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Texan Jalapeno Sausage - Take 1


Meat Mopper
OTBS Member
Joined Sep 14, 2006
I recently posted that I had gone to Houston, TX and fell in love with a jalapeno cheddar sausage there.  Here is a pic of what I am talking about (along with some brisket).

I decided that my goal this summer was to do my best to emulate this sausage back at home.  I've never really made sausage before, so this was a dual learning experience.  Here we go!

Day 1

First, I put all the bowls I thought I might use into the fridge for a few hours.

I then put an ice-water mixture into one bowl, then placed the other bowl into that so as I cut up the pork shoulder it I could place the pieces into a cold bowl.

Then I cut up the fatback (recipe to follow at the end).

I set this into the freezer to firm up (about 30 minutes) before grinding.

I worked with two sets of ice-water setups to try to keep everything as cold as possible.

Here's the course-ground meat/fat.

Spices were measured out.

Fry test to make sure I liked the spice levels.  I did, so it all went into the fridge overnight so that the cure would work a little magic.

Day 2 

The next day, after getting home from work, I started by soaking the casings.  I did one water change, and with the second water I added a little vinegar to soften them up even more.

While they were soaking, I ran the sausage mixture through the smaller grind.  On the left is the second (finer) grind, on the right is just the course grind.

While those were setting back up in the fridge, I prepped the cheddar and jalapeno.

All mixed up and ready for stuffing!

I got to use my new LEM 5 pound stuffer...that thing is worth every penny!

Twisted into links.

The first casing took most of the sausage, I did have to add a second casing to finish off the batch.

Into the smoker!

I ran it at 110 for one hour without smoke to dry off the casings (had an IT of 80 at the end of that hour).  For the second hour I bumped it up to 140 and started smoking with hickory (had an IT of 100 at the end).  Then it was bumped to 160 for the third hour (IT of 140 at the end of that hour).   Finally, for the last hour (really only 45 minutes) the smoker was bumped up to 175 until the sausages had an IT of 154.  Then they were pulled from the smoker.  Here is what they looked like before heading to the ice water bath.

Into the water bath they went! 

I then set them out to "bloom" for a couple of hours.

Here they are after about 3 hours of blooming...they weren't getting much darker, and besides, I was already pretty pleased with their color, so I called it done.

Cut apart.

Here's what the insides looked like.  

Overall, I am pretty happy.  From what I can remember, the one I had in Texas had a little more of a beef flavor, even though on the menu it says it is a pork sausage.  I'll just have to keep tinkering.

Here is the recipe I was using, which I cut in half.

4 lbs pork shoulder

1 lb fatback

6 diced jalapenos

4 oz extra sharp cheddar (could not readily find high temperature cheddar)

5 tsp salt

4 tsp brown sugar

2.5 tsp black pepper

1 T paprika

1.5 tsp granulated garlic

1 tsp cure #1

1.5 tsp oregano

As this was my first sausage, please critique so that I can get better!


Smoke Blower
Joined May 6, 2011
Looks pretty good to me!!!  I'm no expert on sausage making...just finished my second attempt over the weekend (pics will come), but I would recommend a pin or needle to pop out the air bubbles in the casings.  Plus...no blowouts is always a plus!  Great job!


Joined Jun 1, 2011
That looks AMAZING! Copying the recipe - I want to try it with turkey, instead of pork. Thanks for sharing this!


Master of the Pit
Joined May 12, 2013
Looks good enough to me!  If that's the first try, may be hard to improve on that.  Most Tx. sausage is a mix of beef and pork.  About twice as much pork to beef.  Use something like chuck roast for some beef fat.  Depending where you get it, Tx. sausage can be a little German, a little Polish, a little Italian or a mix of all three.  So for that amount of meat try 1tsp. fennel ( ground ) and 1tsp. marjoram in your next batch.  Also, I doubt it was done this way but for a Tx. Hill Country flavor try using a little oak with mostly pecan for the smoke if you can get it.  Eaten an awful lot of Tx. sausage ( LOVE THE STUFF ) so just a couple variations for you to try.  I can't get anything like it here in England so I am trying to develop my own recipe by combining several different ones.  Will be posting when I get it right.  Do you ship internationally?  Keep Smokin!


Smoking Guru
SMF Premier Member
Joined Mar 10, 2010
Looks like you did your homework...Looks great !


Joined Jun 16, 2009
That looks delicious! Making your own sausage is preferable over going to Houston any day!


Master of the Pit
Joined Oct 25, 2011
For a first attempt, it looks like a complete success!  Those actually look as good as some found locally here in Houston.   GREAT WORK!!! 


Joined Aug 12, 2008
What you made looks great. If you are cooking at temps above 180 degrees, you won't need the cure. You can treat as you would fresh sausage and it will be great. You can also add ground chuck to it, I would do an amount equal to the total pork and fat. Experiment with your spices that you enjoy, and add a little binder to it to help retain moisture, non fat dry milk works. Looks like you've got a great start going, just continue with your flavor profile. Good Luck.


Joined May 24, 2013
The pork shoulder itself should have enough fat content, try eliminating the backfat.and choose great looking shoulders, or pork butts.

Looks great!


Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
Joined Feb 6, 2013
Nothing but compliments Sir!!!! I'm taking down that recipe. I know it may be too hot for my wife but that 5 pounds will go real nice for me and some at deer camp. One thing i use in all my smoked and fresh sausage is non fat powderd dry milk as a binder. One cup per 5 pounds of meat mix. Just personal preference. Thanks for the recipe as well. Did you leave the seeds in the mix from the peppers? Thanks.  Reinhard
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Joined May 13, 2013
Overall, I am pretty happy.  From what I can remember, the one I had in Texas had a little more of a beef flavor, even though on the menu it says it is a pork sausage.  I'll just have to keep tinkering.

Here is the recipe I was using, which I cut in half.

4 lbs pork shoulder

1 lb fatback
Texas = beef ....I live in Alberta. Beef is not an ingredient it's a staple. We don't add beef to stuff we add stuff to beef..

Try some beef fat with your fatback...Won't change your texture...

They look great..Turned out real nice...



Joined Oct 16, 2012
Critique? I'm copy cattin you ALL THE WAY!!!! Thanks for sharing the pics, AND the recipe.


Sausage maker
Staff member
OTBS Member
Group Lead
Joined Apr 28, 2010
As this was my first sausage, please critique so that I can get better!
Very nice sausage for your first time 
.............         I like the recipe except one thing.. You asked for it..................Fresh garlic next time...........

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