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Texas Hot Links

Texas Hot Links. A delicious spicy sausage that finds it’s origins out of Pittsburg, TX. This sausage (AKA Hot Guts) can be made with beef, pork, or a combination of both. From what I can gather there is no real standard when it comes to Texas Hot Guts as every butcher seems to make theirs slightly different.

Originally this sausage was baked/broiled so that the outer skin would receive a charred almost burnt looking appearance but today you can find these hot links cooked any number of ways. Grilling, broiling, baking, or smoking. I wouldn’t poach this sausage as it just wouldn’t give you that “Texas Hot Guts” texture that we want.

I like to cold smoking these hot links for several hours before cooking to really get that beautiful smoke penetration. This step is totally optional but really elevates this sausage (IMHO)

Follow basic cold smoked sausage preparation practices when making this sausage.
  1. Clean and Sanitize all of your equipment.
  2. Keep your meat and grinder parts super cold (below 34F)
  3. Any liquid that is added to the mince needs to be ice cold
  4. Mix your very chilled meat and seasonings till the mince becomes very tacky
  5. Stuff the mince into sausage casings and prick out any air pockets
  6. Refrigerate your sausage overnight to allow the cure to work
  7. The next day follow this smoking schedule (Optional)
    -Bring your sausage to room temperature to dry out
    -Once dry begin to cold smoke for 6 hours
    – After the cold smoke increase to 135F for 1 hour
    -Increase to 155F for 1.5 hours
    -Increase to 175F till the internal temp reaches 145F

Here are a few things you might find useful when making sausage

Enjoy the video and the recipe. If you have any questions feel free to ask away. If you make this at home I’d love to hear about how it came out!!

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4.53 from 57 votes

Texas Hot Links

A Texas classic
Prep Time1 day
Cook Time7 hours
How much do you want to make? 2270 grams



  • Clean your meat of any silver skin, sinew, arteries and cut into small strips or cubes. Add all of the seasonings (except the Non-Fat Powder Milk) and place the seasoned meat and fat in the freezer for an hour or until the temp reaches 32f – 34F.
  • clean and rehydrate your hog casings
  • Grind your very chilled meat and fat on a course plate (10mm) then regrind on a medium plate (4.5mm). Make sure everything is very chilled while grinding.
  • Add the ice cold beer and the non-fat dry powder milk to your mince meat and mix till it becomes very tacky. If you grab a small handful it will stick to your hand if you hold your hand upside down.
  • Stuff your mince meat into the casings, link, and prick out any air pockets. Let your sausages rest in the refrigerator overnight

Smoking Schedule

  • Cold smoke for 6 hours
  • Next set the temp to 135F for 1 hour, then raise to 155F for 1.5 hours, and finally raise the temp to 175F till the internal temp reaches 145F.
  • Once finished cool your sausages by dunking them in ice cold water. Remove from the water and let them bloom at room temperature for several hours. Refrigerate and enjoy!

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39 thoughts on “Texas Hot Links”

      1. No. It was a total serving size issue. The ratio of beef/pork/and fat are correct. It should be 70% meat and 30% fat. However you want to mix and match is up to you.

  1. In step 1 it says to add all seasonings except NFDMP. However, none of the remaining steps say to add the NFDMP. At what point does this get added to the grind? Am I missing something?

  2. 5 stars
    Sounds fantastic. I noticed in the video you showed two bottles of beer but the recipe only called for one cup of beer. What happened to the other beer? Hmmmm

  3. So if you want to freeze thee for later, do you:
    1 – finish cooking them after the cold smoke and reheat/grill when you want to eat them, or:
    2- Freeze them after cold smoking and cook them when you want to eat them?

  4. 5 stars
    Made up about a 7.5lbs batch of this that is cold smoking now. I went with 2/3 pork shoulder and 1/3 beef chuck by weight. Followed your recipe pretty closely with a little less NFPM and a little heavier on cayenne. When I fried a sample, it had a very beer forward taste so I’m hoping that tamed out a bit in the overnight rest and through the cooking process. The sample was still good and I’m excited for the end product. Thanks for your easy to follow and up/downscale recipes and thanks for including gram weights for everything. Makes it easy to make percent by weight adjustments when iterating.

  5. George Sevelle

    5 stars
    I made this sausage this weekend, I’d been looking for a good Texas Sausage recipe. It impressed two of my most critical critics, my wife and Bill. Bill is a former 5 star chef that has redirected his talents to creating a 501 c3 hunger relief agency I volunteer my time with, I from time to time take in food for him to sample and provide feedback. Well today he discussed how he would make sausage, which made me start to think he did not like it, but to my surprise he said it was some of the best sausage he had eaten and definitely the best I’d brought him to test. I tweaked the recipe a bit, used 50% of the recommended cayenne pepper and found some beef tenderloin tails in the freezer so used those and added 1 lb. of back fat to compensate for the lean beef. I had to do a little bit of improvising on the cooking, but cold smoked for 5.5 hours then started the smoker at 150 F. it’s lowest temp. for 2.5 hours. then up the temp to 175 to finish.

  6. Hi Eric – another great recipe I’m looking to experiment with. Quick question – what effect will substituting the beer with water have? Also, i’m looking to grill/broil rather than smoke, so I’m guessing I don’t have to add the instacure. Since instacure is about 94% NACL, would you suggest increasing the kosher salt percentage a little bit to compensate for the NaCl from the instacure?

    And finally… can i replace the NFPM with potato starch?

    1. It will slightly change the flavor, but they will still be delicious. You can omit the cure and either add a bit more salt or not. That small amount is not that big of a deal. Yes. Potatoe starch is a fine substitute. Use the same amount that the recipe calls for.

  7. 4 stars
    I made these a year ago, but didn’t do the cold smoke back then. I am planning to make them again next week, with a cold smoking session and packaging/freezing them afterwards.

    What wood would you recommend for the cold smoke?

  8. Can you use mustard seed instead of or along with the mustard powder to get that little pop of flavor in the sausage? How much would you recommend to keep from having too much mustard?

  9. Hi Eric,
    Made many of your recipes, always awesome. You made a video with Chuds BBQ and he put out a video on how to make Pfefferbeisser. A raw sausage that only uses pink #1 and cold smoking. Recipe also on Wurst Circle. I also found this great German site,
    Lots of cool European meats. Nobody in America seems to be into raw sausage, but I’ve made it and is the bomb. This would be a great topic for you to talk about.

  10. Would there be a big difference if I were to grind just the meat (no seasoning) and then add the seasoning to the ground meat and then paddled to incorporate / form the bind?

    Seems like this would lead to all of the seasoning ending up in the mix, and not stuck inside the grinder

  11. Hello Eric !
    First…. I am new in sausage making. I do my stuffing with my grinder. When i put liquid in my mince meat, i have problem….

    The mixture sticks to the inside walls of the grinder. So I have difficulty for putting the mixture in the guts.

    Until I buy a sausages stuffer…

    – Can I forget to put the liquid ?? And…. What kind of difference will it do ??

    Thank you in advance and have a great day.

    1. The easy answer is that you should get a stuffer ASAP!!! But, till then, You can omit the liquid if you want. You sausage will be a little more dense and could be difficult to work with but it’ll work

  12. 5 stars
    Hi Eric
    In my country, insta treatment #1 is not found.
    Do you have a substitute for this product that does not change the taste of the sausage?

    1. Not really. You could omit the curing salt and just cook the sausage a little hotter than I recommend. I would say, start at 200f and cook till you get to an internal of 155F

  13. 5 stars
    Hi Eric
    In my country, insta cure #1 is not found.
    Do you have a substitute for this product that does not change the taste of the sausage?

    1. Not really. You could omit it and just cook the sausage like a fresh sausage but with smoke. Start at 200f and cook till the internal reaches 155f. apply smoke the entire time

    1. If you look at the recipe closely the amount of NFDM is 2.5% and the amount of beer (liquid) is 1 cup. All of that is for a 5-pound batch. 5 pounds is 2270 grams and 1 cup of beer (liquid) is 236 ml. The liquid that the recipe calls for is a little over 10%

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