Ham with Red-Eye Gravy

My apologies to proper southern cooks everywhere.

I have absolutely no idea if this red-eye gravy is ‘authentic’ or not.

Frankly, I don’t care.

I’ve been making it forever and we both love it.

Let’s just say that, if nothing else, it’s authentic in spirit…..

And it’s easy.

Click here to Pin Ham with Red-Eye Gravy


Ham with Red-Eye Gravy

Make this easy main course with leftover ham or buy a thick slice at the deli counter.

  • Author: Kate
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 2 servings 1x
  • Category: Pork
  • Method: Skillet


  • 12oz (360gr) thickly sliced ham
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 4oz (125gr) mushrooms, trimmed, sliced
  • 1/2 cup strong coffee
  • 1 tbs brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cornstarch (maizena) dissolved in 1 tbs water


  • Heat oil in nonstick skillet over medium high heat.
  • When hot add paprika and sauté briefly.
  • Add mushrooms and sauté 5 minutes.
  • Move mushrooms to the side and add the ham slices.
  • Brown lightly on both sides.
  • Add coffee, sugar and bring to a boil.
  • Remove ham to a small platter.
  • Add cornstarch mixture and stir until sauce is thick.
  • Spoon over ham and serve.


You can save coffee from earlier in the day or use instant.


  • Serving Size: 1/2 recipe
  • Calories: 463
  • Sugar: 5.6 g
  • Sodium: 115.2 mg
  • Fat: 23.4 g
  • Saturated Fat: 6.7 g
  • Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 9.3 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 52 g
  • Cholesterol: 159.9 mg

Keywords: ham, mushrooms, red eye gravy

Sliced Ham, Red-Eye Gravy

Ham is very popular in Europe but not in the same way as in the U.S.

In the U.S. there are 2 types of ham:

City ham, which is pink, is sliced for sandwiches or left whole to roast with brown sugar on top for Christmas dinner.

Country ham, which is red, is safe to eat uncooked and is usually sliced, fried and served with red-eye gravy. (Gross generalization.)

In Europe all hams are identified by place of origin and style.

The pink or city-type hams are normally sliced paper thin and used in sandwiches. My supermarket usually has around 10 different pink hams to choose from, ranging in price from around 8 euro / kilo ($4.50 / lb) to 15 euro / kilo ($8 / lb).

The red ‘country’ hams or dry-cured hams, are normally also sliced thinly, but not as thin as the pink hams. They are used as appetizers, charcuterie boards, etc. My supermarket has between 20 and 30 different dry-cured hams ranging in price from 15 euro / kilo ($8 / lb) to 40 euro / kilo ($25 / lb).

In Spain one can find the best ‘jamon’) for over 100 euro / kilo.

When we lived in Andorra, people would often buy an entire ham for the Christmas season. We saw whole Jamon iberico de Bellota (Jabugo) for over 1,000 euro.

The most famous Italian dry-cured ham is Prosciutto.

I usually buy French dry-cured ham – Bayonne or Vendee (which has a bit of sweetness from the rub used in curing) or Auvergne.

I used a slice of pink ‘city’ ham for this.

2 thoughts on “Ham with Red-Eye Gravy”

  1. Proper Southern cook here. My grandmother made redeye gravy from the drippings when she fried the country ham. She simply added the coffee, no salt necessary because the ham was quite salty. The red “eye” was formed by the coffee in the ham drippings. The gravy was served over grits (let me know if explanation is necessary) or hot biscuits. This was usually a breakfast dish, served alongside eggs and the ham. In the South there are basically two kinds of country ham. One is the ordinary salt cured variety and the other is “Virginia ham,” which is produced only in Suffolk County, Virginia and is the closest thing we have to prosciutto. You would not make redeye gravy with Virginia ham nor would you make it with “pink city ham.” No matter what you choose to call the gravy, or sauce, in your recipe, it looks delicious and I plan to make it soon!

    • So that’s where the name comes from! Thanks. I know what grits are – and proper biscuits. I didn’t know there were 2 kinds of country ham in the south – sadly, I’ve never tasted either. Most, if not all, of the ‘country’ ham here is similar to Prosciutto, although I have seen thicker slices of some of the cheaper kinds. As to ‘city ham’ it’s all boned and rolled and sliced for sandwiches. If I want a proper one It comes from England, not France or Spain.
      Thanks for the info!

Comments are closed.

Share via
Copy link