Biscuits and gravy: A viable camp food?

Having recently been in the American South, I’m hankering for some of the foods I enjoyed there. In this post, I wrote about a sweet tea recipe I tried (and enjoyed very much). Another very common Southern food staple is “biscuits and gravy”, a popular breakfast food. For the better understanding of my readers from the UK and elsewhere, let me say that by “biscuits” I don’t mean the crunchy and sweet biscuits, or cookies, you might be thinking of. In the US, a biscuit is like a savory scone. Anyhoo, I searched the Internet for biscuits and gravy recipes and mixed and matched them a bit to come up with my own recipe. I had to make a change or two due to the ingredients we have (or rather, don’t have) here in Finland, but the end product was very close to standard biscuits and gravy.

Biscuits

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (4.75 dl) of flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of baking powder
  • 6 tablespoons of cold butter
  • 1 cup (2.4 dl) of milk

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 450*F (230*C).
  • Mix flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl.
  • Put the butter into the bowl and cut it up until the pieces are about the size of a pea.
  • Pour in some of the milk and mix with a spoon. Repeat until the ingredients form a dough that sticks together.
  • Lightly flour a flat surface and knead and fold the dough a few times, but not too much, or the biscuits will come out tough.
  • Break off pieces of the dough with flour-dusted hands, roll them into a ball and place them on baking paper on a baking tray so that they touch each other, as shown in the pictures. I like to flatten them just a bit before putting them in the oven. As for the size of the biscuits, it’s up to you. I like making smallish ones. A standard size is 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter and 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick.
  • Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. I accidentally let mine go a bit too long because I was busy with the gravy, so they’re just a tad overdone.
  • Take the biscuits off the baking tray as soon as you take them out of the oven.

Gravy

Ingredients:

  • 0.4 pounds (170 kg) of bacon* (see comment below)
  • 1/4 cup (0.6 dl) of flour
  • 2 cups (4.75 dl) of milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  • Cut up the bacon into very small pieces and cook it in a frying pan (don’t dump out the bacon grease).
  • Making sure the heat is on medium-high, add the flour and the desired amount of salt and pepper (you can also add the salt and pepper later on, if you’re not sure how much you want).
  • Stir the mixture until the flour is browned.
  • Add the milk and stir until the gravy becomes thick.

*I used a 170 g/0.4 pound package of bacon, which is commonly available here. Normally, a certain type of pork sausage would go into the gravy instead of bacon. I’ll have to dig a little deeper to see if I can find an acceptable type of sausage here. The bacon I used gave it a different taste, but it was still good. πŸ™‚

When the biscuits and gravy are done, break a few biscuits in half (I forgot to do this for the picture), spoon some gravy on them and enjoy! (Sweet tea optional.)

There was plenty left over for later. πŸ™‚

After finding out how easy they are to make, I’m starting to think about how feasible it would be to transition from making them in the kitchen to making them in the woods. Instead of baking the biscuits in a dutch oven or other contraption, I think I might try making them the same way I make bannock, i.e. in a pan. The ingredients are very similar, so this should work. As for the gravy, all I’d really have to be concerned with is keeping the meat, butter and milk (unless I use powdered milk) cold until I need it, which actually isn’t a problem in Finland for most of the year. I hope this recipe will end up working well as a camp food, because it’d be perfect for cool- and cold-weather trips up here in the far north thanks to its hearty and filling (and high-calorie) nature. πŸ™‚

Advertisements

16 comments on “Biscuits and gravy: A viable camp food?

  1. Gary L. Fruland says:

    Enjoy your posts and especially enjoyed this one since my wife makes the best biscuits and gravy. Her’s are so popular that she spends a couple of days just making them around Christmas time, packaging them up and giving them to all of our neighbors for Christmas gifts. They can’t wait for Christmas! She got her recipe from the Frugal Gourmet cookbook. You can find this recipe online. We live in northern Illinois, U.S.A. and although the weather is not as frigid as Finland, we know since we went to Finland in 1986 to ski the Finlandia, one of their coldest races, we still have some cold days and there is nothing better than biscuits and gravy when it is freezing outside. Gary Fruland, Newark, Illinois, U.S.A.

    • Thanks for the comments, Gary! Glad you enjoy the blog. πŸ™‚

      I’ll have to check out that recipe you mentioned. Although my b&g came out good, there’s always room for improvement. πŸ™‚

      Yep, Finland certainly can get cold. I’m looking forward to having biscuits and gravy in the dead of winter, as I’m sure it’ll warm me right up, especially out in the bush!

  2. Ron says:

    Looks very tasty!
    How about getting the pans cleaned out there after making the gravy? bacon+milk+flour=sticky.

  3. OutdoorEnvy says:

    Gosh that looks good. B&G are one of my favorite foods. I haven’t tried it in the bush but it looks doable. Thanks for sharing your recipe and darn you for making me hungry with lunch so far away πŸ™‚

  4. Awesomeness. I’m a big time beeskit an gravy fan. Next time you whip it up, add three scrambled eggs, mix it all up. Makes for some great rib sticking goodness. Warning, only eat this when you have no plans to go out and do anything. Best served on a lazy rainy Sunday with no agenda. Lay about and sleep afterwards. πŸ™‚

    • Ooooh….adding scrambled eggs sounds like a good idea! Thanks for the tip! πŸ˜€ It seems like a lot of upcoming Sundays are going to be lazy and rainy, what with autumn right around the corner here, so it’s good timing. πŸ˜‰

  5. Sam says:

    You can’t get any better than good southern cooking. I love biscuits, we just had some tonight. My Mom is a master when it comes to cooking.

  6. Big fan of biscuit myself, I use Autora – a brand of dry suet which is more transportable than butter. For outdoor use; as a lad we used to make the mix a little stiffer then roll the dough out into a sausage shape which we then wrapped around a green stick so they could be cooked over the embers – we called the resulting bread ‘Damper’ good eating!
    SBW

    • Hmmm, dry suet would be a good alternative to the butter! I’ll have to look for some.

      The wrap-around-a-stick method for damper/bannock is one I also like to use. It means one fewer pan to clean later on! πŸ˜‰

  7. craig says:

    http://cookingonthetrail.wordpress.com/2012/04/07/13/

    this guy’s recipe for sausage is close to what you probably had.

    a quick mix of ground pork, sage, pepper (black and cayenne) and salt will end up tasting like most of our breakfast sausage.

    bannock or damper benefits from liberal doses of gravy and tastes about the same as biscuits.
    though a lot of southern cooks will squeal in horror.

    at home we make it with bacon on occasion as well.

  8. great! just what i was looking for…a site with excelllent bush food ideas and tips!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s