Red-eye gravy is a thin sauce often seen in the cuisine of the Southern United States and associated with the country ham of that region. Other names for this sauce include poor man's gravy, bird-eye gravy, bottom sop and red ham gravy. The gravy is made from the drippings of pan-fried country ham that have been mixed with black coffee. The same drippings, when mixed with flour, make the flavoring for a white gravy. Red-eye gravy is often served over ham, cornbread, grits, or biscuits.
A common practice is to dip the inner sides of a split biscuit into the gravy in order to add flavor and keep the biscuit from being too dry when a piece of country ham is added between the two halves: the Southern "ham biscuit" (although the Appalachian ham biscuit is simply a biscuit with country ham). Another popular way to serve red-eye gravy, especially in parts of Alabama, is with mustard or ketchup mixed in with the gravy. Biscuits are then dipped in the gravy (often termed "sopped" in Southern English).
In Louisiana, Cajun-style gravy is often made with a roast beef instead of ham. Black coffee is always used, and it is frequently a strongly brewed chicory coffee. The gravy is ladled over the meat on a bed of rice, staining the rice a dark brown color. Often, French bread and some kind of beans are also served as a side, like butter beans (lima beans) or peas.
The Mississippi variation uses red wine in the place of coffee.