This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read my disclosure policy.
Southern breakfast just wouldn’t be the same without a smoky ham gravy to layer atop cheesy biscuits and soft scrambled eggs.
If you enjoy breakfast and are “in the know” about Red Lobster’s Cheddar Bay Biscuits, you won’t want to miss out on my Cheddar Bay Breakfast Casserole!
You’ve heard of sausage gravy over biscuits, but have you heard of ham gravy over biscuits? One of THE BEST and more memorable breakfast biscuits I have eaten was served with a southern pan gravy made with what the chef referred to as “smoked ham burnt ends.” When I inquired as to ‘how traditional’ this was to use ham in place of sausage, he replied that his gravy was really a spin-off of a dish he’d grown up eating all of his life on the bayou near the Louisiana Mississippi line, Creamed Ham.
Chef’s biscuits were tricked out to include everything from a fried green tomato, lump crabmeat, and a poached egg atop the sultry ham gravy which he whisked from a well toasted roux and heavy cream.
Today, and because I am showcasing my interpretation of chef’s ham gravy, I am simplifying my big old breakfast to include my Best Cheesy Garlic Biscuits For Every Meal, some scrambled eggs, and this savory and delicious ham gravy. If you are always looking for ways to use up that leftover Easter or Christmas ham, this is a great recipe to save!
A Breakfast Recipe For Ham Gravy
A traditional part of Kansas City style barbecue, burnt ends are considered a delicacy in barbecue cooking. Beef brisket is actually 2 muscles, the leaner flat and the fattier point. Burnt ends are made from the fattier point part of the brisket, and take longer to fully cook to tender and render out fat and collagen. This longer cooking gave rise to the name “burnt ends”. A true chef’s snack, there is no better bite of barbecue than brisket burnt ends.
So, how is it that I am talking HAM burnt ends? Well, my rendition of this gravy is greatly modified. I mean, we could double smoke a whole ham on the smoker over low heat for…for…forever. Instead, I am reaching for the leftovers of my Easter glazed spiral ham which I froze for use at a later time. There is a minimal fat cap on each spiral and a bit more of a true fat cap within closer to the bone. THAT’S the part of the ham I am going for! And from this fatty ham, I intend to whisk together a creamy ham gravy to serve with eggs any way atop biscuits.
Not so typical recipes to help use ALL of those leftovers!
How To Make Homemade Ham Stock
Fresh Asparagus Herb And Ham Frittata
Creamy Plantation Potato And Ham Soup
Want An Easy Bake? Take Your Pick!
The mere idea of “smoked ham burnt ends” just sounds delicious. My Easter ham – a spiral that came with a bag of glaze that I applied and baked until it CRACKLED – had a flavor profile that was already sweet and smoky. My goal is to chop a good amount of this leftover ham and SLOWLY pan fry it. I want the fat rendered out completely and those ham tidbits to be nicely tender and crackling. This is EXACTLY what you’d do if you were making sausage gravy or bacon gravy, so the idea is the same. The ham though, lends a uniqueness that cannot be achieved using sausage or bacon, and that is simulating ‘burnt ends’ before incorporating into the gravy. The process is simple, and yes it takes a little while, but the end result is simply delicious.
I love recipes that feed a crowd without denting my wallet.
Scan the internet for gravy recipes which call for ham and you’ll come up with everything from red eye gravy to how to make gravy for ham. Today’s recipe is a basic gravy to serve over homemade buttermilk biscuits. It also happens that we are adding leftover country ham or leftover spiral glazed ham, rendered into my version of burnt ends. Not only is this recipe delicious, but it also uses up some of those ham leftovers from holiday celebrations.
What’s not to love about easy food made from scratch? Some of my favorite recipes are those I can whip together in minutes and really PLEASE my eaters. Around the table, it’s all about taking a break from the business of the day. Enjoy the food in front of you and the people seated around you. And, as it just so happens, a bunch of that easy food is almost always served over biscuits here in the South!
If you’re planning a trip south, don’t pass up the opportunity to taste the best the south has to offer – biscuits and gravy.
I always bake my biscuits up in a cast iron skillet. I make my gravy in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. It’s important to always have several cups milk or cream next to me. This is so I can add as much or as little as I need to get the correct consistency of my gravy. The ham that I render down also goes into a non-stick. I like a non-stick for two reasons, aside from the obvious lack of sticking.
First, my ham will be less likely to burn despite me keeping the heat at a consistent medium. Second, I can continuously wipe out the pan with a paper towel. Easy enough if the rendered fat begins to pool. This is important because I am rendering the fat OUT OF THE HAM. That’s right, contrary to everybody thinking breakfast gravy cannot be prepared lighter, I am here to tell you that IT CAN BE. It’s up to you whether you grab the cream for this recipe or reach for the 2%.
Ingredients for Ham Gravy with Cheesy Biscuits and Eggs
- leftover ham
- milk or cream
- unsalted butter
- all purpose flour
- cayenne pepper
- black pepper
- ham stock
Best Southern Ham Gravy With Cheesy Biscuits And Eggs
- medium non-stick skillet
- 2 cups leftover ham rough chopped, fat on
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
- pinch cayenne
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 ½ to 2 cups cream may substitute milk, whole or 2%
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 4 large eggs scrambled or any way you like
- 4 biscuits hot and sliced in half; see my recipe for The Best Cheesy Garlic Biscuits For Every Meal
- ¼ cup ham stock if you have ham stock, reduce cream to 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups and add 1/4 cup ham stock to achieve rich depth of flavor
- To a medium-sized non-stick skillet, add the chopped ham. Warm the pan over medium heat until the ham begins to sizzle. Reduce the heat slightly to medium-low and allow the fatty parts of the ham to render, about 20 minutes. Stir around the pan to prevent browning too soon. If necessary, add 1 teaspoon of unsalted butter to the hot pan to keep the ham moist and further reduce heat.
- Once the fat is fully rendered from the ham, use a slotted spoon to remove the ham onto a paper towel to drain. Set aside.
- Wipe out the skillet with a clean paper towel. Add the butter to the skillet over medium heat. Allow the butter to foam before adding the flour. Whisk together quickly, incorporating very well. Allow the roux to go from the pale yellow it will begin as, to a warm golden brown, whisking constantly, about 5 minutes. The roux should smell nutty and toasted. ProTip: if you have ham stock, add 1/4 cup to roux now and whisk until silky. Reduce cream in next step to 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups. Ham stock helps to achieve a rich depth of flavor not possible with cream alone.
- SLOWLY begin adding the cream (or milk), whisking constantly. Mixture will thicken quickly. increase heat and whisk in additional cream (or milk) as needed until you reach the desired consistency you prefer. Remove from the heat. Whisk in cayenne, Worcestershire, and black pepper.
- Replace the gravy to the heat over the lowest setting and stir in the ham burnt ends. Keep warm, whisking occasionally, while you prepare the eggs the way you like them. I am soft-scrambling here in the photos I show with 1 teaspoon of unsalted butter.
- Prepare two plates with 2 biscuits each, sliced in half, and heated. Top the bottom halves of the biscuits with the eggs. Next, ladle the gravy distributing evenly between all of the biscuits. Replace the biscuit tops and serve hot.
- In addition to the construction of the biscuits the way I have shown here, consider adding: a fried green tomato slice, a fresh red tomato slice, a tablespoonful of lump crabmeat, roasted asparagus, grilled and sliced filet mignon, or a fresh hot crab cake.
The nutrition value can vary depending on what product(s) you use. The information below is an estimate. Always use a calorie counter you are familiar with.
Please note that table salt and iodized salt are NOT substitutions for Kosher salt. Do not deviate unless otherwise specified.