Derived from traditional Louisiana andouille sausages, hot links are pork, turkey or beef sausages with a spicy kick that comes from red pepper. Hot links are a classic barbecue dish. You don't have to grill them, though, hot links can also be cooked in the oven or on the stovetop.
Cooking on the Grill
The trick to cooking hot links on a barbecue is to cook the sausages over a low heat for a long period. Keep them toward the edge of the barbecue, away from direct heat. The safe internal temperature for a meat sausage is 160 degrees Fahrenheit, and 165 F for sausages made from poultry, but you can remove the hot links from heat before this and they will continue to cook for a few minutes. To speed up cooking on a barbecue, poach the sausages beforehand in water over a medium heat.
Cooking in the Oven
If you don't want to fire up the grill, you can also cook hot links in the oven. Preheat the oven to 300 F, place the sausages in a pan and cook them for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the hot links, drain the pan and pierce them with a fork. Return them to the oven and cook them for a further 10 to 15 minutes. The hot links should darken, but not burst. Check the temperature with an instant-read thermometer if you're cooking raw links.
Cooking on the Stovetop
Even without an oven, it's simple to cook hot links. Add a small amount of oil to the pan and add the hot links, making certain that they are spaced far apart enough not to be touching each other. Cook them over a medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, turning them every minute or two until they're cooked through. Check that they're cooked through with an instant-read thermometer.
Heating Cooked Hot Links
Some packaged hot links are already cooked, meaning you simply have to heat them up before serving them. Grill cooked hot links over a medium-low heat for eight to 10 minutes. Alternatively, wrap them in a moistened paper towel and microwave them on high for 30 to 60 seconds. You can also simmer hot links in a skillet with a small amount of water for 10 to 12 minutes.
Dr James Holloway has been writing about games, geek culture and whisky since 1995. A former editor of "Archaeological Review from Cambridge," he has also written for Fortean Times, Fantasy Flight Games and The Unspeakable Oath. A graduate of Cambridge University, Holloway runs the blog Gonzo History Gaming.