I know nothing about biscuits and gravy, except that I like to eat them. I have been working on “perfecting” my version since our first winter of isolation. I didn’t have anything else to do but cook – and stare at my cute newly-released-from-the-NICU baby. So, this is a recipe that was born out of boredom and love. ;)
I combined about 5 different recipes that I found online to come up with this one. It’s mostly based off of the Pioneer Woman’s recipe because I love her. I also discovered a few tricks along the way that made the biscuits and gravy even better!
It took me a lot of trial and error to make this well. It’s simple once you get the hang of it, but there are a few technique things that made all the difference. There is a good reason that only some people become famous for their biscuits and gravy! This is NOT a famous biscuits and gravy recipe. But it is my family’s favorite.
Comfort food, here we come!
A Good Place to Start
Ingredients: sausage, flour, salt, baking powder, butter, milk, buttermilk, seasoned salt, black pepper.
Make the Buttermilk Biscuits
Preheat the oven to 400°. Tip: Do not skip this step – your oven needs to be nice and hot.
Put your butter in the freezer. Yep – I said freezer! I actually store my butter in the freezer, so this isn’t too different for me. Tip: The extra cold butter helps make the biscuits super flaky.
Mix the flour, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl. Easy!
Take the butter out of the freezer and cut it into pieces. Tip: Use a fork – it breaks apart easier.
Cut the cold butter into the flour mixture. I use a pastry cutter, but if you don’t have one, you can use two forks. Mix until the butter pieces are about the size of a pea.
Add the buttermilk and mix with a fork until the dough just comes together. Tip: Use buttermilk!! It really is the key for delicious biscuit. You can make them with regular milk, but well, don’t. (You can make your own buttermilk easily: mix 1 cup milk with 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar. Let stand at room temperature for 5 – 10 minutes. There you go.)
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead 3 or 4 times. Using your fingers, quickly and gently press the dough out to about 1-inch even thickness. Tip: Do this quickly, the heat from your fingers will start to melt the butter and you don’t want that.
Fold the dough in half and press down gently. Fold in half the opposite way and repeat about 2 or 3 more times, creating layers of dough. Tip: This is what creates the flaky layers in your biscuits! Also, the less you handle the dough, the flakier the biscuits will be.
Press the dough out to about 1-inch even thickness again.
Cut into squares. Tip: Do not use a sawing motion when you are cutting. Simply press straight down with your knife. A sawing motion can ruin your layers and prevent the biscuits from rising.
Transfer to a baking sheet. I use parchment paper, but if you don’t have any, spray the pan with cooking spray first. Tip: Put the biscuits close together! The biscuits will rise higher and be softer if they are touching.
Brush the tops with buttermilk. This gives the biscuits a nice glaze.
Put the whole pan into the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes. Tip: Extra cold dough rises higher! I discovered this on accident. I had made my dough and then needed to run a quick errand. I didn’t want to leave the oven on while I was gone, so I just put the prepared pan into the fridge. When I got back, I preheated the oven and popped the cold pan directly into the hot oven. Voila – super rising biscuits! It’s magic.
Bake biscuits in a super-hot, pre-heated oven for 15 – 18 minutes, or until golden brown.
Make the Sausage Gravy
Crumble the sausage into a large, heavy bottomed pan. Tip: I like to use my stainless steel pan. I’ve tried to make gravy in a Teflon pan and it just didn’t turn out right. I don’t know why. Cook until browned and the fat is rendered. (Don’t use reduced fat sausage for this recipe – it won’t work.)
Don’t get any bright ideas, Miss (or Mr) Healthy-Pants. You’re not going to drain that deeelicious fat. You’re going to use it to make your roux. Tip: Combining fat and flour into a roux like this thickens your sauce.
Leaving the sausage right in the pan, add about half of the flour. Stir until the fat starts to absorb the flour. Add the rest of the flour, a little at a time. Stir well and cook for 1 – 2 minutes until the flour is totally absorbed into the fat.
Add your milk. Stir constantly at first until the milk is incorporated into the sausage and roux mixture. Tip: I like to use 1% milk in this recipe. I find that the gravy is rich enough without much added milk-fat. However, feel free to use whole milk, if you’d like, or anything in between! Don’t use skim milk for this recipe – it just doesn’t make a thick and creamy gravy.
Cook over medium heat until the gravy starts to thicken. This will take longer than you think. Tonight, it took 20 minutes to reach the consistency I like. Tip: The higher fat content milk you use, the quicker your gravy will thicken. Don’t let it boil.
Add the seasoned salt and black pepper. Adjust seasoning to taste.
Serve the sausage gravy over your buttermilk biscuits! YUM!
Buttermilk Biscuits and Sausage Gravy
- 3 cups All-purpose Flour
- 2 Tablespoons Baking Powder
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 1-1/2 stick (3/4 Cup) Frozen Butter, cut into pieces
- 1-1/4 cup Buttermilk
- 1 pound Breakfast Sausage, hot or mild
- 1/3 cup All-purpose Flour
- 4 cups 1% Milk (or any % besides skim)
- 1/2 teaspoon Seasoned Salt
- 1 teaspoon Black Pepper, more to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Add flour, baking powder, and salt to a large bowl. Mix well.
- Add butter pieces and cut into the flour mixture (use a pastry cutter or two forks).
- Add the buttermilk and stir until dough just comes together and is no longer crumbly.
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and use your fingers to press dough to 1-inch thickness.
- Fold dough in half, press down gently. Turn dough slightly and repeat 3 or 4 times.
- Press dough to 1-inch thickness again.
- Cut into squares. (Do not use a sawing motion, cut straight down.)
- Transfer to a baking sheet.
- Brush with buttermilk.
- Put the entire pan into the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes.
- Remove from fridge and put immediately into the hot oven. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Brown the sausage over medium-high heat until no longer pink.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low.
- Sprinkle on half the flour and stir so that the sausage soaks it all up, then add the rest a little at a time. Stir it around and cook it for another minute or so.
- Pour in the milk, stirring constantly.
- Cook the gravy, stirring frequently, until it thickens.
- Sprinkle in the seasoned salt and pepper and continue cooking until very thick and creamy.
- Taste and adjust seasonings.
Spoon sausage gravy over warm biscuits and serve immediately!