My Granny and Granddaddy both drank coffee, and they made this redeye gravy the next morning with the dregs of the coffeepot. It’s best served right away, poured onto split, toasted buttermilk biscuits with fried eggs and country ham on top, or over a bowl of grits. Some things are just that simple and perfect. There are a few different stories about how redeye gravy got its name, and part or all of them are true, I’m sure. Some say Andrew Jackson requested gravy “as red as the cook’s eyes.” For others, it’s the oily fat that rises to the top when you add the coffee, resembling the red veins in your eyeball. 

Regardless, it’s a darn good gravy—easy to make and a great way to not waste day-old coffee. At The Wandering Goose, my Southern-style restaurant in Seattle, we use Caffe Vita’s signature espresso blend, Caffe del Sol, in our redeye gravy recipe.

Country Ham with Redeye Gravy and Perfect Fried Eggs

  • Yields: 1 cup gravy, or enough for 4 biscuits



  1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil until it’s shimmering.

  2. Add the ham and cook until it’s golden brown in most places, 3 to 4 minutes per side. (Depending on how large your ham slices are, you might need to work in two batches.) Place the ham slices on a plate while you make the gravy.

  3. Add the coffee to the skillet, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom.

  4. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the butter and pepper. 

  5. Keep warm until ready to serve, along with the fried eggs.

Perfect Fried Eggs

  • Yields: 4 eggs



  1. In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter.

  2. Add the eggs and reduce the heat to medium low. Cover the skillet with a lid (or use a plate) and cook for 3 minutes. 

  3. Turn off the heat and check to see if the eggs are cooked enough for you. If not, re-cover the pan and let them rest for 1 to 2 more minutes.

  4. Season them to taste with salt and pepper before serving.

Excerpted from Big Food Big Love: Down-Home Southern Cooking Full of Heart of Seattle’s Wandering Goose by permission of Sasquatch Books. Copyright © 2016 by Heather L. Earnhardt. All rights reserved.