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From Cook's Illustrated: "Don't make this recipe with lean or extra-lean ground pork, the resulting sausage will be dry, crumbly, and less flavorful."
- Spread the pork out in a large bowl and sprinkle with the maple syrup, garlic (if using), salt, pepper, sage, thyme, and cayenne. Using your hands, gently fold the flavorings evenly into the pork, then portion and shape into sixteen 2-ounce patties (about 1/4 cup each).
- Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add half of the patties and cook until well browned on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate. Wipe out the skillet, add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil, return to medium heat until shimmering, and cook the remaining patties.