You don’t need a pre-made gravy mix and you definitely don’t need a restaurant to enjoy a stellar serving of Sawmill Gravy and Biscuits! This recipe delivers a delicious, smooth and creamy gravy loaded with savory pork sausage. It’s the perfect topping for the South’s favorite carb — biscuits!
Making this protein-packed gravy at home is so much easier than you think, and with this foolproof recipe, you can expect a hearty breakfast on the table in less than 20 minutes!
Serve this Sawmill Gravy over homemade Southern biscuits with a side of fried eggs for a quick-fix breakfast the entire family will love!
WHAT IS SAWMILL GRAVY?
Sawmill Gravy is white country gravy that begins with either bacon or sausage fat, and contains one or both of those proteins. It is a popular and beloved Southern breakfast staple served over open-faced biscuits.
WHY IS IT CALLED SAWMILL GRAVY?
Many pinpoint the origin of this gravy to the late 1800s in Southern Appalachia. This hearty, protein-packed breakfast item was served as a filling breakfast to fuel the hard, manual labor faced by sawmill workers throughout the day. This is why it is called Sawmill Gravy!
Although, in the South, you’ll more likely hear it referred to as just plain, ol’ Biscuits and Gravy.
SAWMILL GRAVY VS. SAUSAGE GRAVY
These days, there really isn’t much of a difference between sausage gravy and Sawmill Gravy, and the terms are fairly synonymous.
However, back in the 1800s, when they were whipping it up at the logging camps, it wasn’t the same Sawmill gravy you envision today. The original Sawmill consisted of cornmeal, bacon drippings, milk, and seasoning. The cornmeal must have been used as a thickener to make the gravy more substantial and filling for the loggers.
Rest assured, no one is putting cornmeal in their Sawmill Gravy these days…at least, we hope not.
CRACKER BARREL’S SAWMILL GRAVY
Cracker Barrel is known for Southern country cooking, and many flock to this popular restaurant chain for their Biscuits and Sawmill Gravy. The Sawmill Gravy served at Cracker Barrel consists of a double whammy of pork, with both bits of bacon and sausage in the mix.
What many restaurant-goers don’t know, is this is an extremely easy and uncomplicated gravy to make at home. Not to mention, it’s much better. Much, much better.
HOW TO MAKE SAWMILL GRAVY
- Cook the Sausage – Add pork breakfast sausage to a large skillet over medium-high heat, and break it up using a wooden spoon or spatula. Continue cooking until the sausage is completely cooked through.
- Add the Flour and Milk – Add the flour and stir until it is evenly distributed on the pork. Then, add warmed milk one big splash at a time, stirring well after each addition. Be sure not to add cold milk to the pan. Go ahead and add the salt and pepper at this point as well!
- Simmer – Let the gravy slowly simmer until it has slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
Serve your Sawmill Gravy over split, open-faced biscuits and enjoy!
TROUBLESHOOTING: MY GRAVY IS TOO THICK!
If your gravy is too thick for your liking, simply warm up to 1/3 cup of milk to room temperature in the microwave. Then, add a tiny splash (about 1 tablespoon at a time) to your gravy, stirring after each addition. Continue doing this until you’ve reached the desired consistency.
You may need to add a touch more seasoning in order to compensate for the extra liquid added to the mix.
TROUBLESHOOTING: MY GRAVY IS TOO THIN!
If your Sawmill Gravy is too thin for your liking, here’s what to do: place one tablespoon of butter in a small microwave-safe bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap to avoid any messes! Then, microwave it just until melted, about 15-20 seconds.
Once your butter is melted, stir in 1 tablespoon of flour until the two are well-combined. Then, add the flour mix to the gravy, stir, and allow to simmer for about 3-5 minutes.
- Pork Breakfast Sausage | As mentioned above, Sawmill Gravy can consist of sausage, bacon, or both. This recipe is for a pork sausage gravy, but if you’d like to sub in bacon, see the instructions below!
- Flour | Flour is an important ingredient when it comes to making gravy and you should take care to measure it properly. Too much and it will be too thick. Too little and it will be too thin. Another thing you’ll want to note about the flour is to use all-purpose flour.
- Milk | This recipe was developed using whole milk, but feel free to use 2% milk if it’s all you have on hand. Be sure not to add cold milk to your roux, or the mix will tighten up, making it difficult for you to achieve a smooth gravy.
- Salt and Pepper
CAN I USE BACON INSTEAD TO MAKE BACON GRAVY?
Yes! You can use bacon in the place of sausage or you can use both!
HOW TO MAKE SAWMILL GRAVY WITH BACON:
- Replace the sausage in this recipe with six slices of thick-cut bacon.
- Dice the bacon into 1/4″ cubes and add it to a pan over medium-high heat.
- Sauté until it is crispy to your liking and remove from the pan using a slotted spoon.
- Incorporate the flour and the milk as directed in the recipe card below.
- Then, stir in the cooked bacon and serve!
CAN I MAKE IT WITHOUT MEAT?
Yes! Sawmill Gravy without the meat is actually just white country gravy. You can get that recipe here.
5 MORE BREAKFAST RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
A quick and easy homemade Sawmill Gravy recipe that's smooth, creamy, and loaded with savory pork sausage. It's the only gravy recipe you’ll ever need for your biscuits!
- 1 pound pork breakfast sausage
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 cups whole milk, warmed to room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoons black pepper
- Biscuits for serving
In a large saute pan over medium-high heat add the sausage, breaking it apart with a wooden spoon and saute for 7-10 minutes until cooked through.
Add flour and stir to coat. Add the milk, a generous splash at a time, whisking after each addition until all of the milk has been incorporated. Add the salt and pepper and stir again.
Allow the sauce to bubble for 5-7 minutes, just until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Halve the biscuits, spoon gravy across the top, serve and enjoy.
To quickly warm the milk, place it a microwave safe measuring pitcher and heat for 45 seconds to 1 minute.
Makes 6-8 biscuits, and about 2 cups of sausage gravy.