Red Hots, Red Links, Hot Links

Seasoned to Please

Red Hots, Red Links or Hot Links are stuffed sausages with the internal texture of a hot dog, but in a red-dyed casing.  Depending on the brand, they have varying degrees of hotness. My Dad used to get Red Hots, slice to butterfly them open, and fry them on the stove.

He liked to serve them with scrambled eggs, white gravy, and biscuits. We would eat this breakfast plate, sometimes while watching Hee Haw, for supper on Saturday nights.

Red Hots are definitely a southern cuisine, featured commonly as a part of American barbecue, soul food, and Cajun and Louisiana Creole cuisines. They are also consumed in Texas and Chicago. It is usually prepared with pork, beef, or a combination of both. Sometimes chicken is used.

They are often used in jambalaya and gumbo dishes. Red pepper flakes and cayenne pepper are the common ingredients to give them the “Hot”. The Lee Brand was founded by D.L. “Dave” Lee in the early 1930s. built a solid reputation for high-quality products and dependable service. Their Old Timer Hot Links include chicken, pork, water, corn syrup solids, salt, sodium lactate, and flavors including smoke.

A reviewer describes the Old Timer Hot Red Links as “They are not greasy, the meat pulls away from the casing easily after cooking, and they have just the right amount of spice and are very meaty.”

I cooked the last ones I purchased on the grill and they were delicious. Mr. R. L. Zeigler started his meat packing company in Bessemer, Alabama, in 1927. He introduced the first vacuum-packed lunch meat in Alabama. His motto was “Seasoned to Please” which describes the Red Hots to a tee. I found recipes for Red Hots like a Hot Link Hash (with roasted potatoes), Hot Link Sandwich (with mozzerella cheese and tomato) and I would like to try a pasta with Red Hots as the meat.

Author: Doyle

I was born in Atlanta, moved to Alpharetta at 4, lived there for 53 years and moved to Decatur in 2016. I've worked at such places as Richway, North Fulton Medical Center, Management Science America (Computer Tech/Project Manager) and Stacy's Compounding Pharmacy (Pharmacy Tech).

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