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Grilled Hot Links With Chow-Chow

Grilled Hot Links With Chow-Chow 6.000

Scott Suchman for the Washington Post/food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post

Jun 11, 2021

No summer cookout is complete without spicy, grilled red hot links. These sausages are packed with coarsely ground beef and spices with fat that melts to create the juiciest and most flavorful interior. Serve them on grill-toasted buns with a tangy-sweet chow-chow relish made of pickled vegetables and warm spices.

This recipe makes about 4 cups of chow-chow. You'll probably have about 1 cup leftover. Use it on sandwiches, grilled meats, seafood or vegetables, deviled eggs or anywhere you would use pickles or relish.

Active time:2 hours; Total time: 6 hours (including 4 hours of marinating time for the chow-chow)

Make Ahead: The chow-chow’s flavor improves with an overnight rest.

Storage Notes: The chow-chow can be refrigerated for up to 1 month.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 6 servings

  • For the chow-chow
  • 1 large green tomato, chopped (about 12 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup (about 2 1/2 ounces) chopped Vidalia onion
  • 1/2 medium green bell pepper (about 2 1/2 ounces), chopped
  • 1/2 medium red bell pepper (about 2 1/2 ounces), chopped
  • 1 serrano chile pepper, stemmed and chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 2 cups (about 8 ounces) chopped green cabbage
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 3/4 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 3/4 teaspoon yellow mustard powder
  • 2 cups white distilled vinegar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • For the hot links
  • 6 hot links, such as Earl Campbell’s Beef Hot Links or Johnsonville
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon butter, melted
  • 6 hot dog buns

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Make the chow-chow: In a food processor, combine the tomato, onion, green and red bell peppers, the serrano and celery and pulse until finely chopped.

Add the cabbage and salt and pulse 4 to 5 times, or until the cabbage is finely chopped. Add to a nonreactive bowl, such as glass, stir to combine, then cover with plastic wrap or a large plate and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to overnight. Strain the mixture in a colander set over a bowl and reserve the excess liquid.

In a small skillet over medium heat, toast the mustard seed, celery seed, allspice, turmeric and mustard powder, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer to a small bowl.

In a medium saucepan over high heat, combine the vinegar with 1/2 cup of the reserved vegetable liquid and bring to a boil. Stir in the sugar and toasted spices until the sugar dissolves, bring to a boil and cook until the mixture reduces slightly, about 3 minutes.

Add the vegetables and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture returns to a boil, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the heat as needed to maintain a simmer and cook, uncovered, until the mixture reduces by about a third, about 20 minutes.

Remove from the heat and let the chow-chow cool to the touch, about 15 minutes, then transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until needed.

Grill the sausages: If using a gas grill with two burner zones, preheat one zone to medium about 15 minutes before grilling. Leave the other zone off.

If using a charcoal grill, fill a chimney starter with charcoal, light it, and when the coals are red hot, dump them into your grill. Add more charcoal. When all the coals have turned gray but are still very hot, about 15 minutes, your grill should be medium hot. (Use a grill thermometer or test the heat by holding your hand, palm-down about 5 inches from the grill. If you can hold it there for 4 to 5 seconds, the heat should be medium heat, or about 350 degrees.) Then, scoot the coals to one side, leaving the other side empty. Replace the cooking grate. Cover the grill.

Lightly brush or rub the hot links with the oil, place over indirect heat on the grill, cover and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes, flipping halfway through, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of a hot link registers 150 degrees.

Once cooked through, move the links over to the direct-heat side and sear until an instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees, 1 to 2 minutes. Watch them closely, turning them so they don’t burn. Fat may drip into the coals causing flare-ups; be careful. Remove the links from the grill and let them rest for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, brush the buns lightly with butter and place them cut-side down on the grill, directly over the coals, until toasted, a few seconds to 1 minute. Watch the buns closely so they don’t burn.

Add a hotlink to each warm bun, dress with the chow-chow and serve.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from blogger Meiko Temple of

Tested by Aaron Hutcherson and Ann Maloney.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving (because the chow-chow is salted and then drained, accurate nutritional analysis is impossible):

% Daily Values*

Sugar: n/a

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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