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Gravy/poutine sauce

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 



I am a red seal chef with many years experience in a hotel. I had everything at my disposal therefore I made everything from

scratch including gravy. I recently opened up a small lunch counter in a business district and it's more like short order cooking and I love it. Handmade burgers fresh cut fries etc....I get roughly 75 - 150 customers a day that can add up to a lot of gravy. I was making the gravy from scratch with bones and beef scraps but then the butcher decided to up the price significantly. I also had the veal bones from sysco but again way too pricey.Increasing my price for gravy is not an option. I am at a loss on how to make enough gravy for fries and poutine at a decent price. I am cringing at the thought of packaged gravy lol also I would like a separate sauce for poutine but am also having a hard time figuring out an authentic Quebec style recipe. Where I am everyone uses beef gravy and I know its more of a chicken gravy mixed with bbq sauce. Any ideas would help as I am at a total loss.


thanks so much :)

post #2 of 11

My first thought is to find another butcher. When I was making gravy from scratch I began with sysco. After casual conversations with other suppliers and other restaurant owners, I found out about a veal supplier only five miles away I did not even know existed. It turns out he was the source for the other suppliers.  Much cheaper and better service.   So there may be a cheaper supplier out there.  

     My second thought is that you could use a variety of bones. Chicken stock first then use the chicken stock to make veal or beef stock.So that way you start off with a rich stock using the cheaper chicken bones but you would not need to use as many beef bones to flavor the liquid and still end up with a rich beef flavored stock. 

post #3 of 11

Veal bones are crazy expensive. Beef bones should be cheaper, dunno if you've tried those.


I like chefwriter's idea of using chicken bones. Are you thickening with anything other than reduction? You could make a really tasty sauce with chicken stock and inexpensive beef scraps. Cut up, roast, deglaze with whatever and then chicken stock. Simmer gently for a few hours. Strain, thicken. 


Pork might be an option too. Don't think it is "traditional," but I bet you could use pork shoulder and chicken stock to make an awesome gravy for fries. You could also try braising cuts of beef (oxtail, short ribs, shanks, etc), and using the resulting jus for a gravy base. If you are thickening with starch just reduce to flavor, season, and thicken however you would. Pork would work this way too. 


You could use the resulting braised meat for a sandwich or something. 


And also, you might not need as many bones as you think. If you are making a straight up gravy, something more BROTH based would be appropriate (that is, little/no bones and mostly meat). Meat has most of the flavor, bones are used for gelatin/mouthfeel. If you aren't making a reduction, using just a few or minimal amount of bones would still get you some mouthfeel without breaking the bank.


Kudos for not using base. Stay away from that junk. 

post #4 of 11

I am embarrassed as a Québecer that Poutine is our contribution to world gastronomy.  That said, this reference as to what hotdog stand poutine is and was comes to you by 2 Québec sources i.e. Me and the blogger.


As to how can you make an authentic type of poutine sauce from scratch, I would suggest that you need rotisserie chicken fat drippings as a start to make a red coloured roux then add to chicken broth.

This would be a good reference but I would replace the butter with the drippings.

(the Chef is a 3rd Québecer).


this recipe is a little fancy pancy but since I think you may be discouraged with what is real poutine sauce I offer you this

(Chuck is a 4th Québecer)


Now your quick way out is to buy a truckload of this:


Luc H.

I eat science everyday, do you?
I eat science everyday, do you?
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the replies


I am using mostly beef scraps and some bones like short ribs. I don't do a reduction I am thickening with a beurre manie. I should have mentioned that I am in northern Ontario so things are pretty pricey. Also because of my location I am not allowed to serve any type of sandwich (it's part of my lease) therefore the meat that I buy is solely for gravy. In 4 hours I go through about 10 liters of gravy.


I did end up figuring out the poutine sauce and I am not proud of this but people seem to love it. It does involve a powder and bbq sauce lol


I am just so used to doing things from scratch that I really don't want to comprise the integrity of my cooking with pre made stuff. I was almost wondering if I mixed half real and half ready made. Have any of you done this? If I did I would be totally going against all of my training. (12 years in a 5 star hotel)


99.9% percent of all the food I serve is made from scratch I even triple cook my fries. This gravy thing is getting me at my wits end because of cost and I am afraid of loosing my better judgment because of this lol


thanks for the input and keeping me on track I am going to try mixing beef and chicken stock and see how it goes:)

post #6 of 11

A couple of things.

     In keeping with the "from scratch" you could make your own bbq sauce to add to the gravy. Ketchup, vinegar, etc. 

Beef fat or drippings for the roux would help with more beef flavor.

Whichever method you use for broth, adding straight gelatin would help substitute for the effect of a rich veal stock. 

     Finally, I'm curious about the lease requirement that says you can't make sandwiches. I've never heard of such a thing. What is it about your location that means you can't make sandwiches? 

post #7 of 11

Instead of 1/2 real and 1/2 ready made, make a vegetarian brown sauce. Use it as the base in place of the 1/2 ready made to lower the cost of your product while still maintaining the quality.


Vegan Brown Sauce


Weight or Volume                                                                  Ingredients

1 cup                                                                                       red onions, chopped

1 cup                                                                                       carrots, chopped

1 cup                                                                                       celery, chopped

1 cup                                                                                       mushrooms, sliced

4 cloves                                                                                   garlic, halved

¼ cup                                                                                      tomato paste

¼ cup                                                                                      flour

1 cup                                                                                       red wine

6 cups                                                                                      vegan stock

2 tablespoons                                                                          soy

2 teaspoons                                                                             black peppercorns

1 teaspoon                                                                               thyme

3                                                                                              bay leaves



Sauté onion and carrot until brown. Add celery, mushrooms, and garlic. Sauté for about 10 minutes. Add paste and sauté until brown, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add flour and cook stirring constantly for 1 minute. Deglaze with wine. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Strain through etamine.

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 

I am in a food court type setting and the business beside me is soups and sandwiches. It's in their contract to not allow anyone else to make anything that resembles a sandwich :)

post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thank you I'll try that I don't know why I never thought of that lol My brain just isn't working these days I have never been this stressed before I'm 6 months into my own business and let me tell ya.....


Thanks for the replies :)

post #10 of 11
Originally Posted by aza1981 View Post

Thank you I'll try that I don't know why I never thought of that lol My brain just isn't working these days I have never been this stressed before I'm 6 months into my own business and let me tell ya.....


Thanks for the replies :)

I know the feeling well. Don't worry it gets better. Hang in there.

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
post #11 of 11

You can't make sandwiches but burgers are OK? Lol, a burger IS a sandwich. Anyways...


I still think your best bet is some mix of chicken and/or pork and starch thickening. I know its easy for me to say not being in your situation and all, but I would commit to making from scratch gravy and stay away from bases. They just aren't any good. 

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