“Jimmy Dean” Turkey Sausage {8th-grade Boys are the Worst}

jimmy dean turkey sausage

I haven’t eaten a hot dog since 8th grade . For the record, it had nothing to do with a bad ballpark experience. It was courtesy of the boys in my home-economics class.

Our teacher intended to educate us about how the food we eat gets on our table. Her lesson included food-chain examples from various farmers to food companies and grocery stores. But this was junior high – and her lesson fueled the imaginations of my classmates. I just remember horror stories some of the boys shared about what makes its way into our food {hot dogs and ground meat in particular}. Some of their “facts,” no doubt, were half-truths or urban legend. Nonetheless, they left a lasting impression.

So when Husband got me a copy of The Food Lab by Kenji Lopez-Alt, I was intrigued by the chapter on grinding your own meat and making sausage. It sounded so … easy! And, for the first time since 8th grade, I could know exactly what was in it.

Now if you’re thinking that there’s no way you’re going to grind critter for yourself – no worries. You can use this recipe with store-bought ground meat. But since my trusty 25-year old Kitchen Aid mixer has a meat grinding attachment, I decided to give it a shot. And Kenji was right – it’s easy. I may never go back to purchasing pre-ground meat. {If you read Kenji’s book, you might not either! If you have a food processor, it’s worth trying.}

I found this “Jimmy Dean” inspired recipe in Bon Appétit and changed it up it a little. Mine calls for turkey – but you could easily use pork. The flavors can be tweaked to your liking, and the uses are endless. I made my first batch into breakfast sausages – both links and patties.  I’ll make my next batch {without shaping} to use on Husband’s favorite appetizer, “Man Squares.” It would also be fabulous in a hearty pasta sauce or as a pizza topping.

I’ll  probably never order a ballpark hotdog… but I will {confidently!} enjoy homemade sausage when the mood strikes.

turkey sausage jimmy dean

These are equally delicious as a quick winter appetizer. Cut room temperature or warm cooked sausage links into bite-sized slices, and insert a toothpick into each. Serve with your favorite mustard.

5.0 from 1 reviews
"Jimmy Dean" Turkey Sausage
Author: 
Serves: 16 links or patties
 
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbs finely chopped fresh sage
  • 2 Tbs finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 Tbs maple syrup OR light brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs kosher salt
  • 2 tsp crushed fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 pounds ground turkey {or pork}
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients except ground turkey together. Add meat to mixture and work together with your hands until very well blended.
  2. Use as desired.
  3. For patties or links: Form ¼ cup of mixture into ⅓" patty or 3" link. {Keep your hands slightly wet to keep from sticking}. Repeat with remaining mixture. Cook in skillet on stove, or even easier, bake on foil-covered cookie sheet at 375º for about 20 minutes.
  4. For pizzas or pasta: Brown sausage in large skillet, breaking up to desired texture as it cooks.
Notes
If you're interested in grinding your own meat, I highly recommend it. The Food Lab is an incredible kitchen resource - worth the price for the chapter on sausage alone. You can also get the gist of the process here, or via a few minutes of Google searching.

 

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3 Responses to “Jimmy Dean” Turkey Sausage {8th-grade Boys are the Worst}

  1. Elaine Haydock February 17, 2016 at 8:17 am #

    Brave New World for you, Morgan! Your sausages look delish! Can’t wait to see you use sausage casings – can I come and help?? #crazylaughing

    • Morgan Wood February 17, 2016 at 12:13 pm #

      They ARE delish! And yes, you can come help. #youarejustcrazy

  2. Sue March 6, 2016 at 12:18 pm #

    We made the sausage using pork and the light brown sugar. Delicious!

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