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Screw Jimmy Dean: Homemade Breakfast Sausage You'll Flip Over

Saturday I was wandering around Publix looking for sundries for a Father's Day brunch I was having at my place for my girlfriend's father. He's a real dad's dad: He enjoys motorcycles, power tools, target shooting, good booze, and, of course, meat. So whatever brunch I put together had to include at least two quality kinds of meaty goodness, preferably made from pork. But I wasn't going to buy some crappy, frozen breakfast sausage, and there weren't any fresh patties ready to go in the meat department. So I decided I was going to make my own. And here's how I did it. 

The sausage was actually really easy to make -- I just took ingredients I had around the house and made the patties the night before, then fried them up in the morning in my cast-iron skillet. I was going for a bit of sweet, a bit of spicy, and a bit of freshness from the herbs. And here's what I came up with:

Homemade Breakfast Sausage

1 lb. ground pork
1 Tbs. fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 Tbs. fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 Tbs. brown sugar
1 Tbs. dijon mustard
1/2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 Tbs. kosher salt
1 tsp. ancho chili powder
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Form into eight 2" wide, 1/2" thick patties.

Fry the little patties with a touch of butter or olive oil in a hot skillet, making sure to get them nice and brown (but not burnt) on each side.

This morning I fried up two leftover patties and made an egg sandwich with American cheese and an English muffin.

 And here's the finished product:

The sausage was nice and peppery from the chili powder and thyme, while the sugar and mustard imparted a perfect amount of sweetness. The cilantro added just the right amount of herby, floral lightness to balance it all out. The only thing I would do differently next time: add perhaps a quarter-pound of finely chopped pork fat, say fatback, to keep the patties nice and moist and add some textural variation.


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John Linn