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"Mexi-Cali" Hot Links & More Kielbasa (Many Pix)

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

After about a month hiatus from sausage-making, it’s time to break out the big grinder & other goodies and get to work. biggrin.gif


I wanted to try something new AND also do something more ‘routine’—so I decided to make some regulars: kielbasa ( a 5-pound batch) and 4-pounds Jimmy Dean knock off bulk breakfast sausage—no photos of this exciting process, however—just me mixing spices into ground pork.


I also am trying a new recipe, sort of a variation on the Texas or Louisiana Hot links, which are popular. My version is using some local-grown California ingredients (although available most anywhere) and some Mexican chiles. I call them “Mexi-Cali Hot Links.” Not quite a chorizo—none of the vinegariness nor present cumin/oregano flavors one associates with chorizo. I maintained use of some of the floral spices found in hot links (allspice, coriander) and introduce some of the chile to the flavor party.Also I’m using a combination of beef AND pork as many hot links are.


So here are the ingredients.


I also am adding 8oz of cold filtered water to the mix.The garlic is fresh from Gilroy, CA— the ‘garlic capital of the world’ acquired on my last recent trip through there. The Pasilla negro chile powder is interesting as it has an almost dried fruit sweetness to it. The California chile powder is mild. Both chiles are low on the Scoville scale for heat. The cayenne brings the heat. I’m also using Tapatio Hot sauce, but any good Mexican hot sauce will suffice.


On to the meat:

Two & a half pounds of top round roast (cheap on sale), near frozen and cubed for the grinder:


For the pork, I’m using 5 lbs of pork shoulder (ample amount of fat) and several sections of pork loin (too lean by itself) I’ve had in the freezer. All cubed up = about 12.5 lbs of pork. I’ve some extra pork fat I’ll need to add to bring the fat level up to about 25%...


The Grind:

Using a 4.5mm plate for all; first the beef:


Then the pork:


To offset the leanness of the loin, I added 1.3lbs of pork fat:


Mixing: 8oz of chilled water is added to help in the mixing of the spices into the meat:


After 10 minutes of hand-mixing, a good cohesive paste is formed. This will rest while I move on to the kielbasa:


The kielbasa is pretty straight-forward—no fancy ingredients; sometimes simple is best:


Spices added to the 5lbs of 100% pork:



I used 32-34mm natural casings for both sausages. The kielbasa I made in to longer ropes; the hot links into 5-6” links.


I hung these to dry at room temp while I got the smoker prepped.


Into the smoker:

Using my new A-maze-n Tube smoker, filled with hickory pellets (both of these strong-flavored sausages can take a stronger-flavored smoke like hickory). One hour into the smoke:


More to come!...



post #2 of 22

Nice work!!! great qview!!

post #3 of 22

The end results are super. Wish you would post the recipe. CF

post #4 of 22

Very nice, well done.

post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by chilefarmer View Post

The end results are super. Wish you would post the recipe. CF

I'll post the recipe once I'm finished running around multitasking! biggrin.gif


Checked the smoker; still holding at 152°F at about 3.5 to 4 hours in. Getting some good hickory color!




post #6 of 22

Lookin' good so far...very detailed. 

post #7 of 22

Oh boy.... I can almost smell those bad boys all the way over hear (drooling all over the keyboard).


And me on a diet..... (which has put a major crimp in my sausage making)

post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 

Well that took a bit longer than expected...biggrin.gif


I decided to finish the links in the smoker versus in the water bath (as I usually do) as I was busy trying to finish two other projects concurrently.

So after 9 hours, the IT of 152°F is hit and I can now pull both the kielbasa and the hot links.


Rack cooling inside. I had them outside hanging for about an hour as its cold out tonight (relatively speaking, nor Cal cold 50°F).

The color on the sausages is great—the hot links almost a mahogany/amber hue. Hard to capture in the photos. More wrinkles are obvious finishing in the smoker. After a water bath, most links are fairly plump with no shrivel.


Sample time:

The kielbasa is nice & moist, garlicky, smokey with an herbal note. These should go great with sauerkraut & potatoes tomorrow night! biggrin.gif



The Mexi-Cali Hot links: These are really interesting. You can definitely tell they're not you're typical Texas nor Louisiana hot links. The pasilla adds a very rich flavor and its a nice balance between the heat (its still there!), the smokiness, and the slight tang fro the hot sauce. Only thing I might try next time is to do a second FINE grind so the final texture is smoother (i.e. more hot dog-like as traditional hot links are). These resemble italian sausages in texture. I've gotten 3 thumbs up on these new sausages from the guys.



Here's the recipe I used if you wish to try it. Add more heat if you like. This recipe is fairly conservative as far as HEAT goes.


Mexi-Cali Hot Links

Makes five pounds


Pork butt/shoulder     2.5lbs

Beef Chuck/round      2.5lbs


Kosher salt        44g

Non-Fat Dry Milk    40g

Smoked Paprika     15g

Pasilla Negro Chile powder  15g

California Chile Powder  15g

Cayenne pepper     9.0g

Onion Powder     16g

Mustard Powder    7.0g

Garlic Powder (or 2 fresh garlic cloves)   9.0g

Dk Brown Sugar  11g

Black Pepper   6.0g

Coriander, ground   4.0g

Allspice   3.0g

Mexican Hot Sauce   2 TBL

Cure#1     6.0g


Both the Pasilla & California are low in Scoville heat (500-2000). You can sub in New Mexico (8,000-12,000), Chile De Arbol (15,000-30,000) or even Habenero (150,000-325,000) for more HEAT, but the Pasilla adds a richness the others peppers don’t have.



post #9 of 22

looks great.

happy smoken.


post #10 of 22

Looks pretty flipping good.  You always post the best pictures!

post #11 of 22

Those look really good! How many hours of smoke did they get, the whole 9? Or did the tube run out before that?

post #12 of 22
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by dirtsailor2003 View Post

Those look really good! How many hours of smoke did they get, the whole 9? Or did the tube run out before that?

I filled the tube about 1/2 full of pellets, and with the smoker set holding at about 150-160°F for most of the smoke, I got about 4.5 hours of steady smoke.

The last 3-3/5 hours no smoke & I upped the temp to 170-175°F (It was getting late and I didn't want to do another 2 in the morning smoker watch. biggrin.gif)

After the 4.5 hours of smoke, I probably could've pulled the links and hot water-bathed the entire load—then i'd have been finished in about 30 minutes.

post #13 of 22

Nice work. I can't wait to get started on my smoke house. Thanks for the post. Very informative.

post #14 of 22
Thread Starter 

Hot Links for breakfast! Why do these always taste better the next day?

Probably because I spent nearly 12 hours making 'em yesterday and can now relax & simply enjoy.

post #15 of 22

Those look great - good job.

post #16 of 22

Nice job!  Thanks for sharing the recipe.

post #17 of 22

Really looking great, Thanks for the recipe. Copied and in my file. CF

post #18 of 22

Beautiful job on the whole thread,



post #19 of 22

Looks great and nice q....

post #20 of 22

great job nice pics hot links are my favorite !

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