Tom Thumb Sausage Recipe

| March 12, 2017 | 95 Comments

Tom Thumb Sausage recipe as seen on Taste of Southern.
Follow our step-by-step, photo illustrated recipe to prepare this old time Southern favorite sausage. Tom Thumb, sometimes called a Dan Doodle, is an almost forgotten treasure. We’ll serve it up with Cabbage and Purple Hull Peas for a true taste of the past. Printable recipe included.


Tom Thumb Sausage with Cabbage and Purple Hull Peas recipe.
Tom Thumb Sausage with Cabbage and Purple Hull Peas Recipe

Skip on down for the actual recipe, or take a few minutes to read about the story behind it. Even if you never get to try it, I do hope you’ll enjoy reading about it.

I have to consider that this is probably a recipe that you’ll never try. Not because it’s not good, but because you probably can’t find a Tom Thumb Sausage in your local grocery store. They’re almost a forgotten piece of our Southern cuisine history.  But, maybe we can help change that.

Tom Thumbs are sometimes referred to as a Dan Doodle. Here in North Carolina, we call it a Tom Thumb. Up in Virginia, it’s better known as a Dan Doodle. So, what is it either way?

Tom Thumbs are spicy hot sausage, usually with a good amount of Sage, that is stuffed inside a pigs appendix. Don’t let that turn you off.

In the old days of hog killing time, lots of sausage was made and stuffed inside pigs intestines. The sausage was usually then hung up in a smokehouse to dry and often times smoked with wood to give it more flavor.

The intestines, once removed from the butchered pig, were washed inside and out very well. At least you HOPED they were washed out really well. Smile. As you can imagine, they didn’t smell very good at the time they were being cleaned.

Intestines that weren’t used for stuffing sausage were cooked. Those were called “chitlins” but officially known as Chitterlings. That’s another recipe for another day.

I first heard of the Tom Thumb through a North Carolina produced television program known as “A Chef’s Life.” It’s now in about it’s 5th season and airs on Public Broadcasting Television or PBS.

You can view the programs online through the PBS website. Just do a search for “A Chef’s Life.” I love watching it and think you might as well.

Vivian Howard and her husband Ben are the main characters in the program. Vivian explores many of the old Southern traditional recipes, then gives them her own twist, which she serves in her Kinston, North Carolina restaurant – Chef & the Farmer. She’s done very well with it.

Vivian visited the Nahunta Pork Center down in Pikeville, North Carolina during one of the episodes and found they still make and carry the Tom Thumb Sausage. Vivian remembered her own family serving it when she was younger, and found it was a sausage stuffed inside a pigs appendix.

She proceeds to cooking the sausage and serving it to about 400 foodies at a big gathering down in Mississippi, folks that probably had never heard of it either.

Having been to the same pork center in Pikeville myself, next time I stopped in, I had to purchase a Tom Thumb sausage to see what all the fuss was about. I was intrigued by it being an old Southern dish, and even more so by the fact that I had never heard it mentioned before. Most of my older friends say they don’t remember it when I question them about it.

Turns out, at least in my opinion, it’s just a spicy hot, sage infused sausage. I guess it’s the pigs appendix part that stirs up the “turn up your nose” part about it.

Vivian says she wants to bring the Tom Thumb Sausage “back.” Make it special again. In that respect, I’m here to help.

While you can purchase a Tom Thumb Sausage at the Nahunta Pork Center, I’m afraid they do not currently ship them. They need refrigeration in shipping, so they don’t currently offer that on their website.

I must also give credit to the Internet site “Our Daily Brine.” They offer a deeper look into the Tom Thumb and the Dan Doodle than what I go into here. They do mention a place where they have purchased the Dan Doodle, but it appears that location in Virginia no longer carries them.

Vivian may offer a recipe for the Tom Thumb in her cookbook, “Deep Run Roots,” but I haven’t seen the cookbook and don’t know that for certain.

I watched the television episodes that featured the story about her cooking the sausage, and developed the recipe below based on that and the info in the Our Daily Brine story.

So, what to do if you can’t find a Tom Thumb?

Cook yourself up a pot of Cabbage and Peas, serve it alongside your favorite sausage, and think about enjoying a Tom Thumb anyway. Maybe one day you’ll have the chance to try the real thing.

I hope you enjoy the recipe and the story about it either way. But, if you’re ready to give the recipe a try, then let’s head for the kitchen, and… Let’s Get Cooking.”


tom thumb sausage, you'll need these ingredients.
Tom Thumb Sausage Recipe:  You’ll need these ingredients.


tom thumb sausage, also known as a dan doodle.
This is a Tom Thumb Pork Sausage.

I purchased this from Nahunta Pork Center in Pikeville, North Carolina. It’s a hot seasoned sausage stuffed in a pigs appendix.  In the “good old days” sausage was often stuffed inside pigs intestines, then dried and smoked to preserve it for use throughout the year.

Using the pigs appendix for sausage was just another way to take advantage of everything available during hog killing time without wasting any more of the pig than was necessary.


tom thumb sausage, rinse the sausage under cool running water.
Rinse the sausage under cool running water.

While this one didn’t have it, many of the tom thumbs in the old days would develop a mold on the outside during the drying, smoking and curing process. The mold didn’t harm it, but needed to be gently scrubbed away before the sausage was cooked.


tom thumb sausage, drain and set aside.
Set the tom thumb aside and let it drain while you prepare the vegetables for the broth.


tom thumb sausage, rinse the vegetables.
Rinse the vegetables under cool running water.


tom thumb sausage, slice the carrots.
Slice the carrots into small pieces.


tom thumb sausage, dice the celery and onions.
Do the same with the celery and the onion.


tom thumb sausage, add the bacon grease.
Place a 6 quart Dutch Oven on your stove top over medium heat. Add the bacon grease.


tom thumb sausage, add the vegetables.
Add the vegetables to the pot.

The French refer to this as a Mirepoix (meer-pwah). The combination of celery, carrots, and onions is the base for many dishes including stocks. We’re using it to provide flavor to the stock we’ll later be cooking our cabbage and peas in.


tom thumb sausage, add the tom thumb sausage.
Cook the veggies, stirring often, until the onions become translucent.

Watch the veggies carefully and don’t let them start to burn. Once the onions are clear, place the tom thumb sausage on top of the vegetables.


tom thumb sausage, cover with water.
Add enough warm water to the pot to just cover the tom thumb.


tom thumb sausage, bring to a low boil.
Bring everything up to a low boil.


tom thumb sausage, cover the pot and simmer the tom thumb sausage.
Cover the pot. Reduce the heat down just a little and let the tom thumb sausage simmer for about 45 minutes.

Side Story on this recipe:  During the process of making this recipe, the lights at my house started blinking off and on every couple of minutes. The weather was clear, but a little windy on this day.

I began to wonder if I was about to lose electricity, and was concerned about starting to cook the sausage. Sure enough, about 15 minutes after I covered the pot, I lost power.

After reporting the outage, I was told it would be about two hours before the power would be restored due to some trees that had fallen on power lines. I left the sausage in the pot for about 30 minutes, then finally removed it and placed it in the freezer to quickly cool it down.

Turns out, about ten thousand people lost power in my area that day. Mine stayed off for right at three hours, and by the time it came back on, I thought it was too late in the evening to continue with the recipe. So, everything was refrigerated and it was two days later before I had the chance to finish.

See, things happen, but you just keep calm and go with the flow. Right?


tom thumb sausage, remove the tom thumb.
Meanwhile, two days later, I started back up and cooked the sausage. Once it had cooked for the 45 minutes, I removed it from the dutch oven and set it aside to cool. About 15 minutes later, I placed it in the refrigerator to cool down and help it to firm up.


tom thumb sausage, drain the broth.
You’ll need another bowl to do this. Drain the broth through a colander and remove the vegetables.


tom thumb sausage, return the broth to the dutch oven.
Return the broth to the dutch oven.

Another side note:  The sausage produced a lot of fat in the broth. That’s what those white looking spots are in the photo above.

Since I had to refrigerate the stock due to the power failure, the fat solidified pretty much and was easy to remove prior to placing the broth back in the dutch oven.

Should you try the recipe, I suggest you drain off as much of the fat as possible. You don’t want all that grease in your cabbage and peas.


tom thumb sausage, cut up the cabbage.
While the broth is heating back up, cut the cabbage into bite sized pieces.


tom thumb sausage, measure out the peas.
I measured out two cups of purple hull peas.

While they look like black eyed peas, there is a slight difference between the two. Most black eyed peas are purchased as dry beans, while the purple hulls are usually purchased as frozen.

There’s a slight difference in taste with many folks thinking the purple hull peas have a fresher and more flavorful taste than the black eyed peas.

Look for them in the frozen vegetables section of your local grocer. I think you’ll like them, but if you can’t find them, regular black eyes will certainly work just as well.


tom thumb sausage, add the cabbage.
Add the cabbage to the pot.


tom thumb sausage, add the peas.
Add the peas to the pot.


tom thumb sausage, stir everything together.
Stir everything together.

We’re not adding any salt or pepper to the recipe. The sausage has provided a good deal of both to the broth already. I don’t show it here, but I couldn’t resist adding a teaspoon of sugar to the pot. It’s just a Southern thing, something Mama always added to her vegetables as they cooked.


tom thumb sausage, cook until tender.
I suggest you cover your dutch oven while the cabbage and peas cook. I didn’t, and most of my broth cooked away during the process as you may be able to see in the photo above.

Still, I had just enough to get the peas and cabbage cooked until tender.

At this point, you should taste it to see if you’d like to add any more salt and pepper. I didn’t think it needed any.

Had it been overly salty, I would have just added a bit of water and cooked a bit longer.


tom thumb sausage, slice the tom thumb.
Remove the tom thumb from the refrigerator and slice it into about 3/4 inch slices or a little thicker.


tom thumb sausage, place the sausage in a cast iron skillet.
Place slices of the tom thumb in your favorite skillet. Of course, I prefer using my Mama’s old cast iron skillet. Love it!


tom thumb sausage, brown on both sides.
Brown the sausages on both sides, turning as needed to prevent burning.


tom thumb sausage, serve warm and enjoy.
Serve warm and Enjoy!

Serve up a slice or two of the Tom Thumb Sausage with a portion of the cooked Cabbage and Peas.

A piece of cornbread and a glass of sweet tea will turn this into a complete meal. Enjoy!


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Tom Thumb Sausage, printable recipe, as seen on Taste of Southern.

Tom Thumb Sausage Recipe

  • Author: Steve Gordon
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings 1x
  • Category: Main Dish, Pork
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American


Follow our step-by-step, photo illustrated recipe to prepare this old time Southern favorite sausage. Tom Thumb, sometimes called a Dan Doodle, is an almost forgotten treasure. We’ll serve it up with Cabbage and Purple Hull Peas for a true taste of the past.



  • 1 Tom Thumb Sausage
  • 1 cup Celery, diced
  • 1 cup Carrots, diced
  • 1 small Onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoons Bacon Grease, or Butter – separated
  • 1 small Cabbage, sliced
  • 2 cups Peas, Purple Hull, Black Eye, or Crowder.


  1. Rinse the Tom Thumb under cold running water. Pat dry. Set aside.
  2. Dice the celery
  3. Dice the carrots
  4. Dice the onion
  5. Place one teaspoon bacon grease in a 6 quart Dutch Oven, over Medium heat on your stovetop.
  6. Add the diced celery, onions, and carrots to the sauce pot.
  7. Stir and cook until the onions are slightly translucent.
  8. Add the Tom Thumb.
  9. Add enough warm water to just cover the sausage.
  10. Bring to a slight boil on medium heat.
  11. Cover the pot, let cook for 45 minutes.
  12. Remove the sausage, set aside, let cool for about 15 minutes.
  13. Strain the broth to remove the vegetables. Return broth to the pot.
  14. Add the cabbage.
  15. Add the peas.
  16. Cook until the cabbage and peas are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.

When ready to serve…

  1. Slice the sausage into pieces about 3/4inch thick.
  2. Place one teaspoon bacon grease in a cast iron skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add slices of sausage, but do not crowd the skillet.
  4. Brown the sausage, flip and brown the other side. Repeat until all sausage has been browned.
  5. Serve the sausage over a layer of cabbage and peas.
  6. Enjoy

Keywords: Tom Thumb Sausage Recipe, Dan Doodle Sausage, peas and cabbage, A Chef's Life, southern recipes, soul food


Your Comments:  Have you ever even heard of a Tom Thumb or Dan Doodle Sausage. What do you know and remember about it. I’d love to hear your thoughts on our recipe. It will only take a minute or two for you to leave your comments in the section below. I’d love to hear from you.

Just remember, all comments are moderated.  That just means that I personally read each and everyone before they are approved for viewing on our family friendly website. Thank you in advance for sharing.

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Be Blessed!!!


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Category: Main Dishes, Pork

About the Author ()

Award Winning Food Preservationist, Fisherman, Author of three cookbooks. "From Mama's Big Oval Table, From Mama's Big Oval Table - BOOK TWO and Carolina Christmas Sweets and Appetizers." Online Contributor to Our State Magazine Newsletter.

Comments (95)

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  1. Dave Lynn says:

    Tom thumb has been part of one of my favorite meals since I was a boy. I’m 45 now and I make a trip to Nahunta every couple months to stock up on pork and always a grab a couple tom thumbs while I am there. I have to say though, you really over complicated it here. Next time, get a few pounds of well rinsed mustard greens, throw the tom thumb in a stock pot with some water for about 30 minutes then add the greens and boil for about 2 hours. Thats it! Maybe while up some mashed potatoes or something, but the greens infused with the sausage flavor and the sausage itself will have you wishing you bought more tom thumbs!

  2. Jean Wall says:

    We recently purchased a Tom Thumb at Smith’s Red and White in Dortches, NC near Rocky Mount, NC. I grew up participating in hog killings on uncles’ farms and cleaning the intestines were part of the chores. Of course my parents did not divulge what we were cleaning, it was a competition to see which cousin could clean these the best and quickest. Then we held the clean ones for the sausage or Tom Thumb to be stuffed. We were treated to fresh cooked cracklings for snacks on those cold days. Hog killings were like family reunions for us. Our uncles kept the sausage and Tom thumbs in their smoke house until we were ready to cook the meat. Sweet memories.

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Jean, Thank you for sharing your memories with us. I enjoyed reading about your hog killing adventures. Yes, good memories for both of us. I’ve stopped at the Red and White in Dortches several times. Its a great store and they make some really good sausage there as well. I do appreciate your visit today and I hope you’ll visit with us again… real soon. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  3. Charles says:

    Just heard of it 2days ago from daughters in law
    . they grew up in Windsor VA and used to make after a ” hog killing”. Any daughter saw some in Capron VA and brought it for me. Will bring it to us tomorrow and can’t wait to try it.

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Charles, I’m anxious to hear how the Tom Thumb Sausage turned out for you and how you liked it. They’re hard to find these days. Thank you for considering our recipe and for stopping by. i do hope you’ll visit with us often. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  4. T O Mitchell says:

    My grandmother always boiled a Tom Thumb in her collards . It was a great treat and a delicacy when she sliced it up and gave each of us a little portion after about half the collards had been served around the table and the Tom Thumb peeked up from the bottom third of the bowl. Later we dipped our cornbread in the pot liquor of the collard bowl . Life, family, and food could not be any better than this in Lewiston -Woodville nc during the 50s!

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi T O, It’s pretty obvious you were raised here in the South. Smile. Dipping your cornbread in collard bowl pot likker was the giveaway though. Thank you for sharing your memories of the Tom Thumb Sausages. Not many people know about them these days it seems. I appreciate your visit today and I do hope you’ll stop by again… real soon. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  5. Betty says:

    I’m from Florence County in SC
    I have NEVER heard of Tom Thumb sausage…but I would love to try it!! I watch Chef’s Life all the time. I absolutely LOVE Vivian and look forward to visiting the Chef and the Farmer in my future……

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Betty, I’ve been through Florence many times, it’s a beautiful area. I also visit the State Pee Dee Farmers Market near there whenever I’m in that area. I do hope you’ll get to try the Tom Thumb Sausage one day. If you get up to Kinston to visit Chef and the Farmer, make plans to head a little further up and visit the Nahunta Pork Center. You can usually pick up a Tom Thumb Sausage there so you can try the recipe. They are hard to find these days. I guess we’re all sad to see the end of the Chef’s Life TV Series. I really enjoyed watching it too. I’ve been by the restaurant, but never ate there, and as of yet, I’ve not met Vivian or Ben. Maybe one day for me as well. I appreciate your comments and your visit today. I hope you’ll visit with us often. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  6. Brenda Littleton says:

    Grew up in Pikeville North Carolina. Check out their museum and you will see pictures of my grandfather building houses and they even have one of him during a hog killing. Can’t find good Carolina food here in California. Good thing I remembered how to make the sausage on my own. I encourage everyone to try it. After eating Tom Thumb sausage store bought sausage will never be the same. The only other place I could find the sausage when visiting was at a store outside of Moyock North Carolina.

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Brenda, Whats a Carolina girl doing in California? Smile. Thank you for sharing your comments with us. I’m glad you’re able to make your own sausage. I keep saying I’m going to do that one day myself. I do appreciate your visit today and I hope you’ll visit with us again… real soon. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  7. Bill says:

    I am definitely in the minority here as I have eaten Tom Thumb all my life. I grew up in Kinston in the ’50’s and ’60’s and we ate it pretty much every New Year’s Day. My Dad was a good cook and he would fix food for us that a lot of people would not often eat(liver pudding, fish roe, brains and eggs, Tom Thumb–you get the idea). Our philosophy was “if you don’t try it, how will you know whether you will like it or not.” We also did a lot of hunting and fishing, so if you caught it or shot it, you were going to eat it. I still eat Tom Thumb once or twice a year when I get a cravin’ for it. I cook it on the stove or in the oven, then slice it as is or slice it and fry it in a cast iron skillet. I live in Greenville now and can get it at the Piggly Wiggly or at Bonham Meats.

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Bill, Thank you for sharing your memories of the Tom Thumb Sausage with us. I’m happy to hear you can still purchase it in your area. It seems to be hard to find for most. Of course, got to love those Piggly Wiggly stores – right? I’m afraid I haven’t tried the fish roe yet. I saw just recently where a place had some on sale. I was tempted, but didn’t make the purchase yet. I appreciate your visits to Taste of Southern, and I trust you’ll stop by again… real soon. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  8. Elsa says:

    Saw it prepared on A Chef’s Life.

  9. Lisa Osborne says:

    I was introduced to Tom Thumb by watching A Chef’s Life. I’m very loyal to our NC Chefs, you included! Interesting that it’s also called Dan Doodle. Thanks for that interesting bit of information. It looks quite tasty.

  10. Deb says:

    Hi Steve, being an old-time Virginian you’d think I would have heard mention of these two terms, but Tom Thumb and Dan Doodle are new to me! And, you’re right….probably not something that I would try. But I’ll definitely ask Granny if she knows about Tom Thumb sausage. I’ve heard her say so many times, “It’s cold enough to kill hogs!” So I know she’s familiar with the process! Always enjoy your newsletters!

  11. Hope Hill says:

    I had never heard of it before I saw it on Chef’s Life (big fan of the show). I would definitely love to try it. My mother’s family was from West Virginia and North Carolina and my father’s family was from Tennessee so I am sure they made some form of it as I always heard about the festivities around hog killing day (both my parents grew up during the depression and they had great stories and great recipes using only what you had on hand or could grow).

  12. Joyce Plyler says:

    Not heard of Tom Thumb sausage! Sounds delish, & I would luv 2 try it!!

  13. Jack says:

    I watched the episode where the Tom Thumb was discussed. I would try it but would have to try it alone most likely.

  14. Carol Ambrosino says:

    Have never heard of Tom Thumb sausage but I would be open to tasting it. I’m a big fan of A Chef’s Life and will look for the Tom Thumb episode. I have to say I enjoy the delicious fresh sausage we have for breakfast when I visit my brother in S.C.

  15. Regina says:

    I have never heard of Tom​ Thumb sausage or for that matter peas and cabbage together. I’m old country girl from Alabama. I love purple hulls. I would definitely be interested in trying both.

  16. Gisele Schaeffer says:

    I have not heard about that type of sausage. It would be interesting to try it.

  17. Shelly Holden says:

    I never heard of Tom Thumb but recently the lady I work for told me about Dan Doodle. This is truly amazing. Thanks for the recipe.

    • Rhonda says:

      My husband loves Tom Thumb and has eaten his lifetime so far. Hard to find but there are a few country butchers who have them LaGrange Country Butchers and Windsors Butchers who he says have the best.

  18. Cindy Chambers says:

    I have not heard of Tom Thumb sausage before now. I love A Chef’s Life but must have missed that episode.

  19. Thomas Figg says:

    I learned about this and chicken bog when we lived “down east” in Johnston County, soon after moving from Indiana between grades 4 and 5. We were introduced to livermush and “Wilson-style” BBQ, fish camps and proper hush puppies, all in the space of one grand summer of discovery!!

  20. Joyce says:

    I have never heard of Tom Thumb Sausage; however, l love the sage flavored breakfast sausage made by one of the well known sausage makers here in the South. Years ago l had a recipe to make ‘summer sausage’ using ground beef and seasonings wrapped in foil and boiled on the stovetop. So, yes, l would be game to try this!!!

  21. Gina says:

    I have never heard of Tom thumb sausage or Dan doodle sausage. I would be reluctant to try it because I cannot tolerate very much spiciness but I do love sage in my sausage. Your plate looks delicious, though. 🙂 I enjoy your website and recipes and I always learn something new. God bless.

  22. Brenda says:

    Never heard of it by either name. Even though I am a Virginia girl by heart, I have no desire to try it! I do love country sausage and my brother-in-law brings me some each Christmas!

  23. Maggie says:

    I have never heard of Tom Thumb sausage. My people were from KY and did the hog killing thing but maybe they had another name for it. I don’t think I would try it because I’m not much for spicy.
    The peas and cabbage look good, though!

  24. Sonny McDougald says:

    I watched the episode of A Chefs Life that introduced Tom Thumb sausage to me for the first time….surprising enough I’m an old country boy who never heard of it before. However I have everything ready for this dish tonite. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

  25. Have never heard of it but would love to try.

  26. Kathleen says:

    I’m pretty sure I’d give it a try. We used to butcher our own hogs and I made my own sausage. But not this kind. Are you sure it’s an appendix? That’s awfully big for an appendix.
    Where we live, they stuff the hogs stomach sort of like Scotch haggis. It’s called ponce.

  27. Audra Bell says:

    I’ve never heard of it but am willing to try it.

  28. Doris says:

    Never heard of it.Don’t think I would try it.I did enjoy the story.Also enjoy you’re newsletters.

  29. Bushrod says:

    I’ve never heard of Tom Thumb or Dan Doodle sausage.. I do like old timey recipes and plan to try this.

  30. I’ve never heard of Tom Thumb sausage, but I would definitely try it.
    Purple hull peas are the best! We grow our own purple hull peas and cabbage.
    Love your newsletters!!

    God Bless,

  31. Sharon says:

    Never heard of Tom Thumb sausage. Sounds interesting. Peas and cabbage sounds amazing. Carolina girl all my life :).

  32. Karen M. says:

    I really like to watch A Chef’s Life having grown up in Lumberton and attended East Carolina University. I have eaten lots of homemade sausages but not the Tom Thumb…but I would. 🙂

  33. carolyn thomas says:

    Saw them makin a bunch on the show! I’d try anything once. Or twice.

  34. Linda says:

    I was not familiar with this sausage but would. Look forward to trying recipe .

  35. Karen Miller says:

    I’ve never heard of Tom Thumb sausage. Spicy sounds good, just not sure about it being stuffed in an appendix.

  36. My mama used to cook these when I was a kid. I always wondered how somebody could make sausage out of thumbs…and where did they get that many thumbs. So goes the ponderings of a little kid… Thank you for setting this straight for me!

  37. libby rouse says:

    I have never heard of it and I have lived in North Carolina all my life. I would probably try the sausage, but I love purple hull peas and cabbage!

  38. Lisa white says:

    I love dried sausage, but I had never heard of this Tom Thumb sausage until an episode of Chef and the Farmer when Vivian prepared it. I really don’t think I could eat it….knowing what it is…hahaha

  39. Mary says:

    I have never heard of this sausage, but it sure made your dinner plate look good. Depending on how spicy hot it is would determine if I would have any.

  40. LindY G Sherrod says:

    Never heard of it, but would be first in line to try it. I am a NW Florida native, born and raised right here and I LOVE our Southern food. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful Southern recipes and stories. Bless your heart!
    Sister From the South,
    LindY G

  41. Cynthia says:

    I have never heard of Tom Thumb Sausage, but would be willing to try it. My mother said when she was young (1920’s & 30’s) and they butchered a hog, they used everything but the squeal! My brother & I made homemade bolony (more of a sausage) a couple weeks ago using the old family recipe & the cast iron stuffer we inherited from our parents. First time we had tried it on our own. Such a fun thing to do & turned out delicious. We usually just boil it or you can take it out of the casings & make breakfast sausage. Glad we kept that old stuffer. Brought back some wonderful memories.

  42. Lori says:

    Very interesting recipe! I think it would sell at my restaurant, The Tavern in Old Salem built in 1817. We offer our guests many of the “older recipes” during evening service and I think ‘this one would work for us!

  43. Greg says:

    I have not heard of Tom Thumb sausage. Growing up in the northeast, there are plenty off southern recipes I’ve never heard of. Living here at the beach in NC, I’ve learned to love seafood and southern cooking and enjoy trying recipes you publish. However, I still love and miss the New Jersey staples!

  44. Susan says:

    This sounds really good. My husband and I make our own smoked garlic sausage in our smoker.In PA it’s called Kielbosi. I don’t think we can find this in our area, but I would sure like to try it. Another thing we make is hard cured salami, which takes about 3-4 months to cure, but well worth the wait. My nephew works in a slaughter house and I’m going to ask him about the appendix. He did manage to get some caul fat for me so maybe I’ll be lucky again 🙂 Well Steve God Bless and thank you for all the great southern recipes, I so look forward to your letters !! Thank you again

  45. Dianne says:

    I had never heard of a Tom Thumb before seeing those episodes of A Chef’s Life. I’m not sure if I would like to try it…The sausage part sounds good, but the appendix part gives me pause…

  46. Mike says:

    I have never heard of Tom Thumb Sausage but I think I would like to try it. I haven’t tasted a sausage I didn’t like. As for the cabbage and peas I could eat the whole pot and a cornbread all by myself.

  47. Pat Nelson says:

    Never heard of Tom Thumb sausage. I missed that episode of A Chef’s Life with Vivian. I would try it. Love peas and cabbage. During my childhood in the deep south (FL), when the hogs were killed, my job was cleaning the chitlins. I grew up on pork neckbones and rice.

  48. Alicia Day says:

    I have never heard of Tom Thumb Sausage. I don’t think I would want try it. But the cabbage and peas look great!

  49. Robin R. says:

    I have never heard of either Tom Thumb or Dan Doodle; I guess I am just too much a northerner. I would definitely try both, though!

  50. Jennifer Allen says:

    Would I try Tom Thumb sausage? In a heartbeat! Good pork sausage is good pork sausage and it’s sometimes best not to know all of the details – only that it’s GOOD PORK SAUSAGE!!! Love peas and cabbage.

  51. Kathy says:

    I have never tried it and it doesn’t sound like something I would like.

  52. Shirley Nemeth says:

    I’ve never heard of this sausage by either name. When we killed hogs in N.C. My sister and I were given the duty to clean the intestines – yuck! now that I think about. Mama would grind the liver, add some kind of seasoning and stuff it into “casing”. I hate to use the real word. This was called Liver Pudding for some odd reason. I liked it then just as I did chitlins. But I will not eat them now. Can’t even stand to smell them cooking. I enjoyed your newsletter last week about porkbone and rice. Tried to send a comment saying I grew up on neckbones and rice, but I could not get that captcha thing done correctly. Hope I can this time.

  53. Terry lefever says:

    I have never tried the sausage, but it sounds interesting!

  54. Jeanette says:

    Yes, I have eaten some Tom Thumb in NC probably 75 years ago as I was about 10 at the time, but I thought it was a family recipe because I never heard of any other family serving it. As I remember, it was stuffed with the same sausage mixture we used for link or patty sausage. Both my mother and grandmother were “clean freaks” and everything they prepared was washed to the extreme and both also served chitlins. The tom thumb was not precooked, but after curing was sliced and cooked like patty sausage.

  55. Bill Blake says:

    I had never heard about TOM thumb sausage until I heard about it on A Chef’s Life. It’s piqued my interest again, particularly after seeing your recipe here and I do plan to try it.

  56. Looks delicious, I’ll have to try it, but I have never heard of it.

    • SuziAnne Larson says:


  57. Anita says:

    I have not heard of Tom Thumb, but when you mentioned
    Dan Doodle, yes, I have heard of that.
    When we visit Williamsburg, we go to
    Edward’s Ham Shoppe and they have it
    there. I have not tried it, though.

  58. Joy says:

    Never heard of it and won’t try it. However, I would like to find a nice sausage patty recipe that is slightly hot with sage. And it is mainly the consistency I’m looking for. What is purchased in the store has been pulverized.

  59. Brad says:

    yes first heard of it when we saw her show on PBS A Chefs Life

  60. Sylvia Miller says:

    No, I don’t believe I have heard of Tom Thumb sausage. It sounds pretty strong, but I don’t think I would mind trying it.

  61. Elaine says:

    Never heard of Tom Thumb Sausage, I’m from Oregon….must be a southern thing. Would love to try it though!

  62. Alene says:

    Actually, it looks yummy. There is an eastern European recipe that does the same thing, but with cow’s intestine with beef filling. I don’t know how it’s made, and I don’t want to know! Lol! It’s usually served warm. And, it is delicious! So I would try this in a minute. If I could ever find it!

  63. Marie says:

    I have never heard of it but I definitely would try it if it was available.

  64. Marilyn says:

    I have never heard of Tom Thumb sausage. But we love sausage, so I think I would try using another type of sausage, the peas and cabbage would go great with any kind. Love Taste of Southern, your recipes always inspire.

  65. Sarah McKim says:

    I have never heard of Tom Thumb sausage and I don’t think it’s one I’d try. It does look delicious cooked up but I don’t think I could get pass the casing and the appendix.

  66. RONALD LANSING says:


  67. Bob says:

    Looks delicious! Can’t wait to make some…

  68. Katie says:

    Good morning Steve,
    After your newsletters, I’m always hungry.Cabbage and peas sure would be good with my Backbone and rice that I cooked yesterday waiting in my refrigerator!Haven’t heard of or seen Tom Thumb in my area, but I’d like to try it.
    I used to fix Backbone and rice when my kids were little.One evening they had forgotten to tell me I had to take a dish for their 4-H supper, so I did a quick job with old pressure cooker, & away we went. By the time I got to my dish that evening, it WAS empty!Fixing it again brought back memories.Thanks for all your recipes & pictures.

  69. Jenny says:

    Never heard of it. Helped make sausage when growing up in rural S Georgia. Might try it!

  70. Charlotte says:

    I’ve never heard of Tom Thumb sausage, but I am familiar with using the intestine as sausage casing. I remember Mama cleaning chitlins. You are right, the smell was really something!

  71. Jerry J says:

    I’ve never heard it called Tom Thumb or Dan Doodle sausage, but this was common when I was a young boy. I remember it being very good. The cabbage and peas look great as well.

  72. Lori D. says:

    Never heard of Tom Thumb sausage, but when I was younger and we butchered our pigs we would go to a little local country store and buy intestines already cleaned to stuff our sausage. This recipe is kinda like a hog maw that we make, with cabbage,potatoes,and sausage stuffed into a cleaned pigs stomach and baked. Yummy. Thanks for teaching me something new.

  73. Kathryn says:

    Never heard of Tom Thumb Sausage and not sure I want to try it

  74. Love this recipe. I can just taste the sausage and cabbage right now. Such a good combination. The look of the peas remind me of the speckled butterbeans we used to eat back in the 50’s and 60’s in North Carolina. Can’t find them anywhere anymore. I watch a Chef’s Life on PBS and never miss an episode. Wonderful recipes, but my favorite is when Vivian goes out and visits with the locals. Makes me so homesick for NC. Anyone know wheree you can find air dried sausage in VA?

  75. Leigh Anne Ellis says:

    I grew up visiting my great uncle and aunt in South Carolina and had Tom Thumb at their house. I had forgotten all about it until I saw the episode about it on A Chef’s Life.

  76. Paula Schubert says:

    Never heard of Tom Thumb sausage. Interested in how it got it’s name (or Dan Doodle, too). I’d give it a try if I could take the casing off it. But I definitely like peas and cabbage. Make it a great day!


  77. jadip says:

    I am a Vivian fan, but not brave enough to try this one! (Smile). The cabbage and peas look delicious.

  78. Joyce Moore says:

    I’ve never heard of Tom Thumb Sausage but I do like to try different things.

  79. Terry H says:

    Saw the episode on A Chef’s Life including a tour of the Nahunta facilty. Vivian also featured it in food gathering in which she participated.

    Looks and sounds great…..will certainly give it a try. Nice recipe!

  80. Angie says:

    I had not heard of Tom Thumb until seeing it on A Chef’s Life. I love the show and really enjoy seeing the attention brought to rural NC food traditions. Being from the area around the VA – NC state line, I am very familiar with many things Vivian spotlights, but Tom Thumb wasn’t one of them. HaHa.
    I would be interested to try it (it is sausage after all; I just think the usage of the word “appendix” puts people off?). I understand it is a big seller at the restaurant. I enjoy your blog and all things NC!
    Have a great day!

  81. Martha says:

    I’ve never heard of the Tom Thumb sausage, but I’d certainly love to give it a try.

  82. Kathleen says:

    No, cannot say that I have ever heard of Tom Thumb Sausage. We have to check with some of the family that lives in one of the Southern States. The completed recipe sure looks tasty.

  83. Robert Opalko says:

    I’ve never heard of it but I would love to try it. Thank you for this !

  84. David W says:

    I have not heard of a Tom Thumb sausage. I do not think I will be making it.

  85. Catherine says:

    This is a new one for me! Interesting read but probably won’t be making it….. (love to learn about foods from days gone by).

  86. Beverly says:

    No, I have not tried Tom Thumb Sausage, but it looks interesting.

  87. Beth says:

    Never heard of it. Don’t want to try it.

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