While working on CHOW’s Summer 2008 Gift Guide, my colleague Michele received some samples of fresh Elgin hot sausage from Southside Market & Barbecue in Elgin, Texas. I took some home to cook over the weekend, and loved the way the sausages stood up to the high heat of grilling. Their casing stayed crisp and snappy, and their flavor—a little sweet and a little spicy—was complemented by a nice smokiness. They’re a tad on the greasy side, which made them easier to work with on the grill: I easily rendered some of the fat out to get them crispy. I thought they needed a bit more heat to live up to their nickname of “Elgin Hot Guts,” but overall they were a top-notch grilling sausage.

Elgin Hot Sausage, $27.99 for five pounds

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