If you know me then you know I love sausage. To me it is perfect food. Maybe sausages are the oldest food processed by humans. You take all those spare animal bits, smash it up (saves you having to chew it) then stuff it into those other tubey bits to keep it altogether. Not much has changed from prehistoric times. Simple and perfect.
If you know me then you also know I get immense joy from making my own sausages. From Chinese lap chong and Cajun boudin to Knockwurst and fennel salami. There’s no such thing as a bad sausage, only bad people. I even have a soft spot those mystery meat wieners made with dubious MRM slurry bound by too much preservative. It’s not the sausages fault! In spite of its ingredients it’s still delicious.
Recently I’ve been lucky enough to be hired to come up with innovative sausages recipes for a major retailer. One of these, the Texas style hotlink sold by M&S in their Smokehouse range has been awarded BBQ sausage of the year in this month’s Olive magazine. They described it as a “showstopping sausage… and has a great authentically smoky flavour“. Of course I couldn’t agree more, it’s a truly delicious sausage. Available at your local M&S right now! (I don’t get paid anymore for this plug trust me)
But even more delicious and satisfying is to make and smoke them yourself. Hotlinks fresh from the smoker is truly one of the best things you can put in your mouth. I’ve been addicted to them since visiting all those Lockhart smokehouses last year. The snap of the taut smokey skin, giving way to peppery meat bursting with juices. Hotlinks are the cornerstone of good BBQ. You must be bored of pulled pork by now right? Here’s my recipe so you can wean yourself away from that nonsense.
Makes 2kg raw sausage
1860g ground 60/40 beef brisket/pork shoulder 5mm plate
71g milk powder
5g hot chilli powder/cayenne
10g coarse mild chilli flakes
5g curing salt (#1 cure)
10g black pepper
8g garlic powder
- Mix it all well and stuff into hog casings. Link into whatever size you like and let them rest overnight.
- Cut the links and hot smoke them at 90C for approx 90 minutes or until the internal temp is 75C
- Try adding jalapeño and sweetcorn next time as a variation.
Notes: the better the beef the better the hotlink. You need at least 20% fat for good juicy sausage. A lot of beef is sold pretty lean, hence why some amount fatty pork is welcome. The best hotlinks I ever made were with wagyu brisket trimmings, still dreaming about those.