Monday, January 25, 2010

Making Brats and Texas Hot Links

As a long time sausage maker, I am always looking for new recipes and other interesting sausages to try and although I am completely out of my Italian sausage, which I must have at all times, I decided to try a couple of new recipes before I make up a large batch of my Italian. A large batch to me is about 20-25 pounds at the most so you can see that I am a small time sausage maker.

A good friend, a Mr. Jim Ferguson (Rolling Smoke Barbeque) from over around the Dayton, Ohio area, gave me a recipe for his brats that he has been working on and it looked good to me so I wanted to give it a try. He probably thinks I forgot about this recipe as he gave it to me about six months ago and this is the first time I will try it.

Jim's web page:

Another friend, a Mr. Kevin (Stoogie) Taylor (The BBQ Guru) has a great looking Texas Hot Link recipe on his web site "The Recipe Goldmine" that I have wanted to try for a while now as it looks very good and I think it would be hot enough to suit this chili-head.

Kevin's web page:

I started out with two pork butts that weighed a total of 14.82 pounds as my brat recipe calls for 4 pounds of ground pork and I will use the balance of the ground pork in the Texas hot links.

I prepped the meat by cutting out the bones and cutting the meat into small chunks that would fit my Kitchen-Aid grinder. I also mixed the fattie stuff with the lean stuff in the bowls as I prepped the meat for a better and more even grind. The meat then went back into the fridge for a couple of hours to cool down again for the grinder.

While the meat was cooling down again, I got the spices out for the sausage. I found an error in the recipe...calls for a 1/2 cup of water?? WATER, that stuff will rust your pipes!!! I decided to substitute red wine. I also added a very small amount of cayenne pepper to the mix as I do like a little bite in my brats. That is the only changes I made to this great looking recipe. I then mixed most of the spices into the red wine to let them seep until I needed to add them to the mix.

Next, I ran the cold pork thru the Kitchen-Aid with grinder and only plugged it up once. Cleaned it out and finished the meat.

I had a nice batch of ground pork ready for my two recipes.

I then weighed out enough ground pork for the brat recipe, mixed the ground beef into the ground pork for my brats, added the spices, and mixed it up with my hands. I then covered the bowl and placed it into the fridge so the flavors can all meld together for about 12 hours before I stuff the casings. I will have about 5 pounds of total meat ready for the brats.

With my brats out of the way, I started on the Texas hot links. Here is the recipe from Stoogie's web site.

Texas Hot Links

From the kitchen of Kevin Taylor, the BBQ Guru

1 (6 pound) pork butt
1 bottle beer
2 tablespoons black pepper, coarsely ground
2 tablespoons red pepper, crushed
2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons paprika
3 tablespoons kosher (coarse) salt
2 tablespoons mustard seed
1/4 cup garlic, minced
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon MSG
1 teaspoon Tender Quick
1 teaspoon bay leaves , ground
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon thyme, dried

Mix all spices with beer.

Grind pork for sausage.

Mix beer/spices thoroughly into the meat.

Form into sausage links and grill or smoke.

Place in bun and slather heavily with mustard.

I got my spices all measured out for about 9 pounds of meat. The recipe calls for 6 pounds of meat and I have 9 so I added about 1/3rd more spices to the ground pork. Again, as a chili-head, I think that using 3 TBL of the very hot 80 grade ground cayenne, 3 TBL crushed red pepper, and 3 TBL black pepper, to only 9 pounds of ground meat, that these links should come out hot and spicy.

I got the 9 pounds of Texas hot links all mixed up and covered the dish and placed it into the fridge for my melding period of about 12 hours. This bowl of meat is blood red from the spices and just eaks and eaks of heat. Gonna be a good batch!!

I did make up a pattie of each recipe to taste it right after I mixed it up so if I thought it needed anything I could add it now. Both recipes were great and I didn't change anything.

The next day, I ran the brat meat thru my upright tin can stuffer into hog casings (gut) and it came out looking good. I don't stuff sausage very often as I use it in the bulk but I was pleased with the 5 pounds of stuffed brats.

I made the sausage into links and then bagged up the brats for future use.

I started stuffing the Texas hot links into the hog casings and they came out looking pretty good.

I ended up with a nice batch of stuffed Texas hot links.

Again, I made them up into links and bagged the sausage for future use.

Both of these recipes were very good tasting in bulk form in a sandwich but I really won't be able to judge the results until I can taste them as they are properly served in the links.

A fellow needs to carmelize up some onions and bell peppers for both of these sausage recipes. They also must be served in a good fresh bun (not a hotdog bun) for the best results. A nice poppy seeded bun with a sausage link in it, with some carmelized onions and peppers, a few jalapeno slices and then some homemade honey mustard is a real treat.

My thanks go out to both Jim Ferguson and Kevin Taylor for these recipes.


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