Ham with Redeye Gravy – Arkansas

Ham with redeye gravy is one of those regional specialties that probably came about in an effort to use up every bit of leftover food. It’s made with coffee which gives it a very distinctive taste. If you love coffee with your morning coffee, this will get your motor running.

Ham with Redeye Gravy - Arkansas

Food historians are not sure where the name came from. Some say it was because when the gravy cooled somewhat, the fat separated from the other liquid and formed a circle that looked like a red eye. Others attribute the name to former President Andrew Jackson who asked his hungover cook to make some gravy to go with his grits that was as red as the cook’s eyes.

Purists say that redeye gravy should only be made with ham drippings, coffee and a little sugar to counter the bitter of the coffee. But in our taste tests we decided that that version was too thin and runny and opted for a version thickened with a bit of flour.

Little Rock Central High School played a central role in the civil rights movement as nine African-American teenagers bravely battled angry crowds to attend school after the Supreme Court decided Brown v. Board of Education. Still in use today, the high school can be toured by reservation.

Ham with Redeye Gravy

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 2-3 ham steaks
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoons flour
  • ½ cup strong coffee or espresso
  • ¼ cup milk or cream
  • Pepper to taste
  • Sugar to taste (optional)
  • Ham
  • 3-4 fried eggs (for serving)
  • Buttermilk biscuits or grits (for serving)

Instructions

In a saucepan over medium heat, add ham. Cook until fat is rendered and ham is browned. Remove ham and set aside. Add butter to dripping in saucepan. When melted, add onion and cook for 3-4 minutes or until translucent. Add 1 tablespoon flour and whisk with onion mixture for about one minute. Add coffee and continue whisking. Add milk or cream. Keep on heat until desired consistency is reached. Season with pepper and sugar. Serve over ham and with fried eggs, along with buttermilk biscuits or grits.

 

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2 thoughts on “Ham with Redeye Gravy – Arkansas”

  1. Whoa Kat- gravy with ham juices & coffee!! have never heard of this one. I’m trying to imagine the flavor! Larry’s mom is from Arkansas– I’ll have to ask her if she’s had this! —– and I tried to leave a comment on the Cheese Crisp recipe, but couldn’t get the comment box. (just a little search box came up, What did I do wrong??) But wanted to say this is one of my favorite recipes yet– we’ll eat anything on a tortilla. We always have 4 kinds of tortillas in the fridge! Hope’s all well with you. Stay warm!!

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