I’m not sure when I was first exposed to Biscuits & Gravy, not to be confused with SOS (Chipped Beef on Toast) but the one thing is, it is harder to find a place that serves really good Biscuits & Gravy.
Being a second-generation US Air Force Veteran, I was probably first exposed to it as a kid. I know I ate my fair share while I served in various Chow Halls where I was stationed and not all of them were particularly good. (Oh, I might want to point out, Chow Hall was old school name for the dining facility…It was renamed Mess Hall which many of us agree it best described what they were serving us to eat.)
I know that while in Korea, our Mess Hall there suffered from a major issue…food with flavor. It wasn’t until a new Superintendent was transferred in to take over the operation did the taste and quality of food actually improve. His recipe for Southern Fried Chicken was tops and that probably was why the Biscuits & Gravy went from wall paper paste to WOW!
As the military shifted to follow better dietary practices to promote better health among the troops, Biscuits & Gravy all but disappeared from the Mess Hall menus. Out in the world (outside of the military) Biscuits & Gravy was not always available everywhere either. When a Bob Evans restaurant opened near where we were living, I once again found myself in Biscuits & Gravy heaven. Their version of the dish became my comparison standard as to flavor, consistency and serving size. They refer to theirs as Biscuits and Sausage Gravy which is a great description as the gravy contains a plentiful amount of sausage pieces in it.
I have found some better, but for the most part I have found most places that serve Biscuits and Gravy fall well below my expectations. So, what is the perfect Biscuits & Gravy? It consists of three key items. First, the biscuits need to be light, flaky, golden and tasty on their own and made with love like my Grandma used to make them. Being a sour dough biscuit is a plus too. A biscuit that you love eating with butter or with butter and honey. Second, a good quality sausage. Not with too much or too little sage flavor. A sausage you’d save for last bite when served with eggs, hash browns or pancakes just because they taste that good and that’s the flavor you want to savor all day. Lastly, the gravy has to be full bodied. Not milk thin or like wall paper paste. It has to flow over the biscuits like molten white lava, not run like milk from a pitcher or plop like oatmeal cookie dough.
It is a balance of three wonderfully crafted foods that come together to make something memorably delicious, that is filling and sustaining.
I write this post after eating breakfast at a diner in Sturgeon Bay who offers a Biscuits & Gravy dish…but its one I would never order again knowing what I know after watching it being prepared and tasting it. Something about gravy that comes from a plastic container and pre-made biscuits with sausage and cheese that comes pre-made from a package. There is no love in that…and there is no pleasurable taste either.
Know of a place that makes the perfect Biscuits & Gravy?..share it with us by posting a comment. Name of the place and location (city and state is fine, but if you know the street address include that too). Tell us what makes it so good in your opinion.