You’d never know it by looking at me, but there may well be gravy running in my veins. I’m kind of kidding, but right before I was checked into the hospital for pancreatitis in 2009, my blood was almost half fat. My triglyceride count was so high (4,000-plus) that they couldn’t accurately identify its level. I blame my first chicken-fried steak for this. From the first bite I had at about seven years old, on the way to duck hunt with my dad, I was sunk. Milk gravy became my very best friend, and we’ve been going steady ever since. Sausage gravy is a simple milk gravy with the addition of sausage. In our case, really awesome sausage and a little added spice. You guys are destined to become friends as well. I can feel it.
In a nonstick skillet over medium heat, cook the sausage, stirring, until browned and cooked through, about 4 minutes. Let cool to room temperature, then crumble by hand until the pieces are the size of peas. Reserve.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until a roux forms. Continue to cook, whisking constantly, until the roux turns a light gold and gives off a nutty aroma, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Warm the milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat for about 2 minutes. Add the milk to the roux and cook over medium heat, whisking often, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the cooked sausage and stir until fully combined, followed by the red pepper flakes. Season with salt and black pepper. Keep warm on the stovetop for up to an hour. Serve warm.