stopping a bit early is a good idea.)*
- Pour over your hot biscuits and enjoy!
This is one of the recipes from the early days of Curious Cuisiniere. We’ve updated our pictures since we first made it, but we’ve left the original image here as a fun throwback and shout out to how far we’ve come. Enjoy!