My Saucepot Gravy

by Chef

One key ingredient to my Thanksgiving plate is the saucepot gravy. It was inspired decades ago by my longtime neighbors and great friends, Debra and Mike Desouza, while I was living in Destin. They knew first-hand that I worked every holiday and weekend. For Thanksgiving, they would invite me to their house for early supper. Often exhausted and empty-handed, I would offer to make the gravy as a contribution to the feast. I would grab a small saucepot and start chopping onions, celery, and carrots as the foundation. This is my famous “Saucepot Gravy,” which I still make every year at Jackson’s Steakhouse, but now in a five-gallon pot!


For the gravy:

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 (8-ounce) smoked turkey neck or smoked hog jowl

1 cup small-chopped onions

1/2 cup small-chopped celery

1/2 cup small-chopped carrots

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon freshly picked thyme leaves

1-2 teaspoons poultry and herb seasoning (your favorite brand)

5 cups chicken broth


Beurre manié:

2 sticks (8 ounces) softened butter kneaded together with 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 bay leaves

Pinch of kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Add turkey pan drippings (optional)


For the gravy: Place the oil in a large heavy-duty saucepot over medium-high heat for 3 minutes or until oil shimmers, and then brown turkey neck all over (about 5 minutes).

Add the cut vegetables and thyme and stir for 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic and seasoning and stir to blend well. Add broth, stir, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer and use a whisk to blend in nugget-size pieces of the beurre manié (flour and butter mixture) to thicken the gravy to your liking. Taste, and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper or poultry and herb seasoning, and gently simmer for 30 minutes.


To assemble: Remove saucepot from heat and set aside. When turkey is ready to serve, pour any pan drippings into a bowl and skim to remove the fat. Do not use burnt drippings. Add up to a cup of drippings to the prepared gravy and stir to blend well. Discard neck and bay leaves before serving. If using smoked jowl, remove any streaks of lean meat, chop small and add to the gravy. I like my gravy with all the vegetables and meat included. Straining is optional.