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Creamed Chipped Beef & Toast – S.O.S.

 

Creamed chipped beef & Toast (S.O.S.) is a recipe originating in our nation’s military. It became popular outside the military as those who had served craved the dish once home.

Although not all former servicemen remembered it with fondness considering how much they had to eat the very economical meal. It could have been as much as 3 times a day for those away on ships having to ration food.

Officially called creamed chipped beef, it is also more commonly referred to as S.O.S. and remains a popular dish today.

This popular military dish of sos gravy may have been prepared differently depending on which branch of the military it was being served. The navy found the dried beef essential because a canned meat was shelf stable. The army might used ground beef instead mixed with the creamy white gravy since they had easier access to fresh supplies.

There are some who also consider sausage gravy to be called creamed chipped beef. Anyways, from mess halls to home cooks, let’s talk about how to make the best creamed chipped beef.

How to make Chipped Beef

Creamed Chipped Beef gravy over toasted bread slices. Shit on a shingle. What to serve with chipped beef on toast? BEST chipped beef recipe!

What is creamed chipped beef made of? Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 4 tablespoons of Butter (half a stick)
  • 1/3 cup of Flour (all purpose)
  • 3 cups of Whole Milk
  • Cracked Black Pepper, to taste
  • Dried Beef, sliced
  • Toasted Texas Toast Bread Slices (or biscuits or mashed potatoes)

I get a lot of questions asking if you can use Buddig beef and of course the answer is yes, if that is what you want to use.

I like to use the class dried beef that comes in the little glass jar that you find in the canned meats section of your local grocery store.

Optional ingredients from comments that I’ve received that you might like: mushrooms, peas, a dash of Worcestershire sauce or whatever you might like to add for an easy meal.

Shit on a Shingle meal

Favorite Comfort Foods

Jar of dried beef to add to a cream sauce

Chipped Beef

Dried Beef Slices

The dried beef slices are small rounds before chopping into smaller pieces. Some folks like to soak the slices in warm water prior to chopping to remove some of the excess salt.

Personally, I do not soak the beef and think it adds the required salt needed for the creamy white gravy so no additional salt is need in the recipe.

If you decide to soak it, use a paper towel to blot dry before slicing.

Creamy Beef Gravy

chopped beef

Give the dried beef a rough chop into bite sized small pieces and set aside until needed for the cream sauce.

Melting butter in a sauce pan
Heat a large skillet or medium sauce pan over medium heat and add the butter to the pan to melt butter.
Roux
When the butter is melted and begins to bubble, add the flour and mix to combine. This makes a roux. Raise the cooking heat to medium-high heat and simmer the roux for two to three minutes to cook away the raw flour taste.
 
Be sure to incorporate the flour well into the melted butter so that there aren’t any lumps in your creamed beef gravy.

Dried Beef Gravy

homemade chipped beef gravy
Next, add the milk and stir or whisk to combine. This makes a white sauce known as Béchamel. Continue to stir the creamy white gravy until it begins to bubble slightly and thickens.
 
Add the cracked black pepper, however much you like, and the chipped beef to the white sauce and simmer three to five minutes more, stirring constantly, until thickened and the beef is heated through.

SOS Gravy

Beef gravy and toast - favorite breakfasts foods
Serve the creamy beef gravy over toasted bread (the shingles). I like to use Texas Toast slices which really makes this a hearty meal. If preferred, serve your creamed chipped beef gravy over mashed potatoes, biscuits, noodles or hashbrowns.
 
Creamed Chipped Beef & Toast - S.O.S.

Above is one of the original photos when I first published this post. I decided to give it a makeover and had a new photoshoot to get better pictures to share in this recipe that is so loved by many.

Creamed Chipped Beef with Dried Beef

Where do you buy dried beef? Dried beef can typically be found at your local grocery store in small glass jars where you find other canned meats.

Cooks Note: No salt was added to the recipe because the dried beef contains enough salt to flavor the dish.

Let’s make a batch of Creamed Chipped Beef & Toast – S.O.S.

Yield: 6 Servings

Creamed Chipped Beef & Toast - S.O.S.

Simple creamed chipped beef over toasted bread

Classic creamed chipped beef and toast is a hearty gravy made with dried beef. It is often referred to as SOS. This vintage recipe may be served over toast, biscuits, potatoes and sometimes pasta.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons Butter
  • 1/3 cup All Purpose Flour
  • 3 cups Whole Milk
  • Cracked Black Pepper, to taste
  • 4.5 ounce Dried Beef, sliced
  • Toasted Texas Toast Bread Slices

Instructions

  1. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the butter.
  2. When the butter is melted and begins to bubble add the flour and mix to combine.
  3. Simmer the roux for 2-3 minutes to cook away the raw flour taste.
  4. Next, add the milk and stir or whisk to combine.
  5. Add cracked black pepper and the chipped beef to the white sauce and simmer 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly, until thickened.
  6. Serve over toasted bread (shingles) , biscuits, or hashbrowns.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 237Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 49mgSodium: 768mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 1gSugar: 7gProtein: 12g
 

Q & A with Tips for making Creamed Chipped Beef and Toast

What do you serve with creamed chipped beef? The creamed chipped beef is usually served with toasted bread as a meal. You could also serve it along with fresh fruit or eggs prepared to your liking.

How long does creamed chipped beef last in the refrigerator? Up to 4 days or you can freeze the meat gravy to re-heat another time.

Why is dried beef so expensive? I’m not really sure but I’ve heard from many that the cost is much higher than it used to be. I would think that might have something to do with the way that it is cured. The cost of dried beef is also why some folks opt for using hamburger, which is cheaper, and humbly nicknamed “poor man’s chipped beef”.

Be sure to serve the creamed chipped beef while it is hot and delicious. You can still find this old timey meal at favorite breakfasts places in South Carolina beach towns. This has always been one of the best recipes to fill hungry tummies on a tight grocery budget.

Other variations that have been shared with me for making chipped beef gravy: 

  • Some use cream of mushroom rather than making a white sauce from scratch
  • Other meats that folks use also include chopped bologna, ground poultry (chicken or turkey), venison and Vienna sausages.
See it at:
 
 

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Thank you so much for stopping by! I am so happy that you did. I hope that you make a batch of this nostalgic creamy beef gravy soon to enjoy as a delicious meal. It was one of my late mother in laws favorite meals for an easy supper.

Be sure to subscribe to my email list while you are here so that you never miss the latest recipes and news here on the blog. I send out a weekly newsletter to keep you up to date.

Until next time, Friend, love and happy cooking!

Simple creamed chipped beef over toasted bread
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Geno

Monday 5th of September 2022

Sorry to say this but Chipped Beef is not S.O.S. SOS is brown(hence the name) made with chopped beef in brown gravy served over toast. Delicious. Tastes better than it looks.

Rich

Sunday 17th of July 2022

I'm pretty sure Mom and the army cooks in the 60s and earlier used lard instead of butter. Much cheaper and it didn't spoil as easily. SOS is a pansy civilian euphemism for what we actually called it.

Teri

Monday 21st of February 2022

I remember this from my childhood. My mother made it at least twice a month, but she boiled the packaged beef in water first, because she thought it was too salty right out of the package.

Carol Ann Campbell

Saturday 11th of December 2021

The dried beef gravy on toast has been my families Christmas Morning tradition for years....my father use to make it and now I do....this is the same recipe I do except I measure nothing.....LOL....sometimes I also add crumbled bacon that has been cooked crispy and use the bacon grease vs butter.....delicious......comfort food

Julia Jordan

Sunday 12th of December 2021

Carol, That is a wonderful Christmas morning breakfast tradition. Happy Holidays to you and yours. ~Julia

Lisa

Thursday 2nd of December 2021

I feel like 1-2 T. of worcestershire sauce takes this to the next level. So added that. Great recipe!

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