Jalapeno Cheddar Links

Serves: 8 | 4 Hours
Jalapeno Cheddar Links

We first had these at Black’s BBQ in Lockhart, Texas, on one of our early road trips and they blew our tiny minds. Since 1932, Black’s sausages have been hand-tied, hanged and smoked to perfection over oak in their impressive smokers out back. The addition of melting cheese chunks and spicy jalapeños in this sausage recipe will, hopefully, also blow your mind!

  • 2 metres medium-gauge hog sausage skins
  • 1.5kg beef brisket
  • 300g pork back fat
  • 50g flaked sea salt, crushed
  • 1 tbsp cracked black peppercorns
  • 125ml white wine vinegar
  • 500g mild Cheddar cheese, cut into ½cm cubes
  • 80g cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 medium-size fresh jalapeños or green chillies, finely chopped (remove the seeds if you prefer it less spicy)
  • 1 tbsp dried chilli flakes (reduce to 1 tsp if you prefer it less spicy)
  • 200ml lager or beer
  • 100ml sherry vinegar

1. Soak the skins in water to remove the salt while you prepare the sausage meat. Cut the beef and pork back fat into 1cm cubes and freeze for 1 hour. This will make the mincing process much easier.

2. Combine the salt, pepper, vinegar, cheese, garlic, jalapeños and chilli flakes in a large bowl and mix well. Stir in the lager or beer and sherry vinegar.

3. Mince the beef and fat on the coarse setting. Add to the bowl with the cheese mixture and stir thoroughly.

4. Take a small patty of the mixture and place it in a frying pan over a medium heat. When it has cooked, taste it for seasoning. It may need a little more salt or black pepper, so season to taste.

5. Cut off a piece of hog skin about 1 metre long. Attach the sausage-stuffer to the mincer, and roll on the wet skin, leaving a good amount of skin hanging off the end that you can twist into sausages once filled. Don’t pack the skins too tightly, and avoid air gaps where possible.

6. Twist into links about 20cm long, changing twisting directions every other link. Using kitchen scissors, snip the links (it is much easier to smoke and turn individual sausages). Repeat the process with the remaining stuffing-meat and skin. Place the finished sausages in a dish and cover with cling film. Refrigerate the sausages for a few hours.

7. Prepare your barbecue for indirect heat at around 60°C (140°F). Take the sausages out of the fridge and bring to room temperature for about 30 minutes. Then oil the sausages and place them in the smoker for around 3 hours. You want to start the cooking at a lower temperature for about 30 minutes, then increase the smoking temperature to 100°C (212°F) for the rest of the cooking.

8. Test the sausages occasionally with a digital probe thermometer. After around 3 hours, or when the internal temperature of the sausages reaches 72°C (161°F), they are ready. These links are great on their own, and even better while supping a cold beer!

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