Hot Links with Chow Chow

The bright, vinegary Southern relish makes an ideal foil for spicy sausages in this Juneteenth cookout classic.

  • Serves


  • Cook

    1 hour


By Taffy Elrod

Published on June 14, 2024

Hot links, a type of smoky-spicy beef or pork sausage, are a mainstay at Texas barbecues. Purists might turn up their nose at the thought of adding anything to hot links, but chef and The Juneteenth Cookbook co-author Taffy Elrod recommends topping them with chow chow, a crisp, piquant relish of quick-pickled cabbage, cucumber, and bell pepper that’s popular in the South. Any leftover chow chow can be put to work on a cheese board or as a condiment for your favorite sandwich.

Adapted from The Juneteenth Cookbook by Alliah L. Agostini, Taffy Elrod, and Sawyer Cloud. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, becker&mayer kids!, an imprint of The Quarto Group, New York, NY.


For the chow chow:

  • 5 oz. shredded coleslaw mix (2 cups)
  • 1 medium Kirby, hothouse, or other unwaxed cucumber (8 oz.), cut into large pieces
  • 1 small red bell pepper (6 oz.), stemmed, seeded, and cut into large pieces
  • 1 small sweet onion (6 oz.), cut into large pieces
  • 1 small jalapeño, stemmed, seeded, and coarsely chopped (optional)
  • 1½ tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. Louisiana-style hot sauce, such as Trappey’s
  • 2 Tbsp. sweet-hot mustard, such as Honeycup
  • 1 tsp. celery seed
  • 1 tsp. ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

For the hot links:

  • 8 hot link sausages
  • 8 hot dog buns or rolls


Step 1

Make the chow chow: In a food processor, pulse the coleslaw mix until finely chopped, then scrape into a large stainless steel or glass bowl.

Step 2

In the food processor, pulse the cucumber until coarsely chopped. Transfer to the bowl with the coleslaw.

Step 3

In the food processor, pulse the bell pepper, onion, and jalapeño (if desired) until coarsely chopped. Scrape into the bowl with the vegetable mixture. Stir in 1 teaspoon of the salt, then cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8–24 hours. 

Step 4

Drain the vegetables through a fine-mesh strainer, pressing on the vegetables with your hands to squeeze out as much liquid as possible. (If you add the jalapeño, wear disposable gloves to protect your hands.) Set aside to continue draining while you make the dressing.

Step 5

In a separate large bowl, whisk together the sugar, vinegar, hot sauce, mustard, celery seed, turmeric, black pepper, and the remaining salt. Stir in the drained vegetables. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4–24 hours. 

Step 6

Make the hot links: Heat a charcoal or gas grill to medium-low. Grill the hot links, turning occasionally, until they deepen in color and grill marks appear, 7–10 minutes.

Step 7

Grill the hot dog buns, flipping once, until lightly toasted, 1–2 minutes total. Place the hot links in the buns, then top with chow chow. Serve immediately, with any remaining chow chow on the side.

Continue to Next Story

Want more SAVEUR?

Get our favorite recipes, stories, and more delivered to your inbox.