Texas hot links

Texas hot links

The Hang Fire Cookbook

These sausages are ubiquitous through central market style barbecue in Texas and often called ‘Hot Guts’ due to the use of natural sheep or hog casings. There were a few allbeef ones that can be a bit of acquired taste. However, the spicy all-pork kind or the hot links mixed with both pork and beef were crazy good. We were the first ones to bring this sausage back to Wales and here’s the recipe that we love to serve with our barbecue.


Quantity Ingredient
1 1/2 teaspoons prague powder, (see recipe note)
1kg boneless pork shoulder, cut into 5cm cubes
400g chuck steak, cut into cubes
225g pork back fat, cut into small cubes
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons dried sage
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon fine sea salt
2 teaspoons toasted fennel seeds, ground, crushed
1 teaspoon each dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
natural hog casing, 5m x 36/40, (soaked overnight in water and drained)


  1. First, put the coarse blade of your meat grinder in the freezer. In a large bowl, mix the Prague Powder #1 with 1 tablespoon of water until you have a smooth paste. Add the remaining ingredients apart from the sausage casing and mix well. Pass through a food grinder fitted with your coarse blade. Return the mixture to the bowl, cover tightly with cling film and refrigerate overnight.
  2. The next day, test the seasoning of your sausage mix. Heat a dash of oil in a frying pan and add a small piece of the sausage mix. Fry over medium heat for a few minutes, until thoroughly cooked. Have a taste and add more seasoning if necessary.
  3. When you’re ready to make your sausage, turn your kitchen tap on to a slow, steady flow. Hook the hog casing over the end of the tap and flush with water for a few minutes. Squeeze all of the water out of the casing. This is a good time to check the casing for any holes in the casing, if any water comes spouting out, cut that bit out and check another piece.
  4. Using the sausage attachment on a stand mixer, push about 1 metre of casing on the hose attachment and tie the end. Start slowly feeding your mix into the casing, holding the sausage as you go. (You might find it useful to have a large bowl handy for the sausage to drop into.) When you have the individual sausage length you’re after, stop feeding the meat through, pinch the sausage casing with your thumb and forefinger and twist to whatever length you like – 15cm is about right.
  5. The next stage is to smoke the sausages. We use sausage sticks to smoke our sausage, which are basically stainless steel pieces of dowelling, and we wrap the sausages around them. When you’ve made your links, you need to allow them some drying time. You can either hang them in your fridge for 2 hours or hang your sausages in front of a fan for 1 hour before smoking. The skins should be dry to the touch and the sausages should look a little darker in colouring.
  6. This stage will test your smoking skills a little. You want to creep the temperature of your smoker up from 60°C to 71°C throughout the cook time, which could be around the 3–4 hour mark, to get maximum smoke flavour without overcooking and rendering the fats too quickly. Add your wood at the start and again as and when it burns out. Check the temperature of the sausages after 2 hours. You’re aiming for the internal temperature of your sausage to reach 74°C. Remove them from the smoker at this point and immediately spray liberally with cold water. Hang at room temperature in front of a fan for 1 hour, then refrigerate overnight, uncovered, before eating.
  7. The sausages will keep for 3–4 days in the fridge and freeze very well for up to 3 months.

A Note on Prague Powder #1

  • We recommend using this so you can keep your sausage making adventures safe for you and anyone else eating them. It has a combination of table salt and sodium nitrite, which not only helps prevent the build up of nasty bacteria but also preserves the colour of the meat, preventing it from looking grey when cooked. Read the instructions on your packet of Prague Powder #1 carefully, it’s potentially harmful if not used in the correct way.


  • Oak, Hickory, Cherry

Cooking methods

  • Indirect Grilling/Smoking
Deep South
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