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#1
Posted February 8th 2010, 8:39pm
LTHers, I need help. I moved from Chicago to NYC a couple of years ago, and despite looking high and low, there's no place in the city that serves Chicago style hot links (let alone any bbq item as good as Honey-1, Uncle Johns, or Barbara Anne's). Faced with that lack of options, I figured the only way to get them was to make them myself. I have used the sausage maker attachment for my Kitchen Aid to make some sausages before, but I figured I should check with the experts to get the right, coarse-ground, sage-y flavor I miss so much.

Does anyone have any tips or recipes? Which cut of pork do you think I should use? Any spices (other than the obvious sage, pepper, fennel and chilis) that really get the hot link where it needs to be? Help me LTH Forum, you're my only hope.

Thanks for the help.
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#2
Posted February 8th 2010, 8:42pm
the folks on this site are serious about sausage and bbq, maybe they can help

http://www.smokingmeatforums.com
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#3
Posted February 9th 2010, 12:20am
StuFox wrote:Does anyone have any tips or recipes? Which cut of pork do you think I should use? Any spices (other than the obvious sage, pepper, fennel and chilis) that really get the hot link where it needs to be? Help me LTH Forum, you're my only hope.


I don't recall fennel being in any of the Chicago-style hot links I've had. That's more of an Italian-sausage kind of thing. But Chicago hot links are all over the place in terms of spicing, so I wouldn't be surprised if somebody makes them with fennel. I'd use a nice Boston butt with a decent fat cap on it for the cut of meat. I've never made my own hot links (although now this really makes me want to), but I would start with sage & pepper flakes as my main flavor notes, and then round it out with salt, black pepper, paprika, a pinch of cloves, and a little bit of allspice. Maybe some onion and garlic powder, too. So, basically, we're looking at a tarted up hot breakfast sausage recipe. I'm curious to hear what others have to say.
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#4
Posted February 9th 2010, 1:17am
Binko wrote:So, basically, we're looking at a tarted up hot breakfast sausage recipe..

Nicely put.

I'd start with a standard sage breakfast sausage recipe, but use a larger grind, add garlic/onion powder, hot pepper flakes/cayenne and a little clove, no fennel. Stuff into the same size casing you would use for Italian or Polish sausage and work from there. It may take you 4-5 tries to get the result you wish, but I'd guess even the near misses will be tasty.

Enjoy,
Gary
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#5
Posted February 9th 2010, 9:40am
Thanks everyone for your input. I'll post some pics and notes when I finally get to this. Now that football's out of the way, I can actually use my Sunday's for something productive. Like making encased meat products.
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#6
Posted July 29th 2012, 7:13am
Just wanted to update this, as I came across a Chicago hot link recipe the other day while surfing around on Foodnetwork.com of all places:

Link to recipe

The recipe is originally from the book America's Best BBQ: 100 Recipes from America's Best Smokehouses, Pits, Shacks, Rib Joints, Roadhouses, and Restaurants by Ardie Davis and Paul Kirk. It sounds to me like the recipe is supposed to a replication of Barbara Ann's links. Their recipe does have fennel in addition to the sage. I'm surprised, as I don't remember fennel in Barbara Ann's links, but I'll pay closer attention to them next time. Looking at a picture of a cross-section of their links, it looks like I may have been wrong about the fennel.
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#7
Posted July 29th 2012, 10:10am
My experience with Chicago hot links is limited, but I'd say there are a couple hints: Texas uses knockwurst, but that tends to be a smoother finer grind. Chicago stuff is probably closer to a polish sausage.
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