When traveling we look for the unique, interesting and out of the way places and foods. Think and act like a local is our motto. So we are in east Texas and everyone says “you have to try hot links”. Being from south Louisiana we are familiar with hot and are always open for new experiences. Well this one was different.
First off the links are not hot; they are served with hot sauce. We tried two different links and each had their own variation of hot sauce. So what are hot links? Basically it is a small sausage. History says the recipe was brought to East Texas by Charlie Hasselback, a German butcher, and today they are known as Pittsburg Hot Links.
Now we lived in Germany for three years and have never met a German sausage we didn’t like. We’re also from South Louisiana with its many different sausages. But the Pittsburg Hot Links were different, somewhat greasy with a completely different taste — not our favorite by a long shot. Even the hot sauce was not to our liking. The restaurant serves a wide variety of food items from sandwiches to catfish plates to hot links. Of course, our reason for being there was hot links and that is what we ordered along with cole slaw and potato salad. The cole slaw was a complement to the links and for Laurie a saving side dish.
Friends said, you have to go to Gilmer and try Doc’s, they are better. So off we go to Gilmer. Doc’s is interesting in that links is what you go for. The only other item on the menu was chili. The restaurant is in one of the oldest buildings in Gilmer. There is a large U shaped bar wrapping around the restaurant. Take a seat and order – one link or as many as you like. We tried again. The links were basically the same yet the hot sauce was much better.
Originally all hot links were made from the same basic recipe – ground beef cheek, tongue meat and spices stuffed into a casing and tied off every three inches or so. The links we tried were both somewhat greasy. Traditionally they are served with saltine crackers. Our opinion, you need the crackers to help with the grease and taste.
This combination must be an acquired taste, which we have not yet acquired. Would we try them again? Probably. We don’t like to admit defeat…so another east Texas town, another hot link attempt. Saga to be continued….maybe.