Red-eye gravy, to those unaccustomed to the nobler things in life, requires first a good, well-cured country ham. Smithfield and genuine Virginia hams are ideal for this.
Take a slice of uncooked ham with most or much of the fat left on. Fry the ham in its own fat until nicely browned on both sides. When it is cooked, transfer the ham to a warm platter and add boiling black coffee to the skillet, scraping to dissolve the brown particles that cling to the bottom and sides.
That is red-eye gravy, which you pour over the ham and serve.
The name red-eye gravy (sometimes referred to as red-ham gravy) derives from the fact that a circle or oval of liquid fat with a slightly reddish cast will form on the surface of the gravy when it is slightly reduced. This is the “eye” of the name.