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.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Pit Beef/Roast Beef on the Weber Kettle

Wife wanted some roast or pit beef and I was looking to do a rotisserie cook of some type so this cook just went together like peaches and cream. I decided to do it on my EZ-Que in the old stand by Weber Kettle which always gives me great results. Never had a bad cook with this setup.

I started out with two beef bottom round roasts from Sam's Club with one weighing in at 3.58 pounds and the other a little larger at 4.11 pounds. I like the smaller roasts as it gives me more of that great outside crust after cooking. This meat should make for some wonderful sandwiches!

I cut the hard fat off of the fat side and then sprinkled on a generous dose of garlic salt and black pepper.

I got the cooker out of the garage and loaded up the charcoal chimney with enough Rancher brickettes to fill the two charcoal baskets in the Weber kettle. I then lit up the chimney full of charcoal. Was a cool morning at about freezing and with some misting rain and fog in the area. As you can see, we still have some snow on the ground.

I got my 6" EZ-Que rotisserie basket out and loaded up the two rubbed bottom round roasts and got them ready for the cooker.

Went back outside and poured the charcoal into the baskets inside the cooker and added the drip pan with a little water and got the cooker ready to load for an indirect hight temp cook.

I loaded the meat into the kettle for this short cook.

With the freezing rain I decided to use my tailgater battery operated rotisserie spit motor for this cook and I replaced the D batteries and installed it and it worked well.

I wanted to cook this meat as hot as the cooker would get and I opened up all the vents and had a lid temp of around 425-475f degrees which should get these roasts done to medium rare in about an hour. Then the wife told me she didn't want them "moo-ing" so I decided to cook them a little longer.

I ended up cooking the roasts for about 75 minutes which gave me an internal temp of about 155-160f which is about medium done. It sure looked good and should make for some great beef.

Brought the meat inside the house and removed it from the EZ-Que basket.

The smell was wonderful and I couldn't wait to get some sliced up. Wrapped them in foil and let them cool some before I put them thru the slicer.

The meat coming off of the slicer.

It sure makes up a nice plate of thin sliced roast beef. Me and my lady fought over each of the last 1/4" thick crust pieces off of each block of meat that went thru the slicer as the slicer won't cut the meat all the way to your fingers! ouch! These thin crunchy chunks are to die for!!

Take a fresh onion bun, cut it in half, wrap it with a wet paper towel and place it into the nuker for a few short seconds to get it steamed and warmed up. Place a big pile of this roast beef on one side of the bun. Add a couple of slices of Swiss cheese on top of the meat, back into the nuker for a few seconds to melt the cheese. Add a big dollop of horsey sauce to the top of the meat and add the top of the bun for one great sandwich.

We did freeze the remainder of the meat in pound packets for future use.