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Need Hot Link help please!

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hey guys, I tried my first go at hot links. I used a pretty standard recipe with cure #1 and smoked at 150-185 for about 2 hours, until the IT was ~154. These guys have a great personality because they are butt ugly, but taste so delicious. Any insight as to why they came out not looking like hot links? I laid them flat on racks as opposed to hanging them, and I used cherry wood. Maybe not enought cayenne? I guess I am not real certain what turns the links that nice red color. Here is the recipe, any help/insight is much appreciated. Thanks!


-2 pounds lean beef

-2 pounds pork shoulder

-1 pound pork fat back


-1 teaspoon curing salt #1

-2 teaspoons coriander

-2 teaspoons black pepper

-3 allspice berries ground up

-2 tablespoons ground chili flakes

-2 tablespoons sea salt

-2 teaspoons cayenne

-3 tablespoons minced garlic

-1 cup of ice water


Ground everything up. Stuffed it, let it sit overnight. Smoked as stated above.


This picture is what it looked like after they were smoked and put in an ice bath..




Here is the inside, juicy and flavorful, so at least I have that.


Edited by TheSneakyZebra - 4/6/14 at 5:01pm
post #2 of 11
Next batch, try holding the links in the refer 24 hours to dry the casings a bit... in the smoker at 110 F for a few hours to warm up and dry some more.... smoke at 110 for several hours to develop the smoke flavor and color... then poach or steam at 160 ish to finish cooking... and hold at that temp for 15 minutes or so.... Ice bath if you want the casings to remain smooth.... no ice if you want them to shrivel....

Won't change the flavor much but maybe the appearance you are looking for....

Smoking sausage at 150-185 may be a little warm.... fat starts to melt pretty good... Not exactly sure what "look" you are trying to achieve...
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks. I am used to hot links having a very deep red color to them once they are smoked. I appreciate the advice, will note for next batch.

post #4 of 11

That deep read color comes from the addition of Paprika.  You may want to add a tablespoon to your next batch.  Also, do a fry test before stuffing to make sure the flavor profile is what you are looking for. 


Hope that helps.



post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks diesel. I figured it was a lack of Paprika, I thought the cayenne would do the trick, guess not. I will try a tablespoon to the next batch. I did a taster before stuffing, and the flavor was great, the flavor is still great, just missing that beautiful hot link color. I will report back when I get around to making another batch. Thanks again!

post #6 of 11

I have a question about making hot links. I have a pork should roast I got from costco that I want to use for hot links. Do I trim the fat cap off or keep it?

post #7 of 11

Use it, fat adds flavour!

post #8 of 11


Use the fat.  I only trim stuff off that isn't appealing.  But most of the time there isn't anything that bad on them.

post #9 of 11

The fat stays then. :) 


Although I might not ending using that pork roast, I just noticed that country style pork ribs are on sale. I think I will go pick those up and use those for the hot links. 

post #10 of 11

Here's a great recipe to try,  Notice the 6 Tablespoons of Paprika.  That help get the red color you want.'s%20Super.pdf

post #11 of 11

pork shoulder is gr8nfor sausage. however, run your fingers over the surface to feel for small bones still attached to the underside of the shoulder.


i have a hot link recipe that i developed, but i'm going to workup another one, going to be equal weights brisket and pork shoulder, paprika, cayenne, fresh garlic, blk pepper, crushed newmexico red chile, salt

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