The Best Hot Links You Can Try

Hot links are a kind of sausage that originally come from the Southern parts of the US. They are also called red links, and are commonly featured in Cajun cuisine, American barbecue dishes, Louisiana Creole culinary treats, and cooking that is considered “soul food”.

More...

Because of its origins, it’s often called the Louisiana Hot Link, but since it has also become a huge part of Texan cuisine - and has gotten as far out of the south as Chicago, Illinois, it is simply referred to as good old-fashioned hot links.

These are typically made using pork, beef, or both. Hot links are used as one part of larger dishes, like gumbo and jambalaya. Read on to find out my top five hot link brands.

Name

Picture

Quality

Rating

1. Southside Market Original Beef Sausage - Best Overall / Editor’s Pick

Southside Market Original Beef Sausage - 5 Packages

A+

Esposito's Finest Quality Sausage - HOT ITALIAN SAUSAGE - 4 8-link Packages (Net Wt. 6lbs.)

A

Sugar Free Breakfast Sausage Links - Naked Links - Whole30 Approved Multipack (5 packages)

A

4. Evergood Hot Link Sausage - Spicy Hot Option

Evergood Hot Link Sausage 2 Lb

A

Earl Campbell's Red Hot Link Sausage 14 Oz (4 Pack)

A

#1. Southside Market Original Beef Sausage - Best Overall / Editor’s Pick

Southside Market Original Beef Sausage - 5 Packages

Southside Market’s links are called by the old-timers and locals as Hot Guts or sometimes Elgin Hot Sausage. This particular product put the company on the map. The links are made with pure beef in pork casing, spiced with cracked black pepper. The links are a favorite in their local Elgin restaurant, and are made fresh daily. The sausages are ground and packed in-house, so they guarantee freshness, quality, and flavor. This has been their way since 1882.

This product can last for up to a year if frozen, but if you have defrosted them, make sure to consume them within 30 days. One package is good for up to 12 people.

The links are fully smoked. Simply reheat them when you’re ready. Go for an internal temperature of 165°F. A sign that they are ready is when you see the meat’s natural juices start to leak through the casing.

Pros

  • Made fresh in-house daily
  • Uses pure beef and natural pork casings
  • Very flavorful and follows a traditional recipe.

Cons

  • Too expensive for some consumers.
Esposito's Finest Quality Sausage - HOT ITALIAN SAUSAGE - 4 8-link Packages (Net Wt. 6lbs.)

Esposito’s has had more than 85 years in the industry, and they have been dishing out fine quality meat products ever since.

These quality links are some of the best you can ever enjoy. You’ll get four separate packages, with 8 links each. That’s a total of 32, weighing about 6 lbs. The links are hot and spicy, but there is a delicate balance of zest and spice.

They are made using pure lean pork meat, seasoned with a special mix of spices. You can have them pan fried, grilled, or braised. They go great with pasta dishes, or as pizza toppings! Surprise the family with this nice and hearty treat.

Pros

  • Uses pure lean pork
  • You get a nice balance of heat and zest
  • One order can feed a big family.

Cons

  • Too expensive for some consumers
  • No fennel seeds found in the links.
Sugar Free Breakfast Sausage Links - Naked Links - Whole30 Approved Multipack (5 packages)

If you are looking for a sweeter hot link, but don’t want the added sugar, then this one’s the perfect sausage for you. Naked Bacon has origins coming all the way from Germany. 150 years ago, the company’s founder and grandpop, John Kreilich, moved to Missouri. To this day, his original bacon recipe is still being used.

Since its inception, they have added more products other than plain bacon. These sugar-free hot links are a nice example. If you love breakfast sausage but have an aversion for refined sugar and all chemical additives commonly used in processed meats, then here’s some good news. These links are really flavorful and sweet, without using any refined sugars.

Plus, these are also gluten-free, and ideal for the Whole30 diet. They also contain zero nitrites, nitrates, chemicals, and phosphates. This contains five packages of hot links, weighing 8 oz each.

Speaking of morning-time meat, check out my recent post on the best breakfast sausages!

Pros

  • Gluten-free and sugar-free
  • Free from chemicals and additives
  • Naturally sweet hot links.

Cons

  • If you prefer spicy hot links, this sweet variety might not be a good option for you.
Evergood Hot Link Sausage 2 Lb

If you want a hot link that’s actually hot, then Evergood sausages have the right kick for you. These are made with pure beef, and are classically spicy and hot. They are Louisiana favorites because of their natural juiciness and flavorfulness. They are considered by many as the best sausage from the Evergood company.

The company has a rich history, too. They have been out and at it for over 90 years, since the family migrated from Bavaria to the US. They offered traditional European deli meats in the first ever Evergood Pork Store in San Francisco, and the rest, as they say, is history.

They began with one store, one smoke house, and they have gone a long way since then. They now offer all kinds of sausages, from old-world German sausages like Kielbasa and Knockwurst, to more American favorites like Louisiana hot links.

Evergood hot links are naturally smoked. If you love smoked sausages, check out my recent post the top 5 sausages that are made for smoking!

Pros

  • Made with pure beef
  • Naturally smoked and gives a nice spicy kick with every bite
  • More affordable than other links in this list.

Cons

  • No drawbacks reported.
Earl Campbell's Red Hot Link Sausage 14 Oz (4 Pack)

The last one in our list is not the least! It comes from Earl Campbell’s, which have become quite a contender despite being a young brand in the industry. Their meat products have delivered rich and original Texan flavors. Each bite produces zest, spice, and mouthwatering anticipation for the next bite.

They give you just the right amount of kick without overpowering the flavor of the links. In just a few years, they managed to reach nationwide success. Plus, these are more affordable compared to other brands. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t give you high-quality sausages.

One of the most unique things about their links is that they are encased in a red casing which kind of makes them look like hotdogs.

Pros

  • Very affordable hot links
  • Just the right amount of spice
  • Great Texas flavors.

Cons

  • None reported.

How to Cook Hot Links

Hot links on their own are flavorful and a must-try. Professional fans of these amazing sausages have probably tried every conceivable way of enjoying hot links. They are so versatile, there are more than a few ways of having them! You can grill them, roast them, simmer them, or even microwave them!

Here are the steps to try out a variety of ways to cook and enjoy your hot links.

Grilling

  • 1
    Preheat your grill on medium-low.
  • 2
    Place the hot links on the grill. If using coals, make sure the links aren’t directly over them.
  • 3
    Put a lid on.
  • 4
    Grill each side of the hot links for 8-10 minutes. Check on them every few minutes.
  • 5
    Once cooked, serve the hot links. Enjoy them in hot dog buns, slice them up and use them as pizza toppings or add them to your pasta dishes. You can also enjoy them on their own, with your choice of dips or sauces.

Note: If you have leftovers, keep the hot links in a sealed container and store for up to 4 days in the fridge.


Microwaving

  • 1
    Place hot links on a microwave-safe plate. Put a paper towel over the sausage. It’s best to microwave one link at a time to ensure even cooking.
  • 2
    Microwave for 30-35 seconds on High. There would be an audible sizzle, and the link will swell up a bit.
  • 3
    Once done, let it rest for a minute.
  • 4
    Serve and enjoy. Use it as a topping on your favorite rice, pasta dishes, or in a bun. You can also add it to soups and stews.

Note: If you have leftovers, keep the hot links in a sealed container and store for up to 4 days in the fridge.


Roasting

  • 1
    Preheat the oven at 350 °F. Prepare a wire rack and rimmed baking sheet.
  • 2
    If connected, cut the hot links. Strung hot links can be easily separated using scissors or a sharp knife. Make sure to separate all individual links before cooking.
  • 3
    Place them on the wire rack. You can put as many links as you can accommodate on your wire rack. Maintain a minimum space of 2 inches between the links to ensure proper browning.
  • 4
    Roast them for 10 minutes.
  • 5
    Open the oven and use tongs to turn the links on the other side. Roast them for another 10 minutes. Once done, they should be evenly cooked and browned on both sides.
  • 6
    Get them out of the oven and transfer them on a chopping board or serving platter to rest. Make sure you wear oven mitts if you are handling the entire wire rack or baking sheet. Be cautious because there might be sizzling or spattering of sausage grease, which would still be very hot at this point.
  • 7
    Serve the links with a salad on the side. They also go well with potato wedges, fries, or your favorite fruits.

Stovetop Simmering

  • 1
    Take a skillet and place it over the stovetop. Pour 160 ml of water into the skillet. Make sure your electric skillet or pot is big enough to accommodate all the hot links you want to cook. Turn the heat to High. Get the water to a boil.
  • 2
    Add the hot links. Lower the heat. Add as many hot links as you like, gradually adding one after the other. It’s better if you can fit them in a single layer. Once you’ve arranged all the links, turn the heat to Medium, just enough for the water to keep bubbling.
  • 3
    Keep simmering for 5-6 minutes. Pop the lid on and let them cook through.
  • 4
    Take the lid off, then flip the hot links onto their other side using a tong. Then, put the lid back on, and cook for another 5-6 minutes.
  • 5
    Make sure they are browned through. For those who prefer crispy hot links, you can remove the hot water out of the pot. Then, keep cooking the hot links inside the skillet for about 3 minutes. Keep turning them to avoid burning, and to cook all sides evenly.
  • 6
    Transfer them to a serving plate or cutting board. It’s best to enjoy these while they are still hot. You can have them with a hot plate of white rice, some whole wheat bread, or your favorite side of steamed vegetables.

All five products mentioned above are amazing hot links. They all offer something for everyone. Personally, my big winner is Southside Market Original Beef Sausage. But if you are looking for a spicier option, a healthier sausage, or something more affordable, then you can rest assured that there is a hot link brand for you!

Are you looking to make your own sausages at home? Check out my post on the best sausage stuffers to get a headstart!

Sharing is caring! If you loved this read, please share it with friends, and leave your thoughts below! Did we miss a method of cooking hot links? Please let us know below.

Leave a Comment