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Hot Guts

PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2014 12:37 pm
by The Idiot

Texas Hot Guts are a sausage of legendary standing. Originating in Elgin, Texas, the actual recipe is a closely guarded secret, and as imitations spring up, so their recipes are also closely guarded secrets. Now, here’s the thing: I am on a mission to create what is – for me – the perfect Texas Hot Gut. Do I care if it’s an exact replica of the Elgin version? No, I do not, as long as it works for me. Do I care if it lacks that authentic Texan ‘thing’? No, I do not, as long as it works for me. Do I care if anyone knows my recipe?

I’ll bet a fiddle of gold against your soul that the original Elgin Hot Guts weren’t original. Even since man has been cutting up flesh and stuffing it into the innards of animals, all ‘originality’ in the sausage world has been a misnomer. There were beef sausages, with chilli, before Elgin even existed, and there will be beef sausages with chilli until the end of time.

That said, I think this recipe is pretty good, even if I say so myself (which I do, and that’s all that matters to me).

First off, let’s talk beef. I tend to use a mixture of chuck steak and either brisket tail or short ribs. Both of the latter have a decent proportion of fat, so I tend to use whichever I have the most of. I get my beef on the bone, hung from 28 days right up to 40 days. This is because I tend to prefer well aged beef for smoking, and the leftovers go into the Texas Hot Guts. I tend to use around 60/40 ratio in favour of the fattier cuts.

Now, I’ve heard some people talk about adding pork fat, but for me pork fat – whilst tasty – is too soft for these sausages. I prefer the heavier steakier taste of beef fat, which when slow smoked has a depth that pork fat simply cannot touch. If you want to use pork fat (and why would you) increase the amount of chuck steak, or use all chuck steak and pork fat to a 70/30 ratio.

Typically, making Hot Guts is a five day process. On day one I make the chipotle sauce and the meat mix, on day two it rests in the fridge, and on day three it goes into the casings. On day four it rests again, and on day five it gets hot smoked. If you’re an organised control freak type person, you could do some of the steps in advance, or cut down on the resting, but what’s the point of making sausages if you’re not going to do it properly?

Measurements are to be scaled, and are quoted per 1kg of beef (600g fatty brisket tail or short ribs, 400g chuck steak).

Chipotle Sauce
For each 1kg of beef you will require:
40g Dried Chipotles
1 Tbsp Cider Vinegar
2 Cloves Garlic
1/2 a Largish Shallot
Pinch of Brown Sugar

To make the sauce, take the dried chipotles and remove the seeds. Soften the flesh in a small amount of warm water, and while that happens put the seeds into a grinder and whizz the living shit out of them. When the chipotle flesh is soft, chuck it in a food processor with the ground seeds, the cider vinegar, a couple of garlic, shallot and brown sugar. Now fire up the processor and use enough of the water the chipotles soaked in to make a decent paste.

Hot Guts
For each 1kg of beef you will require:
The requisite amount of chipotle sauce
100ml of beer (I use homebrewed IPA, but what ever you like; girls can use red wine)
10g coarse salt
10g brown sugar
2.5g ground black pepper
1 tsp Thyme
2 cloves garlic
10g English Mustard

Now, here’s a contentious point! Some reports of Texas Hot Guts mention the use of tripe. Others don’t. A straw poll of Texans reveals around two thirds against tripe and one third for it. In truth, I asked three Texans; they’re not too common in the South East of England! I made one batch without tripe, and another included 200g of tripe per kilo of meat. I prefer it with the tripe. The taste isn’t changed, but it has a better texture in my opinion, and that’s all that counts. If you are anti-tripe, just omit it. That said, it’ll be better if you include it!

Cut the beef up and mince on a coarse plate. Make sure it’s cold, even partly frozen, when you mince it or the fat might smear.

Next add the chipotle sauce, beer, coarse salt, brown sugar, ground black pepper, thyme, garlic and mustard.

Now, mix it all up, by hand – you don’t want too much washing up, plus only freaks mix meat with utensils – and bang it into the fridge. You can cover it, or leave it to make the whole fridge smell of meat and chilli. I do the latter.

Leave it to rest for a day, and then make yourself a patty and fry it off. The final product is slow smoked, so this will only let you check the general seasoning. It will also be spicier than the final product. Then stuff the mixture into hog casings using your preferred stuffing method. Place the sausages on a rack, or hang them – you want them to dry – and back into the fridge they go.

Once dried, I hot smoke mine at around 94C (200F) for two to two and one half hours. I tend to use Mesquite, although Oak has also been recommended. If when you cut into them a pool of orange grease appears, you’re ready to eat!

On my next batch I’m going to try adding some grated fresh horseradish too! I’ll probably go for around 20g per kilo.

Re: Hot Guts

PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2014 3:13 pm
by Wunderdave
This sounds amazing. Nice post.

Re: Hot Guts

PostPosted: Sat Oct 04, 2014 6:45 am
by badjak
That sounds good!

I like your post :D , especially the part about the fridge having this nice meaty smell as that's what happens when I make sausages.......

Re: Hot Guts

PostPosted: Sat Oct 04, 2014 10:22 am
by quietwatersfarm
Great post Idiot (no offence meant :) )

Your recipe is very close to our 'Elgins Marvels'. I use a little more mustard, bone marrow and lamb casings but otherwise similar and a great link.

Having said that even recipes that are technically similar will always produce a different result and this is what I love about this craft, and your point about originality. Everything every sausagemaker ever does is original, because 'you' made will never be quite the same as anything that went before or that which someone else made.


Re: Hot Guts

PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2014 7:11 am
by The Idiot
I did a batch with bone marrow, but for me it didn't add much, and I prefer bone marrow roasted and spread on toast!

Re: Hot Guts

PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2014 11:33 am
by wheels
Superb post...

...and superbly written as well. Anything but your screen-name I think.

I really look forward to reading more of your exploits.


Re: Hot Guts

PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2014 8:00 pm
by johngaltsmotor
Ok, the recipe has me intrigued. My only question: what is the normal serving method? You say to smoke them... then? Eaten hot of the smoker? On a bun like a Texas bratwurst? Or cooled and sliced like pepperoni? How do you typically store them.
Not that it truly matters, but if I'm going to take the time to make them I want to make sure I'm getting the full authentic experience. :-D

Re: Hot Guts

PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2014 5:22 am
by The Idiot
I eat them hot off the smoker with some smoked beans and a rough chopped coleslaw which includes horseradish!

You might also want something to mop up the grease!

Oh, and some good hoppy IPA!