Smoky miniature hot dogs bathed in a tangy but sweet barbecue sauce vanish in no time when served to family and friends. Serve the homemade BBQ links hot as an entrée with baked beans, coleslaw and buns or room temperature as an appetizer. BBQ links travel well for a pot luck or picnics especially if heated in a crock pot and toted to the party in that crock pot.

What You'll Need
Ground meat such as pork, chicken or beef
Liquid smoke
Food processor
Sausage stuffer
Link casings
Plastic food wrap
Tomato sauce, juice or ketchup

Line Up the Links
Add the liquid smoke, sweetener and other spices and seasonings to the ground meat. Try cumin, mace, dry mustard, garlic and onion powder, black pepper, salt, ground celery seed or coriander. Add in paprika for a nice red color. Toss in the sweetener such as white or brown sugar.

Stir well to combine all the ingredients. Make in smaller batches if necessary, rather than in one large batch.

Emulsify the meat in a food processor until it becomes a paste. If you've ever looked at the inside of a BBQ link you'd see it's homogenous. Add ice water if the mixture becomes too thick. You're looking for the consistency of baby food meat. Scrape down the sides of the processor often. You can't pick out any ingredients. Again work in batches, if necessary, to thoroughly blend the meats with the seasonings.

Attach the link casings to the sausage stuffer. Add the meat mixture and fill the casings. Twist the casings every 3 inches so tie off the links. You could also use plastic food wrap instead of the sausage stuffer and casing. Place a 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch cylinder of emulsified meat at one end of a sheet of plastic about an inch from the edge. Roll the cylinder in the plastic to wrap it tightly. Tie the ends with of thread or string at each end.

Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Immerse the links into the water. Simmer 20 minutes. Insert a meat thermometer into one of the links. It should read 160 degrees Fahrenheit for pork and beef, 165 F for poultry. Fish the links out of the water. Cut the casings between each link. If you used the plastic wrap method, open the long sausage and cut into 3-inch long links.

Time for a Barbecue Bath
Chop the onions, shallots or leeks finely. Chop the green, red or orange sweet peppers as well. If you like your barbecue on the spicy side, add in a chopped jalapeno pepper or red pepper flakes. Saute until the vegetables are soft but not brown, about 5 minutes on medium heat.

Combine your choice of tomato sauce, tomato juice, or ketchup with a good splash of liquid smoke. Add in a sweetener such as honey, brown sugar or maple syrup. Bring to a simmer. Reduce by half if you used tomato juice.

Dee Power is the author of several business books. While she may be an expert in business her passion is food. Find more cooking tips and tricks at her blog bake or broil pork sausage and Easy Gourmet Grilling

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