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Hot link sausage on a plate with sides

How to Make Texas Smoked Hot Link Sausages: Thermal Tips and Recipe

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Texas-style hot links, adapted from Chuds BBQ and GirlsCanGrill


  • 3 lb lean beef (eye of round is perfect)
  • 1 lb beef fat (not rendered), such as brisket trimmings
  • 40 g salt
  • 5 g Prague powder #1 curing salt (the ratio is 17 g cure per 15 lb meat; you can work out your needs based on your batch size)
  • 6 g paprika
  • 8g cayenne pepper
  • 5 g mustard powder
  • 7 g garlic powder
  • 5 g onion powder
  • 25 g ground black pepper
  • 2 g ground mace
  • 1 ½ C cold water
  • 90 g dry milk powder
  • Hog casings


  • Cube and chill the beef and beef fat, then chill them in the freezer for about 30 minutes, alongside your grinder apparatus.
  • Run the meat through the medium plate of your grinder into a bowl set into a larger bowl of ice.

Grinding the beef

  • Mix the seasonings and cure together in a small bowl.
  • Put the meat into the bowl of a stand mixer, and sprinkle on the cure/seasoning mix. Make sure the meat is still below 40°F (4°C).
  • Mix the meat with the paddle attachment, adding the water as you go, until it forms a sticky, fibrous mass that clings to the walls of the mixer and the paddle.

The sausage mixed until sticky

  • Stuff the meat into casings (not too tight or they will burst!) and twist it into links. Pop any bubbles in the casings with your Thermapen.

twisting links

  • Allow the links to sit, uncovered in the refrigerator overnight to cure and dry out just a little.
  • The next day, preheat your smoker to 180°F (82°C). Set up an air probe attached to your Smoke X2 to monitor the temperature.
  • Put the sausages in the smoker, insert a needle probe into one of them, and close the lid. Set the high-temp alarm on your Smoke X2 meat channel to 160°F (71°C).

Sausages, raw, on a smoker

  • Smoke the sausages until the high-temp alarm sounds on your meat channel. It should take a few hours.
  • Verify the internal temperature with your Thermapen ONE.
  • If saving the sausages for later, plunge them into an ice bath to chill and stop cooking. 

Putting links in an ice bath

  • Otherwise, dig in and enjoy!

Close up of hot link sausages