My Mom, a native Minnesotan, learned how to make this while we lived in Nashville over three decades ago. The recipe has been passed down through the generations and now the grandchildren must have it too, and according to them, “nobody makes it quite like gramma does!”
Brown sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Set aside, leaving the drippings in the skillet.
Mix bacon drippings into the sausage drippings. Reduce heat to medium, combine with flour, and stir constantly until mixture just turns golden brown.
Gradually whisk milk into skillet. When the mixture is smooth, thickened, and begins to bubble, return the sausage to skillet. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat, and simmer for about 15 minutes. May need to thin with additional milk to reach desired consistency.
*Notes: We have tried this with a number of different sausages and the general consensus among the family is that unless you can get fresh country coarse-ground sausage, the best sausage for this recipe is Jimmy Dean, and while we prefer the hot variety, those with more timid palates may prefer mild.
Also, and this is critical, if you truly want authentic Southern sausage gravy, please don't use butter, oil or margarine for this recipe. Bacon drippings are a MUST, and if you don't save your drippings or are out, just fry up 4 or 5 slices of bacon, and crumble the bacon right into the gravy. Really, don't skip the bacon drippings folks!