Saw Mill Gravy


Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
May 12, 2010
Now Florida but always a Kentuckian
"During the early years of America, many logging camps sprung up in the mountains where virgin timber was found. In these lumber camps, cooks would prepare breakfast for a hundred or more lumberjacks. One of the common foods was gravy made from coarsely ground cornmeal. When made from whole grain cornmeal, this gravy was very nutritious and would give the lumberjacks strength to do their jobs.

This gravy's name comes from the fact that these men worked at a saw mill, and sometimes when the gravy would be coarse and thick, the lumberjacks would accuse the cooks of substituting sawdust for cornmeal."

Saw Mill Gravy

1 tablespoon bacon drippings
3 heaping tablespoons white cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
dash of pepper

Place bacon drippings in a pan. Add cornmeal and salt. Cook on medium heat, stirring until brown.

Add milk and let boil until it thickens, stirring vigorously to keep it from lumping. Season with pepper to taste.

From: Smithsonian Folklife Cookbook", Recipe from Janice Miracle, Middlesboro, Kentucky.


Retired User
Jan 23, 2010
State of Jefferson
There's a restaurant a few miles up the road in Oregon that serves this. They pour it over biscuits and potatoes - just about drown your plate in it - and leave in the bacon bits. Really good! (Not to be confused with sausage gravy....) Their clientele is mostly guys who work pretty hard in the mill up there. It really is Saw Mill Gravy!