“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
Serves: 16 links or patties
  • 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}
  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.
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}

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