Growing up, I did not know you could buy gravy in a jar. Seriously? I remember seeing a recipe that called for gravy in a jar and thinking, “What? Gravy in a jar?” So this is for you gravy in jar people.
The absolute key to making good gravy is really browning your meat. I mean REALLY browning it. You can’t make gravy in a Teflon pan. For the very best gravy, you need a cast iron skillet. So you’ll want to season your meat really well. Get your skillet nice and hot. Some people like to use a little oil, but I don’t. I just get the skillet hot enough for my meat to sizzle as soon as I put it in. Letting it brown long enough is the hard part because it seems like it will burn. You can’t check it. You just have to let it sit. When you’re sure you have browned one side of your roast, flip it and brown equally as good on the other side. This will leave lots of brown gunk on the bottom of your skillet. The more brown gunk, the better. This is the base for your gravy. Remove your roast and pour a small amount of liquid (water or broth) into your skillet. Turn the heat down and scrape the bits from the pan. This should be dark (if you browned your meat long enough.) Now you can add more liquid and your roast back in the pan. You’ll want to cover your roast and continue cooking in the gravy until it is done. Remove the roast and thicken gravy if desired.
Don’t get discouraged if your gravy doesn’t come out the first time. I might even go as far as to say you should keep a jar of gravy on hand if you’ve never tried to make your own before. Keep at it. It just takes a little practice and patience.
Flour or cornstarch can be used to thicken your gravy. Don’t dissolve it straight into the gravy. Dissolve it in a small amount of water and then pour that into the gravy.
For added flavor add onions and minced garlic to your gravy.
Other liquids you can add are beer or wine.
Beef broth will help darken the gravy, but don’t use too much. Otherwise, it will just taste like broth.
Again, don’t give up. It’s worth trying until you get it right.