Texas Hot Links

red hot beef sausage
Milanfoto/Getty Images
Prep: 60 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Inactive Time: 19 hrs
Total: 20 hrs
Servings: 16 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
239 Calories
8g Fat
5g Carbs
37g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 16
Amount per serving
Calories 239
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 10%
Saturated Fat 3g 16%
Cholesterol 112mg 37%
Sodium 695mg 30%
Total Carbohydrate 5g 2%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 37g
Vitamin C 0mg 2%
Calcium 25mg 2%
Iron 4mg 20%
Potassium 395mg 8%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

You can recreate a Texas tradition in your own kitchen with chef Ryan Farr's version of the famous Texas hot links. This dish, strongly engraved in the Southern tradition, probably originated in New Orleans from Spanish recipes, but it quickly expanded to other areas, Texas included, where it's usually served with bread, pickles, and onion slices.

It's usually made out of beef, sometimes pork and beef, and heavily seasoned with spices like paprika, chili, and coriander. Farr's take on the sausages uses beef chuck, a tough and tasty cut of beef. These then should be hot-smoked until cooked through to an internal temperature of 148 F. If lacking the necessary equipment for smoking, poach or gently grill the meat to an equally wonderful result.

You need about 20 feet of large or medium hog casings for this recipe (rehydrated overnight), which you can order online or purchase from a specialty butcher. This recipe is found in Ryan Farr's book "Whole Beast Butchery," (2011) reproduced here with permission from Chronicle Books.

Ingredients

  • 20 feet hog casing

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fine sea salt (or Kosher salt)

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cayenne pepper

  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika

  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons mustard powder

  • 2 teaspoons black pepper (freshly ground)

  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder

  • 3 to 4 pounds beef chuck (very cold)

  • 1/3 cup water (iced)

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard

Steps to Make It

Note: While there are multiple steps to this recipe, this dish is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and cooking.

Prepare the Sausage Casings

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Soak the hog casings in a bowl of cold water and refrigerate overnight.

  3. Untangle the casings and begin to open them up with the help of the nozzle in your sink faucet: hold one end of each piece of casing up to the nozzle and support it with your other hand, gently turning on the water and letting it run through the casings to check for holes. If there are any holes in the casings, cut out the pieces with the holes. Keep the casings in a bowl of ice water or refrigerate until stuffing time.

Make the Stuffing

  1. In a small bowl, mix the salt, cayenne, paprika, sugar, mustard powder, pepper, coriander seeds, and chili powder. Reserve.

  2. With a sharp boning knife clean the beef chuck, removing the meat and fat from the bones.

  3. Open-freeze the meat, uncovered, for 30 to 60 minutes, until the surface of it is crunchy to the touch and the interior is very cold, but not frozen.​

  4. Cut the beef into 1-inch cubes or a size slightly smaller than the opening of the meat grinder.

  5. Open-freeze the meat again, uncovered, for 30 to 60 minutes, until the surface of the meat is crunchy to the touch and the interior is very cold, but not frozen.

  6. Prepare a clean and chilled meat grinder, fitting it with the medium plate. Start the auger and, without using the supplied pusher, let the auger gently grab each cube of meat and bring it forward toward the blade and through the grinding plate. Continue grinding until all of the meat has been processed.

  7. Place the processed meat in a clean, cold non-reactive bowl or tub and open-freeze, uncovered, for 30 to 60 minutes, until the surface is crunchy to the touch and the interior is very cold, but not frozen.

  8. In a medium nonreactive bowl, combine the dry spice mixture with the ice water and yellow mustard and whisk together until completely blended. You want a slurry texture.

  9. In a large, wide basin, combine the cold meat with the spice slurry. With clean hands, begin kneading and turning the mixture as you would a large quantity of bread dough. The mixture will acquire a somewhat creamy texture because of the warmth of your hands, a sign that you have finished mixing. Spoon out a few tablespoons of the mixture, reserve covered, and return the remainder to the refrigerator.

  10. In a nonstick skillet over medium heat, lightly fry a test portion of sausage mixture until cooked through but not caramelized. Taste for seasoning. Based on this taste test, you can adjust the salt in the main portion of sausage, if desired.

Stuff the Sausages

  1. Prepare a chilled sausage stuffer and place the water-filled bowl of casings next to it. You will also need a landing surface of clean trays or parchment paper-lined baking sheets for your finished sausages. Load the sausage mixture into the canister of the sausage stuffer, compacting it very lightly with a spatula to be sure there are no air pockets. Replace the lid.

  2. Thread a length of casing all the way onto the stuffing horn and start cranking just enough to move a little of the ground meat mixture into the casing. As soon as you can see the meat poking through the nose of the stuffer, stop and crank backward slightly to halt the forward movement. Pinch the casing where the meat starts, to extrude all the air and tie into a knot.

  3. Start cranking again with one hand while you support the emerging sausage with the other. Move the casing out slowly to allow it to fill fully. Don't overfill, the sausages need to give a little when it comes time to form the links. When you get close to the end, leave 6 inches of unstuffed casing and stop cranking.

  4. With the big sausage on your landing area, find the initial knot and measure 6 inches of sausage. Pinch the sausage gently to form your first link, and twist forward for about seven rotations.

  5. Move another 6 inches down the sausage, and this time, pinch firmly and twist backward. Repeat this process every 6 inches, alternating the forward and backward twists in the casings, until you reach the open end of the casing.

  6. Twist the open end right at the last bit of sausage to seal off the whole coil, and then tie a knot.

  7. Hang the sausage overnight in a refrigerator, or refrigerate on parchment paper-lined baking sheets covered with plastic wrap, to allow the casing to form fully to the meat, and the sausage to settle.

  8. Poach, grill, smoke, or bake the sausages.

  9. Enjoy!