Fried Kentucky Country Ham with Newsom Family Red-Eye Gravy

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Lodge Cast Iron Nation Great American Cooking from Coast to Coast

  • Yield: 4 Servings


  • 2 center slices (about ¼ inch thick) or 4 smaller boneless slices country ham
  • ¾ cup hot brewed coffee
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
How to Make It
    Fry the ham
  1. Trim off the hard outer edge of the ham and remove the rind. Do not trim the fat. This adds flavor, and no other fat will be needed for cooking.
  2. Place the ham in a Lodge 12-inch cast iron skillet, turning the lean part away from what will be the hottest point of the skillet. Add just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan. Let the water evaporate over medium-low heat, then fry the ham slowly over medium to low heat. Do not over fry, as this will make the ham hard, dry, and tough. Turn the slices often. Country ham is usually done when the fat is transparent and beginning to brown. If you’d like to brown the ham just before taking it out of the pan, turn up the heat as necessary and very quickly turn the ham to brown it as you prefer. Remove the ham to serving plates.
  3. Make the gravy
  4. Pour the pan drippings into a small bowl. Return the skillet to medium heat. When the skillet is hot, pour in the coffee, stirring the side and bottom of the skillet to loosen all the browned bits from frying the ham. Stir into the coffee, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, maintaining just enough heat for the coffee to bubble. Add the brown sugar, and stir in well.
  5. Pour the coffee into the center of the bowl with the drippings. Do not stir. You will see a “red eye” in the center of the bowl. That’s where the term “red-eye” gravy comes from. Serve the gravy on the side with a ladle for diners to help themselves.

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