Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Nov 26, 2006 04:43 PM

What Makes Breakfast Sausage Breakfast Sausage?

Is it the spices, the fat mix, the meat used, or?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Coarsely ground pork, pork fat (at least 1/3 fat), salt, black pepper, red pepper (amount and grind varies regionally), and dried sage. Also maybe some sugar (sweetener and its type varies regionally). Dried sage is to American breakfast sausage what garlic and marjoram are to fresh Polish kielbasa.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Karl S

      Funny, I was just wondering about this earlier, when I had the most divine breakfast links at a little breakfast joint in Boulder (Marie's) this morning. Sure, maybe it's sage and some oregano. Those simple breakfast sausages are as big a treat in my book as foie gras would be to some of you.

      1. re: vanillagrrl

        Actually, the variations of locally made breakfast sausage are one of the few genuine bits of regional diversity one can depend on in this country. I invariably order sausage when breakfasting in other parts of the country if its locally made, for this very reason.

        1. re: Karl S

          Yes indeed. After growing up in the Midwest, I spent years in Alaska, California, then an awfully long time in Nashville, Tennessee, eating sausage all the way. I'd noted some regional differences in sausage, but for some reason they all seemed to lack something deep in my taste memory...and then we got a branch of Perkins, a chain based in Ohio, and the first time I had breakfast there, my first bite of their sausage, I was back at the ancestral breakfast table!

          Actually, my first reaction to this thread's topic was "it's whatever sausage you happen to eat for breakfast!" I've had smoked sausage, Polish sausage, bratwurst and weisswurst for breakfast, all perfectly wonderful with potatoes and eggs. And then of course there's the pepperoni and Italian sausage from all of those cold-pizza breakfasts!

    2. There's a unique Texture to also be considered.

      We could add, within the term "coarsely ground pork", the fact that there are some ground collagen tissues, be they tendons, skin (including snouts, ears, etc.), or cartilage.

      Home grinding for "breakfast sausage" with only Pork Butt doesn't have the tooth feel / springiness / soft crunchiness that can come from using many parts of the hog.

      It would be fun if the butchers for Jimmy Dean, Owen's, JC Potter, Tennessee Pride, Odum's (just to name my local brands) could chime in here as to where the cartilage is cut from. I'm looking close at those "pork trotters" at the local Asian store, to trim the hoof and skin and tendons to slap it in the grinder, to recreate the right collagen texture to add to the Butt.

      1 Reply
      1. re: FoodFuser

        Yes, gristle is important in coarsely ground pork sausages of all types.

      2. To me, "Breakfast sausage" is simple sausage. Salt, pepper and garlic. Made in small links, or one continuous coil.

        The JD, TP and the like in the tube is "Country breakfast sausage."

        I have no idea how I came up with that but I'd appreciate it if you'd all adjust to those definitions :^)


        1. I always thought breakfast sausages are just smaller and thinner. They look that way anyway. Or is that just a brand of breakfast sausages?

          1. According to the FDA ...

            ""Breakfast sausage" is sausage prepared with fresh and/or frozen meat; or fresh and/or frozen meat and meat byproducts, and may contain Mechanically Separated (Species) in accordance with Sec. 319.6, and may be seasoned with condimental substances as permitted in part 318 of this subchapter. The finished product shall not contain more than 50 percent fat. To facilitate chopping or mixing, water or ice may be used in an amount not to exceed 3 percent of the total ingredients used. Binders or extenders may be added as provided in Sec. 319.140 of this part."


            According to Wikipedia ...

            "A breakfast sausage is a type of fresh pork sausage usually served at breakfast. It is not cured or smoked ... In America, the predominant spice used for seasoning is sage."

            Really, that business about eating it at breakfast is the big key, IMO. Does anyone really eat Jimmy Dean type of sausage any other time of day or with anything but eggs?

            Also, it must be oatmeal-colored. Or what would you call that color?

            4 Replies
            1. re: rworange

              "Does anyone really eat Jimmy Dean type of sausage any other time of day or with anything but eggs?"

              Sure. Lots of people. We had it with baked beans for supper growing up. I use the Jimmy Dean sausage in stuffings and gravies. Even in soups.

              Then again, I also will happily eat eggs at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Again, not alone in this regard.

              1. re: Karl S

                I'm not a big "Breakfast for dinner" person.

                I'll use JD sausage in dressings all the time. I also use it to make biscuits and gravy. I do find that TP is better to use as an ingredient since it renders more fat.



                1. re: Karl S

                  we sometimes had breakfast sausage sandwiches (on wonderbread) for lunch or dinner. greasy, salty. delish.

                  1. re: Karl S

                    We take the bulk breakfast sausage (around here 'Bob Evans' brand) and make burgers with them.