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RBR Tailgating: Sausage and Gravy with a Twist

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We’re playing with a Southern staple this week.

Did you see Ricky Gervais at the Golden Globes in 2020?

It was everything that was right with comedy. He didn’t do those kind of jokes that would be called brave by the people he told the joke to. He was funny and he didn’t care who he was talking to or who he offended. I loved it.

At one point, and I’m paraphrasing because I’m loathesomley lazy and unwilling to look up the actual quote, he told the assembled glitterati that now matter how special they thought they were they had one thing in common: a fear of Ronan Farrow, the reporter who famously got the #MeToo movement rolling with his piece on Harvey Weinstein. To a laughing audience with not just a few nervous giggles Gervais smiled and told them “He’s coming for you.”

I think as a fanbase that’s how we feel about Lane Kiffin. Not that we’ve done anything wrong, but just that he’s out there and we know. He’s coming for us. It’s fantastic.

We’ve known that there are coaches and programs who would like nothing better than to capitalize on a win over us. That’s the natural result of extraordinary success. You are Damocles and everybody else is the sword. You get used to being in the crosshairs (and hopefully my readers are used to mixed metaphors because I’m too old to learn better at this point.) But Lane is different. We know him.

I was an early member of the Run The Damn Ball Lane crusade. I watched his first few games as our OC wondering why we weren’t pounding on the ground only to read the next day on these electronic pages that we had 239 yds rushing or some such, and that wasn’t counting the 490 parsecs we gained on jet sweeps. He’s a vicious play caller. You don’t always notice the wonders.

I remember a game against Tennessee where the Vols tried to stymie the jet sweep by playing an outside linebacker wide. Lane called the play anyway but ran the sweep between the tackle and the guard for a modest six or so yard gain. They kept the linebacker in closer for the rest of the game and we gashed on the outside for the rest of the day. I don’t think he ever ran the play that way again. He didn’t have to. He told the college football world that he’s not going to fall for that.

I believe he’s smart enough to take a broad look at the season and not obsess on one game… but. You know he wants to be the first student to take down the master and you know he’s seen a vulnerability in the seam when we run that defense that his dad invented.

There are not too many games that get adrenaline coursing through me these days. I love watching even the worst beatdown but part of the fun of sports is the opportunity to watch your team stand up and face a team that poses a legitimate threat. The win means more when you sense the possibility of a loss.

My personal fear is that an Ole Miss win ensconces Kiffin in Oxford. Twenty years from now when Saban decides to relax on the lake I want Lane as the replacement. I don’t want him worshipped by all those fans that pretend a special literacy because they walk by Square Books every few days. I don’t want him thinking he’s at his destination job. I want Pine Box Lane.

He’s coming for us, and it’s glorious.

This week’s recipe comes via my wife via her grandmother so this is a recipe with roots in Arkansas (suddenly a scary team as well.) But when the war broke out, her grandmother moved to Los Angeles to Rosie Rivet for Lockheed so if you see this recipe on a UCLA or USC tailgating post don’t be surprised. I think of it as a fundamentally Southern staple. My wife added an interesting wrinkle.

White sausage gravy requires flour and the only time you cook with flour imprecisely is when making a roux, which is the kitchen version of improv jazz – it’s done by feel. I’m breaking my “measurements are a bourgeoisie affectation” rule because otherwise this could go sideways.

The copy of the recipe I have was written by a cousin once removed and twice… I am so bad at heraldry so I have no idea what the actual relationship is but suffice it to say we’ve never met. That’s a shame. The writing is charming.

Start with a pound of breakfast sausage and brown it. You can do hot or mild depending on your proclivities. Have on hand 1/3 cup all purpose flour, ½ teaspoons of salt (or to taste because if you didn’t make the sausage you have no idea what’s already there,) 1 tbsp sugar, some black pepper, and 3-4 cups whole milk. Now that you have the ingredients, it does kind of get roux jazz like.

Start adding things to the sausage, a little at a time over medium heat. First the flour, salt, (I feel weird using the Oxford comma this week) and sugar. Let all that coat the sausage. It’s probably best to do it in batches – a little bit of each, stir, a little bit more, stir, etc. Once the non-pepper dry stuff is all mixed in add the milk and stir. Stir constantly according to the charming recipe by my wife’s distant half-cousin step whatever.

She writes that it takes 10 -12 minutes until it becomes “thick and luscious.” The only thing I’ll ever stir constantly for that amount of time is an improvised roux for gumbo. Stir frequently will do the trick.

I’m tickled that she wrote “luscious.” I’m also tickled by her instructions to add the pepper only when the sauce begins to thicken because she did not write “Do not add the pepper until the gravy starts to thicken because if added too soon it will make the gravy bitter.” Instead she wrote “Do NOT add the pepper…” leaving me to believe that there was a disaster of near Biblical proportions in her kitchen that caused her to be that early pepper adding averse. I wish I had met this woman.

When it’s done feel fine to pour it over biscuits and enjoy. You’d be awfully happy. Then there’s my wife’s wrinkle.

Divide the sausage and gravy into an ice tray or two or three and freeze it. Take some canned biscuit dough, roll the individual biscuits out a little more than usual and put one of the sausage and gravy cubes in the middle, wrap it up like a dumpling, add some grated cheddar if you like, and bake per the can’s instructions – usually about 20 minutes.

I didn’t think there was any way this would work, but it did. Perfect little snack sized dough balls filled with deliciousness came out of the oven and my life happiness meter moved that much more to the good.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Enjoy, no injuries, and Roll Tide.