It doesn't matter what part of the South you visit, pork is bound to show up on the menu. At the Silver Skillet in Atlanta, country ham and red-eye gravy is a signature dish. Having never tried red-eye gravy, my husband and I stopped in for breakfast one Saturday morning and found eggs, grits, biscuits and red-eye gravy make a hearty meal.
At the Silver Skillet, center slices of fried country ham are first hand-trimmed and marinated overnight in soy sauce, brown sugar, paprika and cola. Drippings from the marinade are mixed with hot coffee to make red-eye gravy.
Legend says red-eye gravy got its name from a cook who worked for General Andrew Jackson, the seventh U.S. president. General Jackson asked the cook to prepare some gravy to accompany his country ham. The cook's eyes were bloodshot from drinking moonshine. Word spread around camp, and from then on, the gravy was known as red-eye.
Typical ingredients in red-eye gravy are fried ham drippings and strong black coffee. Some recipes call for additional ingredients like Worcestershire sauce and black pepper.
Watch a visit to the Silver Skillet from Guy Fieri of Food Network's Diners, Drive-ins and Dives and see how red-eye gravy is made.