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Tom Thumb & Dan Doodle Sausage

Gastronomic Anthropology by Burleson Consulting

July 2010

We love our pork here in North Carolina, and the state’s unofficial motto is:

 “North Carolina: More hogs than people”.

We rednecks are descendents of the British/Scotch/Irish, and foods like Haggis have never really disappeared from our tables.  When we butcher a pig we use everything  but the squeal, and the traditional ways of dressing a pig have not changed much in centuries. 

Intestines are stripped of pig poop for use a sausage casings, the blood is rendered, and the pig face, once stripped of the delectable cheeks and jowls, is boiled up as headcheese.

Bearpond Grocery Store Pork Parts list

Colonial American Pork Dishes in North Carolina

Some traditional pork curing dates back to pre-colonial days, back to the original British/Scottish techniques of our redneck ancestors, with ancient names like Tom Thumb and Dan Doodle:

  • Dan Doodle:  Most link sausage is stuffed into the small intestine, but “Dan Doodle” is sausage that is stuffed into the large intestine, right after you flush-out the pig crap.  It’s sort of a sausage-chitlins mix.

  • Tom Thumb:  A Tom Thumb, may be the same as a Dan Doodle, but it is described as homemade sausage, using pork shoulder, sage, red pepper, all heavily salted and stuffed into a hog’s stomach.  Tom Thumb can keep at room temperature for years.  “Tom Thumb” is usually either smoked or dry-cured and only available in Virginia or the Carolinas, and then, it’s only found in small country stores.

Fresh Tom Thumbs from Bearpond Grocery Store in NC

A Dan Doodle: Offal stuffed in an intestine

The Interweb says that a good Dan Doodle or Tom Thumb is always served with boiled cabbage and deviled eggs, just like our British ancestors did it with Haggis.

A lovely Dan Doodle

Note that the size of a slice of Dan Doodle is exactly the size of pig feces.

I saw some Tom thumbs hanging in the butcher shop in Henderson NC yesterday, and they are about the size of a softball,

I'm planning to try one, but I'm concerned because there are three ways to cure then, sugar, smoking and salt. In the Tom Thumb is salt cured, I may have to soak it for day to leech out the salt!



Note: The opinions expressed on these pages are the sole opinion of Donald K. Burleson and do not reflect the opinions of Burleson Enterprises Inc. or any of its subsidiaries.

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Copyright ? 1996 -  2010 by Donald K Burleson. All rights reserved.