Jimmy Dean sausage is ubiquitous in many recipes that those in the cooking community aren’t necessarily “proud” to have made. These include cheddar-sausage-bisquick balls, queso dip utilizing Velveeta (I still don’t have a workable replacement for this yet), chiles, sausage, etc. You can also cook it up and combine with taco meat, make into patties, or add to a pasta sauce. Overall, it’s a versatile meat product, but as with any kind of commercially prepared sausage, the origins of the meat are dubious and the additional ingredients are somewhat shrouded in secrecy/full of unnecessary stuff. There’s no reason why both corn syrup and sugar need to appear on the ingredients label, and what exactly are the “spices?” Better to just spend a little time making your own sausage, out of actual food. That’s my mantra – Why take a cheap and easy route when you can do it in way more time at a much greater expense? This recipe calls for MSG. If you have adverse reactions to MSG, substitute salt, but otherwise, it’s yummy. Just use MSG if you can. It can be found in the spice or Asian foods section of the grocery store. The brand of mine was Accent Flavor Enhancer.
5lbs pork shoulder, cut into chunks small enough to fit your meat grinder’s feed tube
5 tsp kosher salt (16g)
1.25 tsp MSG (3 g)
1 Tb cayenne (9g)
1 tsp black pepper (1.8-2g)
1 tsp fresh or dried sage (1g)
1 tsp red pepper flakes (2.5g)
- Combine all ingredients and chill thoroughly. This can be left for up to a day in the refrigerator prior to grinding.
- Set up your meat grinder with the small die, pull the sausage out of the fridge and get to grinding!
- Once all of your meat has been ground, measure out 1 cup of very cold water(you can use any type of liquid here, but to stay true to style, use water. If you’re up for an adventure, try a cheap beer like Coors or Budweiser.
- Start mixing your sausage. You can use your stand mixer, but mine always manages to get meat all up in the connection area, so I stopped using it. I just use a stiff spoon or spatula. The goal here is to get it a little gluey. Pour in part of your water, mix it in, and continue adding water until it has been fully incorporated. Once the sausage beings looking sticky, you can do a test bite. Cook a little sausage in a pan and taste it for seasonings. If it needs more of anything, it can be added at this point and mixed thoroughly. Continue mixing and tasting until you’re satisfied.
- Once you are happy with the flavor, you can get to the portioning part of this. I decided to freeze it in 1 pound sections, as the Jimmy Dean stuff comes in 1 pound chubs and most recipes that use it call for it in 1 pound quantities. I just vacuum sealed it and immediately stuck all 5 packets in the freezer.