I am a stubborn girl. Especially when I’ve decided it’s not time to get out of my PJ’s yet on a day off from work. So when you tell me you want a breakfast sandwich I’m going to try to come up with something at home, not run out to a fast food restaurant. You say you want a McGriddle? For those of you who don’t know, this is a sandwich (at McDonalds, duh, lol) composed of a sausage patty, egg patty and melted cheese all nestled between two pancake “buns” laden with maple syrup. This is Troy’s favorite breakfast sandwich. So homemade McGriddle? No problem!
Except I had no sausage. I will remind you that I’m feeling rather stubborn in regard to not leaving the house. So I will grind up a chunk of the pork loin I have in the fridge and make my own breakfast sausage. Normal people do this sort of thing, right?
I know pork loin isn’t traditionally used for sausage because it is so lean but I trimmed up the rest of the loin and put the trimmed fat through the grinder with my 2 lbs. of meat, seasoned with with a wonderful array of herbs, sugar and more syrup of course, and pan fried it into patties. Delicious. I was very proud of this breakfast sausage! I made sure to fry up a small piece of the sausage and taste it to check for seasoning before I went ahead and made the full patties. I recommend doing this as there is really no other way to find out if it is amply seasoned. These are a bit sweet, a bit spicy and full of flavor from herbs like sage, marjoram, thyme and parsley. If I had planned to make this sausage ahead of time, I would have allowed for chilling time so that the flavors could properly meld together. Even without this chilling time, I was more than happy with the result! I made two full pounds of breakfast sausage but next time I think I will make a larger batch just to have it on hand and/or stick some in the freezer! So I made the sausages and placed them on a sheet pan in a 250 degree F oven to stay warm while I proceeded.
Regarding the pancakes, I mixed 1/4 cup of maple syrup into one batch of pancake batter to give it that delicious taste. Using an egg ring I made the pancakes into perfect 3 inch circles (perfect except when I filled them too high and as they cooked they spilled over the edge of the ring!). Very little batter is needed for each pancake. I learned this by making quite a few pancakes that were just too tall to be proper sandwich buns (although they were used anyway!). These were then placed on a baking sheet, drizzled with more maple syrup and placed into a 250 degree F oven to keep warm while I kept cooking. I found that it worked well to cook my pancakes before the eggs, which both need the egg ring so you can’t do them at once unless you have multiple egg rings. 3 inch biscuit cutters would work well for this too as long as they’re not plastic of course of they will melt! The advantage of an egg ring is the little handle it has which assists in removing it from the pan. I made sure to butter the inside of my egg ring to prevent sticking. You need to ensure ample buttering or greasing of your pan when making these pancakes as the sugar in the batter could burn or stick otherwise. I didn’t have any problems with this. I have read that some people make “maple crystals” which they place between tablespoons of batter in the egg ring to prevent these sticking issues but I simply didn’t want to spend the time making them. It seems that you would reduce your syrup, spread it out on a baking sheet, allow it to cool and then rip/break it into “crystals”. Perhaps I’ll try making these someday as I think they would be delicious in quick breads or muffins but I had enough on my plate on this particular morning! And I think my method worked out great!
Regarding the eggs, I have known a few people who worked at McDonalds and they said that they use rings in the restaurant to make their egg patties by breaking a whole egg into the ring surrounded by simmering water and then lightly scrambling it with a butter knife or tines of a fork while it is still raw. A cover is then placed over the egg ring creating steam. The steam cooks the top of the egg and flipping isn’t required. Or you can remove the ring part way through and flip the egg to finish cooking it. Immediately put your cheese over the eggs when they’re done cooking so that it will melt all the way. I found a video on YouTube that is a tutorial on how to do this and you make find it helpful: How to Make a McMuffin Style Egg with Egg Rings!
Then it’s time to assemble! Pancake, egg/cheese, sausage, pancake! You can take them to go by wrapping them up in foil or save some for the next day in this fashion. This recipe made 5 sandwiches for me but I think it really should make 6 or 7 because I made my sausage patties and pancakes too thick! So make your pancakes and patties first and then see how many eggs you need to make! I will go with 6 in the following recipe but you may need more of less depending upon how big you makes your sausages and patties. As I said before, I made mine far too thick! They were delicious anyway but if you are trying to imitate what you would get at the drive-through window you’ll need to scale it down! I’d like to think mine was more of the “gourmet” version. And I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed the leftovers. I only wish I had more!
I’ve written the sausage recipe out here but of course you could use bulk sausage or breakfast sausage links, removed from the casings and formed into patties. I mentioned before that I used pork loin when I made mine but if you are specifically going to buy meat for this purpose I would recommend buying a pork butt as it has more fat which will lead to a tastier sausage. If you go with a loin as I did, cut off some additional “fatback” from the loin and add it to the 2 lbs. worth of meat you are using for the sausage and this will ensure your sausage will not be dry. Be sure you finely dice your fatback to allow for even grinding and to prevent it from getting stuck in your grinder. As with all meat grinding, make sure you meat is very cold when grinding- this will make it much easier on you and/or your machine. You can refer to my chicken sausage post for more about grinding meat, especially if you wish to make this sausage into links (although you would want to use small casings for breakfast links).
(Original Therapy Bread recipe)
- 2 lbs. boneless pork butt, cut into 1-inch cubes and chilled
- 1 packed tbsp. brown sugar
- 1 tbsp. pure maple syrup
- 2 tsp. dried sage
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 1 tbsp. fine kosher or sea salt
- ½ tsp. dried thyme
- 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper (more for more heat)
- ½ tsp. dried parsley (or 1 tsp. fresh)
- ¼ tsp. fresh grated nutmeg
- Olive oil, for pan frying
- Cut meat and fat into 1-inch pieces or smaller
- Grind meat through the fine disc of your meat grinder (manual or stand-mixer attachment)
- Mix all dry ingredients (everything except the syrup and olive oil) in a small bowl
- Mix the dry ingredients and the syrup in with the sausage gently, mixing only to just incorporate (over mixing may cause tough sausage)
- Fry a small piece of sausage flattened into a patty in a pan with olive oil to test for seasoning. Adjust accordingly
- Allow the sausage to rest in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours for proper melding of flavors
- To make patties, form into 3 inch patties (about 1/4 inch thick or so) and pan fry in a medium high skillet with a bit of olive oil for about 4 minutes on the first side and 2 on the second or until cooked through (cooking time will depending upon thickness of patties)
You can use whatever pancake recipe you like for this, just add approximately 4 tbsp. maple syrup to it (pure or imitation, whatever you prefer- I used imitation in this because that is more like what actual McGriddles taste like!). I usually make Fluffy Pancakes but this time I took a short-cup I will admit since I had so much else going on- I made a kind of embellished Bisquick pancake. I used the Bisquick and added a few things to it to dress it up so in the end I guess it didn’t save me that much time lol. These were delicious none-the-less! They are a bit denser than my “fluffy pancakes” which is probably a good thing in this case as they are acting as buns.
Easy Bisquick Pancakes
- 2 cups Bisquick mix
- 1 cup half and half or whole milk
- 2 large eggs
- 4 tbsp. pure or imitation maple syrup
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- Pinch of fine kosher or sea salt
- Additional syrup for drizzling and/or serving
- Whisk the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl
- Lightly beat the eggs with the half and half
- Mix the syrup, vanilla and lemon juice into the egg mixture
- Mix the wet mixture into the dry mixture until just combined
- Cook as desired (to make regular pancakes: preheat a skillet or saute pan over medium heat, melt butter in pan and place ¼ cup of batter at a time, cooking about 3-4 minutes on the first side and 2 minutes on the second side. To make breakfast sandwiches: cook pancake batter in a buttered egg ring, using only about 3 tbsp. of batter per pancake, removing the egg ring when it is time to flip and drizzling syrup over each pancakes once removed)
(original Therapy Bread recipe)
- 1 recipe Homemade breakfast sausage, formed and fried into 3 inch patties (or whatever bulk sausage you like)
- 1 recipe Easy Bisquick Pancakes or Fluffy Pancakes (if using fluffy add 4 tbsp. maple syrup)
- 6 large eggs
- Butter for greasing the egg rings and for cooking the pancakes and eggs
- Salt and pepper for seasoning
- 6 slices American cheese (or melting cheese of choice)
- Prepare the sausage patties and pancakes, keeping warm in a 250 degree F oven when done
- In a medium skillet over medium heat ½ cup water
- When simmering, place greased egg ring in the center (greased= butter the inside edges to prevent sticking)
- Crack one egg into the egg ring
- Lightly scramble the egg with tines of a fork
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper
- Cover the egg ring with a small pan lid to allow the steam to cook the egg
- Cook for approximately 3 minutes or until the egg is just cooked
- Remove egg ring carefully and remove egg from pan
- Place one slice of cheese over cooked egg immediately so that it will fully melt
- Continue with remaining eggs
- Stack your sandwiches: pancake, egg/cheese, sausage, pancake
Alternately: you may cook the eggs in butter instead of simmering water, removing the ring halfway through and flipping the egg.
You may also opt NOT to scramble the egg so that you will have a runny yolk on your sandwich