Sunday, January 18, 2009

Smoked Beef Sausages - Lockhart, Texas Style

Lockhart Smoked Beef Sausages

Lockhart, Texas is a small town outside of Austin. There isn't much there - except for pretty much the best beef barbecue joints anywhere. We visited Lockhart on our road trip this past summer, and fell head-over-heels for the barbecue at Kreuz Market. In addition to some life-altering brisket, they did some amazing smoked beef sausages.

Months later, memories of those sausages still lingered in our minds. We decided we needed to try to make some.

Lockhart Smoked Beef Sausages

Because beef on its own is generally too lean to produce a nice, juicy sausage, some pork is added to the mix. We did a ratio of about 85% beef (chuck) to 15% pork (the fattiest bits of a shoulder).

Lockhart Smoked Beef Sausages

After grinding, the meat was seasoned simply: salt, black pepper and a bit of cayenne.

Here are the stuffed links after they had dried for a bit and were ready to go on the smoker:

Lockhart Smoked Beef Sausages

We smoked them over oak for an hour at 235° to an internal temperature around 160°.

Lockhart Smoked Beef Sausages

Hot out of the smoker (which is how they serve them in Lockhart), they were just perfect - smokey, juicy and full of beef flavor.

Lockhart Smoked Beef Sausages

When we re-cooked leftover sausages they were a little dry - probably having to do with the fat melting, then congealing and then melting again. For sausages that are not going to be eaten immediately, it might make sense to keep the temperature lower to avoid rendering the fat during the first cook on the smoker.

On the other hand, it's such a quick cook that you could always just smoke them fresh every time, guaranteeing a hot, juicy link - yum!

For more details on making your own sausages, check out our "how-to" and basic Italian sausage recipe here: Making Sausage. For more smoked sausage goodness, have a look at our Smoked Andouille.

25 comments:

  1. Gorgeous...I'm always captured by those who make their own sausages, cure meats, etc...an art.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nice! Living here in Austin, I've got lots to choose from, but my recent acquisition of a house(that has a decent-size kitchen), a smoker, a copy of 'Charcuterie', some pork belly to make bacon with, makes me think I can make some sausage too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Make some decent beef brisket on an old pig roaster,but the hot link I had in N.Texas keep lingering ,,,what kind of casings do I need &where to purchase!help I'm in central Illinois

      Delete
  3. Peter - thanks! It is definitely a fun hobby.

    Frank - definitely give sausage-making a try. And good luck with the bacon!

    ReplyDelete
  4. blimey, these look awesome! great job. I have to try making sausage.

    ReplyDelete
  5. just curious, what size WSM did you get? I'm looking to pick one up, but not sure if I should get the bigger model. Mostly cooking for small (i.e. less than 10) groups.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Matt - thanks! Sausage-making is surprisingly easy, and well worth the effort.

    Rhea - we have the 18 1/2 inch smoker and it has been plenty big enough for us. We've done three good-sized slabs of ribs on it at one time.

    ReplyDelete
  7. these look amazing! we just started making our own sausage and now i'm hooked. i'll have to remember this one when i bust out the casings again.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Wow those look incredible! Even more impressive that you started from whole slabs of meat. I have friends out in Austin so will definitely have to make a trip out to Lockhart the next time I'm out there!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Marc - definitely don't miss Lockhart. It is a true beef barbecue heaven.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Where do you get your wood in San Diego? I've seen you guys mention pecan and many other woods. I live in the area and want to expand my options. Great blog, by the way. Keep it up.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi Andy, Unfortunately we haven't found any locally grown options for smoke wood, so I purchase most of it from Barbeques Galore on Clairemont Mesa Blvd. It's not cheap, but they have a good selection (Pecan, Alder, Apple, Oak, Cherry, etc). And recently I've found that Siesel's Meats (just off Morena Blvd.) carries nice Apple and Oak chunks.

    ReplyDelete
  12. This is a great blog, thank you for posting everything!
    I have a Kitchen Aid mixer with grinding attachment and it seems to clog a lot. My meat never looks like that when it comes through. I do a pretty good job of cutting out the connective tissue, etc. but it still clogs. Do you refrigerate or lightly freeze your meat before grinding? Also, do you season the meat before or after grinding? I've heard arguments for both ways.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi Cameron, Glad you enjoy the blog.

    I don't freeze the meat before grinding, but I do make sure it's kept cold (back into the refrigerator between steps). I haven't really had trouble with clogging, although really lean meats can give me a really fine, wet, messy grind (I try to avoid really lean meats!).

    One thing that has helped is the shape of the chunks prior to grinding: I cut the meat into finger-sized pieces -- about 2 to 3 inches long and 3/4 inch thick.

    As for seasoning, I've done both - before and after. I think I prefer doing it before, but it depends on if we're making more than one type of sausage from a batch of ground meat. If so, I do it after grinding.

    Cheers. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi Sherry,
    Thank you for the response. I made 8#'s of venison sausage last night and it turned out better than any I have made before. I cut the meat into thin strips, as you suggested, and cooled the meat in the fridge before grinding. I also let the venison dry on a baking rack in the fridge for 24 hours prior to slicing. It got a lot of the blood out and made the meat less mushy when it came out of the grinder. After slicing the meat, I put it all in a large bowl and seasoned it before placing it back in the fridge to cool back down. This way I did not have to season the ground meat and risk turning it into mush. Thanks for all of your advice on the blog!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hi Cameron,
    Thanks for letting us know how things worked out. Venison is definitely a lean meat. Letting it dry a bit before grinding was a great idea! I'll keep that in mind if I ever try to make a lower fat sausage. Cheers. :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Do you have any homemade hotdog recipe?

    ReplyDelete
  17. Depends what you mean by "hot dog". We've been playing with making our own bratwurst (both smoked and unsmoked) with some success. We haven't finalized a recipe yet, though.

    ReplyDelete
  18. We have tried BBQ at many places in Texas. The Salt Lick in Driftwood and Round Rock are our favorites. We love their sausage.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Any thoughts on spicing? In Lockhart I loved Smittys Market for the purity of the sausage while Kreuz had a more nuanced tang as if there had been some sage or other earthy spice added.

    ReplyDelete
  20. We've only tried what we described above - salt, black pepper and a bit of cayenne.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Wow this is fantastic looking! Thanks. what ratio of salt to black pepper did you use per pound of meat? when you say a bit of cayenne, do you have a set recipe? Or do you play it by ear with the spices?

    ReplyDelete
  22. Thanks jlondon! We don't have a set recipe, but as a general rule I use a little over 1 teaspoon of kosher salt per pound of meat (that's about 6 or 7 grams) and a little less than 1 teaspoon of cracked black pepper per pound. These sausages get most of their kick from the pepper, so it really is just a bit of cayenne (eg only 1/2 teaspoon in a 7 pound batch).

    ReplyDelete
  23. In response to a comment asking about sausage casings that didn't publish properly:

    We use natural hog casings that we get from our local butcher. If you can't find a local source, you can get them online at Butcher & Packer.

    ReplyDelete
  24. a litte late as a response but Smittys and Kreuzs use the same recipe for sausage. In taste tests, no one could tell them apart. Also you would want to use Post Oak for the main BBQ Belt flavor, Saltlick uses live oak but that is why the mostly just tourists go there.

    ReplyDelete