Biscuits and Gravy
What are Biscuits and Gravy? This is a question I repeatedly get after Jess and I do one of our Saturday Biscuits and Gravy posts on Instagram. When you’re from the Southern U.S., you most likely have known the answer to this since you could talk. I would like to think that most Americans know this as well, but I’m sure there are some that don’t.
If you are from other countries, reading or hearing about biscuits and gravy may just be revolting. Even though I’m not a worldly person, I do know that in England, for example, “biscuits” are more like “cookies” and that is why many of our followers are bewildered with this dish.
Southern History of Biscuits
According to a Southern Living article titled “The Southern History of Biscuits” Southern biscuits evolved from the British version of a biscuit. Factors that led to the change in the biscuit were the necessity for speed, using sweet potato flour due to an abundance of sweet potatoes in the South along with shortages of wheat flour, and eventually the mass production of winter wheat flour by White Lily.
The biscuits that I grew up watching my mama make and that I make are actually quite simple. Flour, fat, and milk. The secret is in getting the right balance, the right texture of dough, and how it is kneaded (or not). I was never one to be picky about my flour because who has time for that? Not me. However, I recently discovered that using (organic) bread flour made an amazing difference in the texture of my biscuits. So, there’s that.
Now, About That Gravy
Coincidentally, the main ingredients for our gravy is flour, fat and milk. Different portions, different order of assembly, and absolutely a different type of fat. My children prefer gravy that is made with ground sausage drippings. The rest is just an art form – getting the consistency just right takes lots of patience and practice. Then, when the gravy is finished, the pre-cooked crumbled sausage is put back in.
Here’s a little secret – since I found out that I have an Hashimotos, an autoimmune disease, I care a whole lot more about what goes into my body. We buy all natural sausage to make our gravy. When I don’t have that or if it doesn’t cook off enough grease, I add avocado oil to make up the difference.
If you try out these recipes, please take a photo or video and tag us so we can check it out!
Here is our simple biscuit recipe:
2 C self-rising flour
¼ C shortening or 3 tbsp oil
~ ¾ C buttermilk
Evenly cut the shortening or oil into the flour. Then, add the buttermilk all at once and stir until mixed. The dough is better when it is a little soft. If it is stiff after adding the milk, a little more can be added. This can be turned out onto a floured surface, rolled, and cut, or they can be dropped by spoonfuls onto a baking sheet. I almost always just drop them, sprinkle a tad of flour on top, then pat down a little to shape them up some.
450° oven for about 10 minutes
For the gravy, these are my mothers instructions she wrote to me in June of 1987 – one month before Jessica was born.
4 tbsp grease (we use sausage or bacon drippings)
4 tbsp flour (rounded)
1 tsp salt (I probably use more)
Ground Black Pepper (I sprinkle it abundantly – I love black pepper)
2 C milk
Blend flour, salt & pepper into grease and stir over medium heat until golden brown. Add milk slowly, a little at a time being careful that flour mixture is not too hot. Stir constantly until mixture comes to a good boil and thickens. All of the milk may not be needed.
Trace, my mother did that same thing when I was growing up. She also made pie crusts out of that same bowl. She made great pies.
I enjoy you and your sweet family so much! I am thankful I found your videos they seem to always brighten my day! Val you are one precious Mother and I pray God always gives you the strength and all you need to live the best life possible.
I have a medical problem with migraines and cluster headaches and it has turned my life inside out. I can’t work outside the home and even at home are challenges at well but I do what I can when I can. My husband and grown daughters are wonderful to me and seeing you with your girls reminds me of the love I share with my own. Wouldn’t trade it for the world and am so thankful I was able to be a drag at home Mom and raise them. If I never did anything else right in my life my girls are beautiful inside and out and I’m so proud of their character.
Sorry this is so long but one last thing… there’s a lady on fb from AL named Brenda Grant. She makes biscuits and gravy using an open bowl of flour and puts her crisco and buttermilk right in that bowl of flour and kneads it. When it’s worked together she lifts it out and the rest of the flour is still dry and ready for next time! If you’ve never seen this I would love for you to look her up and watch the video! If you do please let me know what you think it’s pretty amazing and just might bring a smile to your face 🙂
Praying blessings and goodness to you and yours always!
Thank you for your sweet comment! Regarding the biscuits, I’m fascinated and will check that out. What an interesting concept!
I thought everyone knew about Biscuits and gravy, how about purple hull peas and fried okra. As you can tell i am from the Deep South, East Texas to be exact. ?
I have been surprised at how many people don’t know about biscuits and gravy, although many of the ones who ask are from Europe, Australia, etc.
p.s. I love okra!
Since Jess seems to like chicken does she like chicken and dumplings?
I listened to your podcast. You are an awesome mom. I wish I had a family like yours..mine just called me weird and the “r” word.
I was just thinking about SOS and then saw Pat’s comment about it. I’m from Texas and LOVE it plain without putting it on biscuits or toast. But then I get pizza without sauce too.
When Jess was younger, she did eat chicken and dumplings. I think she would still like it if she ate it, it’s just a matter of convincing her to choose it again.
Embrace your weirdness! You are unique! One of a kind! I spent too many years comparing myself to others. My siblings did a job on my self-esteem. I remind myself everyday how thankful I am to be me. You can do the same. Words can be hurtful but that does not define who YOU are. It defines the character of those who use them. U B? U …xx
I have never had biscuits and gravy but I will be trying your recipe in the next week or so…they look so so so good! Would you consider doing a step by step video of you making them? It would certainly help me! LOL. I’m a great cook but have never cooked/baked with sausage/bacon drippings. Your recipe seems straight forward but I’m a visual kinda learner! So, ya know, in your “spare time” (LOLOL) would you consider a video lesson of your scrumptious biscuits and gravy for us #GOODONES? ?. Wendy
I have that same biscuit cutter, it’s even a well-worn seafoam green handle! Born and bred southern gal, I sometimes make biscuits and gravy in my sleep. I’ll definitely be trying your recipe! Thanks!
I guess I’ve had that biscuit cutter 30+ years. It has hugged a lot of biscuits. Please let me know how the biscuits turn out.
Amber Lockhart ‘ForkLock’
I can’t wait to get back in the biscuits and gravy mode with your instructions!
Hi! Please let me know how it goes!
My dad many years ago lived on a submarine for many years he was in the service for over 30 years and he would make your gravy and use hamburger instead of sausage and in the service the Navy they called it SOS you want me to tell you what it meant s*** on shingles and you’d put it over biscuits or toast I still make it.
That sounds similar to something we make except we used dried beef.