Biscuits with Ham and Red Eye Gravy

Entertaining this holiday season? Then it’s likely that you will have leftover ham and Charleston Coffee Roasters coffee in the fridge. So treat your guests to this comforting and soulful recipe for Biscuits with Ham and Red Eye Gravy in the morning.

Charleston Coffee Roasters Biscuits with Ham and Red Eye Gravy

Red eye gravy is a classic thin Southern sauce made with leftover coffee. You might think the term “red eye” has to do with the caffeine in the coffee. But it was actually named for the appearance of the gravy. When the coffee is added to the pan with the drippings from the ham, the ham looks like a red eye staring up at you!

Traditionally, the gravy is made with just three ingredients: country ham, coffee, and water (or broth). The ham is quickly seared in the pan to create delicious brown drippings, and then the drippings are deglazed from the bottom of the pan by the coffee and the water.

Charleston Coffee Roasters Biscuits with Ham and Red Eye Gravy - Making Red Eye Gravy

While country ham is typically the foundation for red eye gravy, it is more likely that you will have smoked or cured ham leftover from your holiday parties. That works just as well, and may be more preferable to your guests since country ham can be quite salty.

Charleston Coffee Roasters Biscuits with Ham and Red Eye Gravy - Browning the Ham

In order to get a sauce with a little more body and thickness, we start by making a roux of butter and flour. Cooking the roux to the color of peanut butter will add depth and nuttiness to the sauce. The key to getting a smooth sauce is to be sure the coffee and broth are warm, and then add them both slowly to the roux whisking constantly to remove any lumps as you go.

Since there are only a few ingredients in the gravy, you will really taste the coffee flavor. Some don’t like red eye gravy for this reason because the coffee is often bitter. But with our signature “smooth – never bitter” roasts, you will never have that issue.

As to which coffee to brew, we suggest our Breakfast Blend, both to use in the recipe and to drink. It’s a crisp and bright medium roast coffee that is a crowd pleaser.

Charleston Coffee Roasters Biscuits with Ham and Red Eye Gravy - Buttermilk Biscuits and Ham

You can serve the ham and gravy on its own, but we like it best layered on top of warm fluffy buttermilk biscuits. The biscuits soak up more of the gravy, and help to balance out the flavors. Along with a cup of coffee, it’s the perfect warming start to the day!



3-4 slices country ham or smoked ham
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup warm beef stock
1/2 cup warm strong brewed coffee
1 teaspoon sugar
4 warm buttermilk biscuits, split in half

  1. Heat a medium saute pan over medium heat.
  2. When the pan is hot, add the ham slices to the pan. Cook until browned and warmed through. Remove from pan and set aside.
  3. Turn heat down to low, and add butter to the pan. Stir to melt.
  4. When the butter is melted, add the flour and whisk to incorporate. Continue cooking over low heat, whisking often, until flour is the color of peanut butter and smells nutty about 5 minutes.
  5. Slowly add the stock and coffee to the pan and stir to combine. Continue cooking until the gravy is thickened and bubbling.
  6. Add the sugar, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Place the bottom half of a biscuit on a plate, and top with pieces of the ham and spoon plenty of red eye gravy over the ham. Top with the other half of the biscuit.