Smoked sausage is an incarnation of the Holy Trinity of Texas barbecue: Brisket, ribs, and guts.
Texas Hot Links, often called Texas Hot Guts or just Guts for short, are so named because the ground meat and spices are stuffed in natural casings made from intestines, usually pork, occasionally lamb, and because they are served hot, not because they are spicy hot, although some are. My recipe has some heat, not a lot.
Texas sausages descend from the German and Czech immigrants who settled in central Texas and opened meat markets. It can easily be argued that no cultures are as sausage centric as theirs. The epicenter of the sausage culture in Texas is the little town of Elgin (with a hard “G” as in “girl”), not far from Austin. The most famous spots in Elgin are Southside Market (established in 1882) and Meyer’s (1949). Those are Southside Market sausages below (their motto is “Momma don’t let your sausages grow up to be weenies!”).
It is really hard to characterize a “traditional” Texas Hot Guts flavor profile because no two butchers do it the same way. There is no standard.Free Barbecue News magazine every month to members of our Pitmaster Club. Click here for a free 30 day trial. No credit card needed. No spam. Click here to Be Amazing!
That said, many are pure beef, some are beef and pork blends, but rarely are they pure pork. Many butchers use trimmings from their brisket and ribs. Some use chicken. I’ve even tasted cabrito sausage, made from goat. Usually, the dominant spice is black pepper, and the sausages are post oak smoked. My favorite is the Spicy Pork from Mikeska Brands in Taylor. Too many of the beef based sausages taste like hamburger to me and they tend to crumble.
I asked Tim Mikeska for his recipe, and he replied “I will tell you a few things but cannot give you the recipe. Someone did that once and he went missing soon after. You need to have both fine grind and coarse ground black pepper, salt, cayenne (or another red pepper at least at 40,000 heat units), and garlic. You want the freshest pork you can get, at least 20% fat. If you use lean pork, you can do this without a binder. I despise binders, but it’s a necessary evil when you make beef sausage. If you cut into a beef sausage link without a binder, the meat will just fall out. For beef sausage, many are using a mix of beef brisket with beef plates or navels and dehydrated milk or bull flour for the binder [Note: bull flour is a blend of finely ground grains, typically some combo of corn, wheat, rye, oats and/or rice.] I always use a natural hog casing, 34 to 35mm. Stuff them tight and smoke with hard oak wood for 2 to 3 hours. It must be indirect heat. Let me know how it works. If I don’t respond back, then I may have told you too much.”
Published On: 2/10/2020 Last Modified: 3/29/2021