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Recipes For The Best International Gravy: Muddy, Cajun and Spanish Styles

Patty collects recipes and gadgets from the past and is particularly interested in early American history and all Indigenous Peoples.

Muddy Gravy From Florida

Red Eye Gravy is very interesting, made from ham juices and black coffee.

In addition to the name "Red Eye", the sauce is also called Muddy Gravy, Bird-Eye Gravy, Florida Gravy, Southern Gravy, Poor-Man's Gravy, and Ham Gravy. You can pick the name you like!

The pig was imported to North America in the early 1500s by Spanish Explorer Hernando De Soto. I fact, he brought them over to Florida and when he died, he left the pigs behind, with all 700 of their progeny.

Thus, ham is a gift from the Spanish and they are responsible for the subsequent invention of Red Eye or Muddy Gravy.

Cook Time

Cook timeReady inYields

12 min

12 min

4 to 6 Servings

Red Eye Gravy Recipe

Serves 4 to 6 people.


  • 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 central slice of 1/4 inch thick ham
  • 4 Tablespoons strongly-brewed black coffee (instant will not do)
  • 8 Tablespoons spring water. For stronger gravy, make this coffee as well.


  • Pour Olive Oil into a heavy skillet and fry the ham over moderate heat.
  • Take out the ham and put it on a warm plate. Keep it warm.
  • Put coffee and water into the remaining fat in the skillet
  • Boil the gravy briefly to thicken somewhat and serve it on top of ham, eggs, and grits. Cheese grits and shrimp grits are good alternatives.
  • For 2 large slices of ham, double the rest of the ingredients.

The Oldest Ham in the World

In 1902, the town of Smithfield, Virginia was already well known for its hogs and ham products. Since that time, the name Smithfield has become synonymous with ham.

In downtown Smithfield stands the The Isle of Wight Museum. Among other exhibits, it houses a food and meat packing scenario. It is also the home of the "World's Oldest Smithfield Ham."

This old ham was cured in 1902, lost, and found many years later. It had never been refrigerated, since it had been preserved through the curing process. A store known as P.D. Gwaltney handled groceries, dry goods, and other merchandise and their owners attempted to keep the ham as long as possible to see how long it would avoid spoilage. They even insured it with Lloyd's of London, put a collar on it and called it a pet.

Twice this ham has been featured in Ripley's Believe It or Not as the most aged ham in existence - in both the 20th and the 21st centuries.

Apparently, the ham is mummified and will last an indeterminate length of time.

Smithfield Hams Corporate Gravy Goes to the Community

Part of America is starving.

Over 35,000,000 people receive inconsistent nutrition in the USA and almost 13,000,000 children are included in that total. it seems that some of the Food Network stars are just learning about this and want to do something about it. It may be partially a publicity ploy, but the people need the food.

Although the Food Network thrust sometimes heads in the direction of conspicuous consumption and even poor nutrition - and an ungodly overuse of plastic baggies - one of their personalities teamed with a food products company to help feed the hungry.

Smithfield Hams in Virginia teamed with Paula Deen of the Food Network and Georgia restaurants to provide food to people that lack protein and consistent nutritional resources.

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Southern cooking may produce thoughts of obesity and gluttony to some minds and it certainly does not suggest the healthiest eating or a vegetarian cuisine, We might even wonder how poor nutrition could be better than none at all. However,from out of the Southern tradition a food drive attempts to help the disadvantaged - including workers struggling to make ends meet as food and gas prices rise above meager incomes.

Deen takes food from Smithfield across the country in a 10-city tour to feed the people that do not have enough eat. The first tour served up 250,000 pounds of food, a total of 1,000,000 servings of meat. They call it "protein" and one would assume it is ham, coming from Smithfield. Publicity photos do, in fact, show hams. A call to Smithfield HQ provides the information that it is, indeed, ham, bacon, and hot dogs. It is indeed some protein, but some would counsel that it need not be so salty, sugary, preservative-enriched, and fatty protein. It may still be better than the only food offered to starving inner city children at a community event hosted by a now defunct church in our city - candy. In my mind, some improvements need to be instituted all around.

This Smithfield Helping Hungry Homes ™ program provides food beyind their tour to food banks, school lunch and breakfast programs, disaster relief efforts, community initiatives, and hungry families at large in the communites of America.

While I don't support expensive foods and conspicous consumption, I do respect the companies that use their profits (gravy) towards easing hunger among the national population. That is what I think might be called a World Class Gravy.

Cajun Shrimp Gravy

Serves 4


  • 1 Tbsp Honey
  • 1 Tbsp plus 1 Cup spring water
  • 4 strips of bacon, cooked until about half done, drained
  • 1/2 Cup minced onion
  • 1 Cup diced green bell pepper
  • 1/2 Cup diced celery
  • 1 1/2 lbs of large, shelled, clean shrimp, cut up
  • 1 tsp salt
  • PEPPER - 1/8 tsp white pepper, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1/8 tsp red pepper, or one fresh red pepper seeded and chopped fine
  • Hot sauce to taste (optional)
  • 2 Cups hot cooked rice or other grain

Crustacean Bandits, Cousins of the Gravy Shrimps


  • Using a heavy skillet, heat over medium heat and add sugar and stir until it begins to melt; cook until syrup is gold.
  • Add one Tbsp of water and stir to make caramel. Set aside.
  • In another skillet, cook bacon half way. Remove the bacon and set aside.
  • Pour off all but 1 Tablespoon of bacon fat form the pan. Add the onion, green pepper and celery; sauté until the vegetables are tender.
  • Next, add the shrimp and cook briefly until they are bright pink - 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Remove pan from heat and take the shrimp and vegetables out with a slotted spoon to a bowl.
  • Put the pan back over the burner and add the rest of the water and 1 teaspoon of the caramel you set aside.
  • Bring your pan to the boil, stir, and simmer 2 minutes.
  • Season to taste and add back your shrimp, vegetables, and bacon and heat through.
  • Serve hot over rice or other grains or over chicken.
Spices at a Valencia Market

Spices at a Valencia Market

Spanish Spice Gravy

The spices in this recipe are almost a type of curry when taken together, but more flavorful.


  • Spring Water (I like it better than tap water)
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 5 Tbsp Minced Garlic (can be purchased in jars)
  • 4 Tbsp Minced Ginger
  • 1 Finely Chopped Spanish Onion, medium sized
  • 6 Tbsp Tomato Paste (it comes in a tube now, but is more expensive, though easier to use)
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt or Kosher Salt (both have a different flavor than table salt, and lower sodium content)

Dry Spices

  • 2 Tbsp Turmeric
  • 4 Tbsp Curry
  • 2 Tbsp Cumin
  • 2 Tbsp Coriander
  • Up to 2 Tbsp Chili powder or ground Red Pepper, to taste (I like the red pepper)


  • Mix the dry spices together with enough spring water to make a pasty type of consistency, but not wet. Set aside
  • Heat the oil in a heavy skillet and stir-fry the garlic for 3 minutes, but not to burning; add the ginger and cook for about 3 minutes.
  • Add the paste spice mixture and stir-fry until water has all evaporated (4-5 minutes).
  • Add the onion, stir-fry for 10 minutes; add the tomato paste and stir-fry for another 5 minutes.
  • Add salt to taste, stir well, and serve, or freeze for future use within 6 months

© 2008 Patty Inglish MS


Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on August 09, 2008:

I believe also slated to compete in the flyng-on-a-wire event with Jackie Chan. That will be a treat.

BTW, you can boil that large gun for gunstock. :)

B.T. Evilpants from Hell, MI on August 09, 2008:

Apologies. I must have been distracted by that chocolate gravy! I need to find a Hunter recipe to go with that one! Have fun in China. And say "hey" to my cousin T.E. (stands for Truly Evil). He's competing in the uphill roller skiing event, at the Olympics! We're all so proud of him!

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on August 09, 2008:

Since I am on a slow boat to China to view amusement parks, please see the recipe on right under the description of Gravy World :)

I'll bring you back something,,,

B.T. Evilpants from Hell, MI on August 09, 2008:

Patty! I am making sausage, today. Where's that sawmill gravy you promised me? I have a Hunter in the pantry, all ready to go, I'm just not sure what to do with this enormous gun he was carrying.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on August 07, 2008:

Black Coffee and Jackalope - man, that's a strong combination - were you a lumberjack in a previous life?

Mighty Hunter on August 07, 2008:

I am wondering if red eye gravy would go good with Jackalope instead of ham. I think I'll give it a shot when I get B.T Evilapnts.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on August 07, 2008:

Thanks Chef Jeff. I did not have a test, so perhaps it was indeed the iodine. I have been able to eat shrimp readily since then, but I do not consume it in that vast amount. Perhaps it was really something else that caused my reaction, liek the dish soap the restaurant used. Teh other foods I consumes at the meal have never had an effect on me again like the rash, either.

Chef Jeff from Universe, Milky Way, Outer Arm, Sol, Earth, Western Hemisphere, North America, Illinois, Chicago. on August 07, 2008:

Patty Inglish MS, I would think you might want to avoid the shellfish if you have had a rash - my mother in law in Spain has the same reaction and she can no longer eat shrimp. I think once affected, always sensitive to the rash. I am not sure washing them first would help.

Did you get an allergin test? Some people only react to the increased iodine, but others have a true allergy to shellfish.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on August 05, 2008:


MM Del Rosario from NSW, Australia on August 05, 2008:

Hi Patty ...thank you for answering my request and sharing your gravy recipe.....I will surely try the Spanish spice gravy...

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on August 05, 2008:

The Museum of Ham sounds like an interesting place, and I would like to see the rstaurant.

The shrimp and crawdad shells - I wonder if I can use such base; I once ate so many peel-and-eat shrimp that I had an Allerric rash - it looked more like chicken pox, though. You think it would be OK? I'd like to try it. Maybe if I washed the shells well first?

Chef Jeff from Universe, Milky Way, Outer Arm, Sol, Earth, Western Hemisphere, North America, Illinois, Chicago. on August 05, 2008:

In Madrid, Spain, there is a "Museo de Jamon", literally the Museum of Ham.  It started some years back and grew so that now it is a restaurant & tapas place as well as a storehouse for thousands of hams.

I love ham, so I also love red eye gravy!  I used espresso once to make it and the coffee overpowered the ham juices, so now I just use left-over regular coffee.

I also love to make a good shrimp or crawdad base using the shells that otherwise we usually discard.  You can make some very interesting "fish sauces" from those shells, and the best part is that you can use the shells at least twice - once for a more potent flavor, the second time for a more subtle taste.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on August 05, 2008:

spryt - I'm glad you like this hUb.

MrMarmalade - I love Spanish rice and have not had any in a while, so you have reminded me it is time,

sixty - SHHHHHH!- I am workng on how to add the antlers most asthetically! I am hoping Food Network has a contest for wild game cookery

esocial - YES!

bonnieweelass - They are all good and I hope you enjoy them.

esocial from California on August 05, 2008:

Excellent! Suppertime yet?

Clive Fagan from South Africa on August 05, 2008:

Hmm Patty how about a Jackalope gravy?

Nice hub thaks for sharing your gravy recipes but more importantly mentioning those efforts to combat hunger.

MrMarmalade from Sydney on August 04, 2008:

I have joined up for the coffee.

Val will make Spanish spice for dinner.

I have never heard of at 70%. My education has to be extended more.

thank you

spryte from Arizona, USA on August 04, 2008:

Mmm...Poutine. I agree :)

Although I must confess, except for Thanksgiving, I'm a "oh look! gravy in a can!" kinda person

And LOL! I loved the F.U.R.B.A.L.L. video *snicker*

How timely!

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on August 04, 2008:

Well, one must get around these days when one is opening an amusement park! I have sought to leave messages of importance at all mentioned synchronized locales.

The French are so delightful...

B.T. Evilpants from Hell, MI on August 04, 2008:

Patty, your gravy is world class indeed. You may be having problems with your comment capsules, though. One french guy left me a link to here, and another commented on your gravy over at my hub!

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on August 04, 2008:

Thanks very much - I particularly like the last one. :)

Nicole A. Winter from Chicago, IL on August 04, 2008:

Thanks for the great gravy recipes, Patty Inglish!

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