Sunday, February 3, 2013

Tall Boy Biscuits and Sausage Gravy

A few months ago, the highly acclaimed Asheville restaurant, Tupelo Honey Cafe, opened a new location in Knoxville.  

Alexis and I stopped by for breakfast a while back.  If I had to describe it in just a phrase it would be "Southern comfort food meets Appalachian hipster" (in a good way).  It was difficult to choose from the enticing menu options but I choose the Chicken and Biscuits.

Some of the best fried chicken I've had in Knoxville.
Man oh man, was that was "shut your mouth" good.  The crispy fried chicken breast on top of their signature scratch biscuits and a creamy milk gravy were phenomenal.  But this isn't a review, just background for this morning's breakfast.  

This morning, a cold, wet snow was falling and I had a serious craving for some Southern comfort food.  I thought about that chicken and biscuits.   I didn't have any fried chicken, so instead I went with sausage gravy and homemade biscuits.  

The original recipe was supposed to yield 8 biscuits but the first time I made these, I cut them too thick and only got six.  The result was biscuits that cooked up so tall, they topple and fall over.  This was a happy accident because they were perfect for splitting in half for gravy biscuits!  We've done it that way on purpose since then.  Trevor calls them "tall boy biscuits". 

Still steaming hot!
Tall Boy Biscuits and Sausage Gravy

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients (4 servings)
    For the Tall Boy Biscuits
    • 2 cups all purpose flour
    • 1 Tbsp baking powder
    • 1 tsp sugar
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/4 lb unsalted butter, cut into 8 Tbsp portions
    • 3/4 cup whole milk
    • 1 Tbsp heavy cream
    For the Sausage Gravy
    • 12 oz bulk breakfast sausage
    • 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
    • 1 cup whole milk
    • 1 cup half and half
    • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
    • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
    • pinch kosher salt
    For the Tall Boy Biscuits
    1. Toss flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar together in a mixing bowl. Add 7 Tbsp of the butter. Run the mixer on medium-low (3-4 on a Kitchenaid standmixer) until the butter is cut into pea sized pieces.
    2. Add the milk and mix until the dough comes together and pulls from the side.
    3. On a floured surface, roll the dough out into a 5" x 8" rectangle about 1" thick. Fold one third over the center, fold the other third over that and roll back out into another 5" x 8" rectangle. The Food Network recipe compares it to folding a letter but with the advent of email, that is almost an antiquated reference. Repeat 3-5 times.
    4. Use a 2 1/2" biscuit cutter and cut out 4 to 6 circles that are 1" thick. You will have to regather the dough scraps and roll back out for the last 1 or two biscuits. Place biscuits on a parchment lined baking tray.
    5. Melt the last Tbsp of butter and mix with the cream. Brush on top of the biscuits.
    6. Bake the biscuits at 450f for 15-18 minutes until they are golden brown. They will expand and topple, don't worry.
    For the Sausage Gravy
    1. Brown the sausage in a wide pan, breaking it into small pieces as it cooks. Remove the cooked sausage to a plate with a slotted spoon, leaving the grease in the pan.
    2. You need about 2 Tbsp of grease in the pan. Lean sausages may leave less than that, add some bacon fat or butter if needed. Whisk in the flour until it forms a light roux, about one minute.
    3. Whisk in about 1/3 cup of the milk and whisk until the roux is blended with the milk (10-15 seconds). Repeat 2 more times until all the milk is incorporated into the gravy. Now you can whisk in all of the half and half, pepper, cayenne, and salt at once. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.
    4. Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened, 2-4 minutes.
    5. Stir in the sausage.
    6. Split the biscuits in half and top with the sausage gravy.
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    Make sure they start off at least 1" tall.


    So good and filling that I didn't even have to eat lunch today!


    1. Okay, I have a confession. I'm guilty of making tall boy biscuits myself. I never roll the dough out as thin as they tell you to. Who wants a thin biscuit anyway?

      This looks incredible!

    2. This takes me back a long ways. My father made biscuits with his hands and no measuring (he'd been an army cook in WWII).

    3. If you ask my Chris, he will tell you there really is no better meal than biscuits and gravy! This looks perfectly done too! YUM!

    4. Yum! This looks delicious!

      Kim in MD

    5. I haven't had breakfast yet and saved this read until last and glad I did as I must now head for the kitchen. Both look delicious Chris and you make your gravy like me - lot's of sausage.

    6. my husband would go crazy for this, he adores biscuits and gravy, i need to make this soon!

    7. As a follow up, I have the restaurants cookbook and their sausage gravy recipe uses 4oz sausage to 3 cups of liquid so yours has 4 times as much meat. There is no biscuit recipe in the book - they may use a mix or pre-made biscuits.

    8. Drooling right now.

      Biscuits & gravy is one of my favorites and I rarely let myself eat it. I love the tall boy biscuits with the chunky & creamy gravy - it looks like the perfect breakfast to me! Nicely done my friend.

    9. With my current dietary restrictions this post is just killing me. I miss eating anything with cream gravy on it. And awesome biscuits too!

    10. I haven't made biscuits in gravy in a couple of years. This looks fantastic. Now my planned oatmeal for breakfast has lost all appeal. Thanks a lot, my friend.

    11. Wow! Those biscuits look AMAZING!What a comforting and delicious meal...I love everything with creamy gravy!

    12. This is one of those food that just doesn't appear much in Michigan but it is so wonderful. Maybe this weekend.

    13. I have a bad habit of going too thin so I need these tall boys in my life! The gravy is calling my name!

    14. You are killing me here Chris, now I want some of this too *putting on Sunday brunch menu*

    15. ::::::sigh one of my favorite breakfasts, and it's been awhile since I've had biscuits and gravy. What I'd really like to "get right" is fried chicken, biscuits and gravy. Tried it once and was not impressed with what I did.

    16. OMG, I haven't had breakfast yet and you put THIS in front of me??? But I can't smell it or taste it or eat it??? So unfair!!!

    17. mmm that fried chicken does look magical! As do your biscuits and gravy. Love how your biscuits puffed up beautifully! I have yet to make homemade biscuits... but it just may happen this weekend :)

    18. The main key here is to make your gravy just a bit thicker than you would for regular sausage gravy over biscuits. Then, you will be chilling the gravy in a gallon-size plastic bag in the freezer before filling the biscuits. sausage gravy


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