1/20/22

Better-Than-Bojangles Dirty Rice

A copycat recipe for Bojangles iconic Cajun dirty rice, made with sausage and a favorite throughout Southern states, especially the Carolinas!

I ain’t never EVER been as tickled with myself as I am over this recipe. If you knew me, and knew how full of it I usually am, you’d know that is saying A LOT.

When I tell you this tastes like Bojangles Dirty Rice, I don’t mean it comes close or it’s about right, I mean the flavor is a dead ringer! This is it. Periodt.

OK, first let me tell you this: I love Bojangles Dirty Rice. I mean, like I loooooooove it. If I order a meal there that comes with two sides, I get two servings of dirty rice. That rice and Captain D’s fried fish are my two fast-food obsessions. I could live the whole rest of my life and never eat another thing from a fast-food restaurant except those two.

Better-Than-Bojangles Dirty Rice! A copycat recipe for Bojangles iconic Cajun dirty rice, made with sausage and a favorite throughout Southern states, especially the Carolinas!

Being that I love the rice so much, I’ve spent a fair amount of time studying it over the years. Two things are obvious to me. One, they use the same sausage patties they use on the sausage biscuits. And two, they use red bell peppers. And I’m OK with both of those!

Bojangles sausage has a fine texture which makes it very tender (a gozillion times better than those rubber discs under the golden arches). It’s also seasoned very well. One of the seasonings I can pick up on is sage. Sage isn’t uncommon in breakfast sausage but it’s pretty pronounced in Bojangles’ so I add rubbed sage to my dirty rice recipe to nudge it over even closer to the real deal. 

I think Jimmy Dean and Swaggerty's breakfast sausage come the closest to the fine, tender texture of Bojangles sausage, so I like them best. In this recipe and in general. Side note… I buy cases of Swaggerty's sausage patties and keep them in the freezer. They cook from frozen beautifully – just place a few frozen patties in a skillet, cover with a lid, heat on low for a few minutes to defrost, then remove the lid and cook as usual.

Better Than Bojangles Dirty Rice! A copycat recipe for Bojangles iconic Cajun dirty rice, made with sausage and a favorite throughout Southern states, especially the Carolinas!

I know traditional dirty rice is made with chicken livers. But seeing as how I don’t like chicken livers and I want dirty rice that tastes like Bojangles’, I never even considered using chicken livers. But, sage has a very earthy, pungent flavor that reminds me of liver so, there’s reason #2 that I use sage in this recipe.

Like most restaurants, Bojangles uses converted rice which is rice that’s parboiled in the husk, dried then “shucked” to remove the husk. It’s more nutritious but I’ve never liked the texture so I used traditional uncooked long-grain white rice.

A lot of dirty rice recipes use plain cooked rice then mix it in with the savory ingredients but I just can’t imagine the original, traditional recipes were made this way. The South has hundreds of rice dishes cooked in the broth or stock of cooked meat so I’m sure the first recipes for dirty rice were made the same way.

Better Than Bojangles Dirty Rice! A copycat recipe for Bojangles iconic Cajun dirty rice, made with sausage and a favorite throughout Southern states, especially the Carolinas!

Do I really think this is “better than Bojangles” dirty rice? Yes and no. I titled the recipe this way because I didn’t want to outright call it 'Bojangles Dirty Rice' because it isn’t technically the exact same recipe so I think it would be misleading to imply that it is.

To say my recipe is better seems almost sacrilegious to me since Bojangles’ dirty rice is somewhat of an iconic institution of the culinary South but… yeah, I think my recipe is better. But only in the sense that theirs is intended as a side dish and made from fewer ingredients. 

This recipe has layers of flavor and is intended to be more of a feature, if not the main dish. And well, this one has forty-plus years of my love and adoration poured into it. I wanted to get it right so I called on everything I knew about cajun cooking and rice making and made something that's a little better than a fast-food side dish.

Better Than Bojangles Dirty Rice! A copycat recipe for Bojangles iconic Cajun dirty rice, made with sausage and a favorite throughout Southern states, especially the Carolinas!

You can serve this as a main dish or as a side and it would be amazing to bring to a potluck dinner or covered dish event. If you’re having this as a main dish, consider serving it with a traditional Southern vegetable (plus a plate of fresh sliced tomatoes and homemade buttermilk biscuits!). If you’re having it as a side, it would go great with any slow-cooked or braised main course meats.

TRADITIONAL SOUTHERN VEGETABLE RECIPES:

  • Southern-Style Canned Green Beans The trick to making perfectly cooked Southern-style green beans with canned beans - the beans don’t fall apart but taste like they’ve cooked all day!
  • Country-Style Baby Lima Beans A no-fail Southern recipe for tender baby lima beans (butterbeans) cooked low and slow with bacon.
  • Collard Greens A step-by-step recipe for cooking the best authentic Southern collard greens.
  • Southern-Style Black-Eyed Peas A slow-cooked recipe for traditional Southern black-eyed peas with ham hocks (or ham bone).
  • Green Beans & Potatoes Fresh green beans and potatoes cooked low and slow the Southern way with bacon and onion - recipe includes both stove-top and crock pot instructions.
  • Southern Cooked Cabbage A simple recipe for cabbage cooked the Southern way by sautéing in bacon grease then slowly cooking until tender - sometimes called Fried Cabbage.
  • Slow Cooker Pinto Beans Dried pintos beans cook up creamy and tender with a smoky, silky sauce that's perfect with cornbread. Recipe includes instructions for crock pot and stove top preparation.

Better Than Bojangles Dirty Rice! A copycat recipe for Bojangles iconic Cajun dirty rice, made with sausage and a favorite throughout Southern states, especially the Carolinas!

SLOW-COOKED OR BRAISED MAIN COURSE MEAT RECIPES:

  • Butter-Braised Slow Cooker Pork Roast A fork-tender pork loin drenched in sizzling butter seasoned with Cajun spices cooked to crispy perfection in the crock pot.
  • Drunken Chicken with 40’leven Cloves of Garlic Beer brined chicken marinated with whole garlic cloves and simple spices roasted or grilled for a super juicy chicken recipe with incredible flavor that’s seasoned from the inside out!
  • Nanny's Sticky Chicken Southern Sticky Chicken slow cooks in an easy sauce in a cast iron skillet. The chicken braises in a slightly sweet tangy sauce and is fall-off-the-bone tender.
  • Crock Pot Pulled Pork Tender, juicy pulled pork recipe seasoned with a delicious but simple dry rub recipe then cooked to perfection in a slow cooker.
  • Baked Country-Style Ribs A no-fail recipe for tender country-style ribs baked low and slow in the oven over a bed of onions.

Better-Than-Bojangles Dirty Rice! A copycat recipe for Bojangles iconic Cajun dirty rice, made with sausage and a favorite throughout Southern states, especially the Carolinas!

Better Than Bojangles Dirty Rice

Better Than Bojangles Dirty Rice
Yield: 6 Servings
Author: Mandy Rivers | South Your Mouth
Prep time: 15 MinCook time: 20 MinTotal time: 35 Min
A copycat recipe for Bojangles iconic Cajun dirty rice, made with sausage and a favorite throughout Southern states, especially the Carolinas!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground pork sausage
  • 1 1/2 cups finely diced celery
  • 1 small red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked long-grain rice
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

  1. Cook and crumble sausage in a wide skillet or pan (you will need to use something with a tight fitting lid) until sausage is nicely browned. Remove sausage from pan using a slotted spoon; set aside.
  2. Add celery, bell pepper, onion and butter to pan then cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.
  3. Add cooked sausage, broth, garlic, salt, sage, thyme, pepper and cayenne then bring to a boil. Once boiling, add rice and parsley.
  4. Return to a gentle boil then cover, reduce heat to low or medium-low (wherever your dial gives you a gentle simmer) then cook for 20-25 minutes or until rice is tender.
  5. Stir rice once or twice with a fork to ensure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pot but don’t overwork the rice. Don’t stir the rice or open the lid the last 5 minutes of cooking.
  6. Remove from heat then let rest, covered, for 10 minutes.

Notes:

  • Jimmy Dean or Swaggerty's breakfast sausage is my favorite in this recipe.
  • You can use Jimmy Dean Sage Sausage in this recipe and omit the 1/2 teaspoon of rubbed sage.
  • I don’t know how to convert this recipe to make it with instant rice or brown rice.
  • Substitute 1/4 teaspoon ground sage for the 1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage if needed.
  • Substitute 1 tablespoon dried parsley for the 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley if needed.
dirty rice, copycat, bojangles, cajun, sausage, jimmy dean, how to, best, southern, side dish, potluck, rice, famous, recipe, copy cat
dinner, side, supper
american, southern, cajun
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INGREDIENTS
  • 1 lb ground pork sausage
  • 1 1/2 cups finely diced celery
  • 1 small red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked long-grain rice
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Cook and crumble sausage in a wide skillet or pan (you will need to use something with a tight fitting lid) until sausage is nicely browned. Remove sausage from pan using a slotted spoon; set aside.
  2. Add celery, bell pepper, onion and butter to pan then cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.
  3. Add cooked sausage, broth, garlic, salt, sage, thyme, pepper and cayenne then bring to a boil. Once boiling, add rice and parsley.
  4. Return to a gentle boil then cover, reduce heat to low or medium-low (wherever your dial gives you a gentle simmer) then cook for 20-25 minutes or until rice is tender.
  5. Stir rice once or twice with a fork to ensure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pot but don’t overwork the rice. Don’t stir the rice or open the lid the last 5 minutes of cooking.
  6. Remove from heat then let rest, covered, for 10 minutes.


9 comments:

  1. Girl...your dirty rice looks 1000X better than Bojangles and I know it will taste amazing. YUM! I can't wait to try this!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am SO excited to try this! We don't have Bojangles here in "yankee-ville" (MN) but we do have Popeyes Chicken and they have Dirty Rice as a side option. Not near as good as Bojangles, but acceptable and it will do to satisfy my homesick craving when I can't get to SC. I know this is going to be AMAZING!! Thanks!

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  3. I know what I'm taking to our next church potluck. Wow...it even looks like Bojangles! Thank you for sharing. I think I might have to go to Bojangles for lunch now....or Captain D's! :)

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  4. Mandy darlin', I too am an SC native. But my Dirty Red Beans and Rice beats them both. Love your cooking. I'll send you my recipe.

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  5. Do you drain the fat from the sausage or cook the celery, pepper and onion in it?

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  6. Looks delicious. Your recipes make me hungry. your pictures are great Best of all your writing makes me SMILE and often laugh right out. Do you have a cookbook and if not will you please get a move on and write one?!?

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  7. I made biscuits at Bojangles for 3 years and ate A LOT of dirty rice and yours looks good, too!!

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  8. I'm Aussie, so I have no idea how Bojangley this stuff is, but I was faithful to the recipe, and it's a you-beaut, Skizzid approved, scoff. Cooee!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL, I think that means you liked it and I'm happy to hear it!

      Delete

Hi there! While I’m not able to respond to every comment, I try hard to answer any questions that haven’t been addressed in the post, recipe or in other comments.

I can tell you now 1) I have no idea if you can substitute Minute Rice or brown rice in my recipes because I’ve never used them and 2) If I know how to convert a recipe to a Crock Pot version, I will make a note about it (otherwise, I don’t know).

And though I may not respond to them all, I do read each and every comment and I LOVE to hear from you guys! Thanks, y’all! - Mandy