Breakfast Essentials: Old Sawmill Gravy

Andy Anderson !


This is not the kind of item that you’re going to serve up every morning; however, spoon it over a couple of homemade biscuits, and you will be in heaven.

I’ve kicked it up with a bit of apple-cider vinegar, cayenne pepper, and the use of white; as opposed to black pepper.

To be honest, the only resemblance to my recipe and a classic sawmill gravy is probably the name. However, it’s a nutritious meal, and it will keep you satisfied until the lunch-bell rings.

So, you ready… Let’s get into the kitchen.


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6 - 8
10 Min
20 Min
Stove Top



  • 8 oz
    breakfast sausage, crumbled, i prefer pork
  • 2 slice
    bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 c
    flour, all-purpose variety
  • 3 c
    whole milk
  • 1/2 c
    heavy or whipping cream
  • 1 Tbsp
    apple cider vinegar
  • 1 pinch
    cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • ·
    salt, kosher variety, to taste
  • ·
    white pepper, freshly ground, to taste

How to Make Breakfast Essentials: Old Sawmill Gravy


  2. Chef’s Note: Per one story, the origins of “sawmill” gravy comes from the fact that it was served to the lumberjacks working at the sawmills in the timber-rich mountains of the East. It was a simple dish using bacon drippings, and ground cornmeal; however, it was nutritious enough to keep the men on their feet until lunch. Sometimes, if the gravy was too thick, the men complained that the cooks must have put sawdust into the gravy.
  3. Chef’s Note: If you are curious, here is an original recipe for sawmill gravy from an 1867 cookbook:
    Sawmill Gravy
    • 1 tablespoon bacon drippings
    • 3 heaping tablespoons white cornmeal
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 2 cups milk
    • dash of pepper
    I have been told that this original recipe is still being served to lumberjacks up in the Pacific Northwest.
  4. Gather your ingredients (mise en place).
  5. Add the chopped bacon to a saucepan, over medium heat.
  6. Cook until the bacon fat melts into the saucepan, about 3 – 5 minutes.
  7. Add the crumbled sausage.
  8. Continue to cook until the sausage begins to brown.
  9. Chef’s Tip: Keep the saucepan active by stirring regularly.
  10. Add the flour.
  11. Stir until completely incorporated into the sausage/bacon mixture, about 2 – 4 minutes.
  12. Chef’s Note: Cooking the flour for a couple of minutes, will help to eliminate that “flour” taste.
  13. Add the milk and cream.
  14. Bring the mixture to a simmer, and cook until it thickens, about 5 – 7 minutes.
  15. Add the vinegar, and then season with the cayenne, salt, and pepper, to taste.
  17. Serve over a couple of freshly-made buttermilk biscuits, with a bottle of hot sauce on the side. Enjoy.
  18. Keep the faith, and keep cooking.

Printable Recipe Card

About Breakfast Essentials: Old Sawmill Gravy

Course/Dish: Meat Breakfast
Main Ingredient: Pork
Regional Style: American
Dietary Needs: Soy Free
Other Tag: Quick & Easy

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