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gravy - what did I do wrong?

smaksmak Posts: 132
edited 5:34PM in EggHead Forum
I tried my hand at the Mad Max Turkey and Gravy. The turkey turned out great but I had troubles with the gravy.

Here is the story:
- I poured off the drippings to separate the fat.
- I put the roasting pan on the stove (electric flat top) over high heat.
- Added 2 sticks of butter whisking to get the crud/bits up.
- Butter gets bubble and starts getting brown.
- Start to add flour whisking hard.
- Everything quickly turns black (looks like tar)

Any thoughts?

Fortunately we were able to call an audible and have the wife whip up some gravy with the stock.

Leesburg, VA


  • Richard FlRichard Fl Posts: 8,125
    You burnt the solids in the butter with the heat too high and the rest picked up the blacken color and flavor of the burnt solids. low/medium heat is preferred in this house.
  • if your butter/flour roux was turning that black its because the residue in the pan was burnt and you were pulling up burnt crud into your roux. .. .this happened because of a combination of not enough liquid (i.e. butter/wine/juices) in your pan during the cook and it getting too hot . . the way to avoid this in the future is to make sure you have some more liquid in your pan during the cook (more butter/wine or add some broth to the pan). ..

    soooo, what do you do when the crud in the pan after pouring off the drippings is that burnt?? ... easy, go ahead and start your butter/flour roux in a fresh skillet/pan on the stove. . . then add the wine, then the de-fatted drippings and the stock. . . gravy will still have plenty of great flavor due to the drippings and stock. . .
  • whisking to get the crud is called deglazing and should be done with broth or liquid and not fat or butter ,, once deglazed pour off all the liquid and begin to make your roux over meduium low heat to start .. clarified butter is better as butter has water in it. and 2 sticks sounds a lot to me .. i use 1/4 cup turkey fat to 6 tbs of flour and 4 cups broth.. i suspect 2 whole sticks of butter would need a lot more flour to make a decent roux and a 1/2 gallon of stock/ liquid/

    mad max has a gravy recipe that everyone loves

    this is mine

    Giblet broth
    Neck and giblets from turkey
    4 cups water
    1 onion, chopped
    2 celery stalks, with leaves, chopped
    1 bay leaf
    Combine all ingredients in medium saucepan. Bring to boil, skimming surface. Reduce heat to low, cover partially and cook for 2 hours. Strain broth reserving giblets. Chop giblets finely. Reserve broth and giblets for gravy.

    Pan juices reserved from turkey and Giblet broth
    6 Tbs. All purpose flour
    ¾ cup whipping cream
    3 Tbs. Medium dry sherry, dry Marsala or port. [I use Armagnac or cognac]
    Salt and pepper
    Pour turkey pan juices into a separator or large measuring cup and degrease, reserving ¼ cup of fat. Do not wash roasting pan. Add enough Giblet broth to pan juices to measure 3 1/3 cups. Pour about ½ cup into turkey roasting pan. Set over medium-high heat and bring to boil, scraping up any browned bits.
    Transfer fat to heavy medium sauce pan. [I do this in the turkey roasting pan, set over two burners, only one on so I have more control of the heat by moving the gravy around.] Add flour and stir roux over medium-low heat 2 minutes. [I do this until the roux starts to turn color, to avoid the un-cooked flour taste.] Gradually whisk in juices. Cook until thickened, about two minutes. [At this point I add more stock and keep stirring, other wise the cool gravy will be too thick.] Add cream and simmer until thickened slightly, about 2 minutes. Add sherry and giblets season with salt and pepper. [I season with salt and pepper before adding the sherry]

    i simmmer and stir the gravy for much longer and i also cook the roux longer ,.,,if you get a chance to watch alton brown on roux don't miss it
  • i always use 2 sticks of butter and about 1/2 cup or more of flour. .. and i use high heat. . . but that requires constant whisking to keep the butter from burning (which it doesn't as long as you keep whisking), but this gets you a roux much quicker. .. maybe its the water in the butter, but it does deglaze the pan this way. . .in addition as soon as the roux developes i add the wine, which probably also contributes to finishing the deglazing part of thing. ..then i add the reserved drippings and stock. .. and you're right, two sticks with accompanying flour does make for a lot of gravy. ..i usually have about a 4 quart stock pot going all day, and use almost all of the liquid to make the gravy the right consistency, so i'm getting a good gallon of gravy doing it my way. ...

    nothing is written in concrete though. .. you can certainly use turkey fat instead of (or in combination with) the butter to make your roux and the wine is optional, or you can use some sherry (that sounds good!!) or none at all and just go with stock.. . .

    in this case i really think smak's problem was he we simply deglazing too much truly burned stuff from the pan and in that case, better to use a fresh pan to make the roux and simply add the poured off drippings to get the good flavor. . .
  • thanks max ,,, the gallon of gravy out of two sticks of butter makes sense ,,, i thougth i miss calculated somewhere,,, since you have so much take a bit and right before serving add about a tablespoon of armangac or congac per cup of gravy i like this better than sherry [mainly cause one year we did not have sherry] it is not overpowering just a nice touch.
    out to work on the christmas lights while i still got some sun.. swore i would stop climbing on the roof and in the trees at 55 looks like i will just have to fall out of the tree to learn.. B)
  • Celtic WolfCeltic Wolf Posts: 9,773
    Ok Our Gravy making technique differs too :)

    I always make the roux in a separate pan. One tablespoon flour for every tablespoon of butter. I actually paid attention to Justin Wilson's shows :)

    I de-glaze with wine and strain the liquid into my stock which has been strained too. Then I make the Roux and pour the tempered Roux into the stock/de-glazed liquid mixture. Whisk my little heart out till it boils.

    You never know just how thick the gravy will be till the Roux boils.

    But as I tell my what from time to time. What does it matter how it was made as long as it was good when it's finished.

    But on point you are very right. Black gravy comes from scorched drippings.
  • smaksmak Posts: 132
    Thanks for the info. That gives me a couple thoughts to try next time. I'll probably make another attempt for new years.

    Leesburg, VA
  • you missed JL's post about a cook that did not turn out.. we all have them.... go buy a chicken and some store bought chicken stock ... make some gravy.. trust me it is worth the effort .. lots of folks cannot make gravy..once you learn the basics you will be the thanksgivng hero.
    go to naked whiz and freds music and barbeque and read and watch max's technique.. we are all here to help as well .. planned ahead i would be willing to walk you thru it on the phone.
  • all great advice ... .and remember

    "if it was all great, it would all be average" :)
  • Yup!! Most all of the already mentioned…to some extent B) .
    If you are going to make a roux to add to the gravy, do it a separate pan with a 1 to 1 ratio, oil and flour. Taking caution not to burn! BTW, butter burns pretty quickly.
    And, I have to ask: If you all ready had the drippings (with some turkey fat), why even add the butter, if you are going to make the gravy with flour or starch,with the drippings and with out a roux? There should be no point in adding any additional fat / oil.
    Lastly: If you de-glaze a pan, do it with a stock, wine, a liquid of some sort, NOT a fat. If you want to add a fat (butter, olive oil…what ever, for a flavor) add that later, getting it melted / heated then whisking in the flour or corn starch.
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