The best homemade biscuits from scratch: “The Roaring ’20s Biscuit”

There was an Instagram post (below) that I couldn’t improve on. But I thought, “How can I make the best homemade biscuits from scratch to accompany the entree?”

I came across a recipe for biscuits that was good, but it seemed to lack kick. So I added something that all Texans think about first thing in the morning: sausage. And not just any sausage: Jimmy Dean sausage. Hot Jimmy Dean Sausage.

Really “the best homemade biscuits from scratch”?

There are probably better recipes out there, but let me tell you why this recipe satisfied my need for a scratch biscuit:

  • It was a drop biscuit and didn’t need cutting.
    • This was actually quite important, since I wanted them to look more “natural” and not so “thought out.”
  • The ingredients were straightforward and simple to mix.
  • I substituted almond milk for buttermilk — mainly because I didn’t want to buy a whole thing of buttermilk, which I never stock, and let it go to waste — and the result seemed as delicious anyway. (I wouldn’t know of course how they’d taste with buttermilk, but that really wasn’t a concern.)
  • They only needed to cook 10-12 minutes.
  • The butter sauce you brush on top made them awesome.
  • There’s nothing like warm biscuits coming out of the oven…oh my gosh.

Why try to fix what’s not broken?

It’s not that the original recipe is “broken.” It’s that it needed something more. I’ve learned that in Texas, it’s “go big or go home.” So it needed to be more fun, more scrumptious, more biscuit-y than other ordinary biscuits. It had to live up to the hype of naming a blog, “Biscuit Aisle.”

Who was Jimmy Dean anyway?

More important than “who” is “why.” Why am I so keen on adding Jimmy Dean sausage to this recipe.

Jimmy Dean was born in 1928 in Plainview, Texas, during the decade known as “The Roaring ’20s.” It was during Prohibition, a time when almost nothing seemed prohibited. Money was made hand over fist — “cheddar” (money) was made by the wheel. Until it wasn’t.

Dean was “multi-talented,” as the corporate website describes him. (They’re not wrong.) Singer, TV show host, actor, entrepreneur.

My wife won’t let me buy anything but Jimmy Dean. When we lived in New York City and Massachusetts, it was hard to find, and I could tell there was a wistful sadness about being away from Texas, away from H-E-B, and therefore away from Jimmy Dean.

(OK, you got me. She wasn’t that severe, of course, about sausage purchases. I mean, we lived outside Texas for 22 years, and none of us would have gone without sausage for two decades. But as soon as our American Airlines flight touched down in San Antonio, it was Jimmy Dean all the way.)

And you have to go hot Jimmy Dean, not mild. Again, go big, go picante, or go home.

Necessary kitchen tools

For the biscuits, you don’t need much. Just a cookie sheet and standard ingredients. You will need parchment paper, though, and for a long time I didn’t have that in my pantry. So make sure it’s on your next shopping list.

For the sausage, however, you have to have a cast iron skillet, and it has to be a Lodge. I wrote a review of Lodge skillets HERE. Making sausage in anything but an iron skillet just feels culturally heretical. And as for Lodge itself, it’s an American company that’s been around since 1896. Anytime you see a company with a founding date of 1900 or less, it has immediate credibility. At least, in my opinion it does. And did I mention it’s American?

You can get a Lodge on Amazon, along with things like a handle grip or scrub brush. I have 15-inch and 10.25-inch skillets along with a handle grip. You don’t really need the scrub brush. Just use steel wool. The myth is that steel wool will hurt the skillet. Not true. Even Lodge itself says so.

So for the best homemade biscuits from scratch, make sure to go with a simply recipe but make it kicky: add some Jimmy Dean sausage — only Jimmy Dean and only hot — and get your mouth ready.

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