Redeye Gravy With Ham

Ham and Redeye Gravy is a hearty breakfast traditionally made in a cast iron pan designed to charge Mom and Dad for a hard day of work. But it is also popular with campers as an easy eye-opener. Ham and coffee are the core ingredients, but there are variations on the theme.

Traditionally they are made with country ham, a dry brined American ham, but many people find these to be a bit too strong and funky. I prefer this recipe with a wet cured city ham or even thick cuts of Canadian bacon. Redeye Gravy can also be made with dried beef, a progenitor of chipped beef on toast or "shit on a shingle" as it was called by WWII soldiers. In Louisiana it is sometimes made with chickory instead of coffee, and I have even heard of it being made with cola or Dr Pepper. Bleeah. 

When you cook it the traditional way in a non nonstick pan, the ham will make a little fond, the brown bits that stick to the pan, but the ham cooks so quickly and has so little fat, there is no real advantage to cooking the meat in the pan, so I prefer to grill it (I know you are shocked to hear that), make the gravy on the side, and amp up the flavor a notch. If you like, make some biscuits, split them open, lay the cooked ham on top, and spoon the gravy over. I like.

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redeye gravy and ham

This tasty recipe will get you ready for a heavy work day.

Course. Brunch. Lunch. Dinner. Entree. Sauces and Condiments.

Cuisine. Southern. American.

Makes. 2 servings

Takes. 20 minutes

Serve with. Biscuits, toast, or grits


1 wet cured pork (see note below)

2 tablespoons bacon drippings or unsalted butter

2 tablespoons all purpose flour

1 cup of black coffee

2 teaspoons dark brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon hot sauce

About the pork. Sometimes I use a ham steak at least 1/4" thick and about 6 to 8 ounces. Sometimes I use 2 slices of Canadian bacon, at least 1/4" thick. In the picture above I used a wet cured bone in pork loin chop, which is pretty much the same as Canadian bacon with a bone.


1) Place a small sauce pan on medium heat. Toss in the bacon fat and when it is melted sprinkle in the flour. Whisk them until they are blended together, there are no lumps, and it turns the color of peanut butter.

2) Turn down the heat to medium low, add the coffee, sugar, black pepper, and hot sauce, and whisk. Cook until the coffee begins to thicken and it reduces to about 1/2 to 2/3 cup. Taste and adjust the seasonings. You can add salt if you want, but remember the meat is salty.

3) While the sauce is thickening, toss the meat on a hot grill. Remember it has already been cooked so you only need to heat it to 145F, and that shouldn’t take long. If it is almost done and the sauce hasn't thickened and reduced, turn the heat under it up.

4) Serve the meat and spoon some gravy over it.

"I'm good at anything that's country - biscuits, gravy, chicken-fried steak. I cook what I like to eat."Blake Shelton

Meathead Goldwyn

Meathead is the founder and publisher of, and is also known as the site's Hedonism Evangelist and BBQ Whisperer. He is also the author of "Meathead, The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling", a New York Times Best Seller and named one of the "100 Best Cookbooks of All Time" by Southern Living.

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