One item that seems to be a staple of organizations on a global basis, due to its reasonable nutritional profile, ease and speed of preparation, and relatively low cost to produce in large quantities.

Recently, I heard two nurses discussing the menu in the hospital cafeteria, what caught my ear was the dysphemism “Shit On a Shingle”. Needless to say this conjured many memories.

Once this was a staple in many chain restaurants, but now has been replaced by sausage gravy and biscuits, (a replacement I so do agree with), but can still be found in many local restaurants/dinners in the south.

From Wikipedia:

Chipped beef is served in many diners and restaurants in the United States as a breakfast item. It is popular among the veteran community who generally refer to it by the dysphemism “Shit On a Shingle”; chipped beef in milk gravy (or “S.O.S.”) is a common traditional meal that is served in all branches of the United States Armed Forces due to its reasonable nutritional profile, ease and speed of preparing, and relatively low cost to produce in large quantities (i.e. in quantities sufficient to properly feed an entire military outpost).

Creamed chipped beef is standard fare on many such diner menus, especially in the Mid-Atlantic, but has become harder to find in chain restaurants that serve breakfast; among the restaurants still offering chipped beef on toast are Golden Corral and Silver Diner. IHOP no longer offers this on their menus, having substituted sausage gravy, and the same is true for Cracker Barrel restaurants.

Creamed Beef on Toast

Creamed Beef on Toast, a military classic breakfast.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch, PubGrub, Sauce
Cuisine American, Global
Servings 4 Persons
Calories 446 kcal


  • 8 oz Dried Beef Slices See Notes can sub, this
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup AP Flour
  • 3 cups Whole Milk
  • 1/2 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
  • 8 slices Bread Thick Cut, "Texas Toast"


  • Cut the Dried Beef into strips, then into short segments.
  • Place a large skillet over medium heat. Add the butter. Once melted, whisk in the flour to create a roux. Cook the roux for 2-3 minutes until light gold.
  • Whisk in the milk. Then add the onion powder, thyme, pepper, and cayenne. Simmer to thicken for 2-3 minutes.
  • Then add in the dried beef. Cook another 1-2 minutes to warm the beef and thicken it. (Thin as necessary with additional milk)
  • Taste, and season. (LIGHT ON THE SALT!)
  • Toast the white bread slices in a toaster.
  • Once the creamed chipped beef is your preferred thickness, place 2 slices of toast on each plate and cover it with chipped beef gravy.


Finding dried beef can be a challenge, but one can use ground beef, in place; just brown it off nicely and remove as much grease as possible.  I will say 1 pound of ground beef will yield the 1/4 cup of drippings required to make the roux, so no added fat should be required.
Another substitute for dried beef is thinly sliced beef, aka “Stake-*m’s”.
Note that dried beef is salty; make sure you do NOT add salt until tasting.
If your dried beef is very salty, you can soak them in hot water for 10 minutes before cooking.


Calories: 446kcalCarbohydrates: 46gProtein: 12gFat: 23gSaturated Fat: 12gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.5gCholesterol: 57mgSodium: 604mgPotassium: 306mgFiber: 2gSugar: 11gVitamin A: 756IUVitamin C: 0.2mgCalcium: 291mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Beef, Bread, Gravy
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

  Filed under: American, Bread, Pub Food, Quick, Southern

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