This recipe for Chow Chow and Grilled Hotlinks is perfect for summer cookouts especially Juneteenth. Be prepared to pucker up to these juicy, red sausage links packed with spiced ground beef and served with a tangy-sweet chow-chow relish. Follow this recipe guide for easy preparation whether you are indoor or outdoor grilling.

illustration of bbq grill with Juneteenth Cookout

Join me in celebrating Juneteenth by checking out the list of contributors to the 2021 Juneteenth Virtual Cookout down below. 40+ black creators contributed to this collaborative menu as a Freedom Day tribute. Juneteenth marks our country’s second independence day, the final emancipation of those enslaved in the US back in announced in 1865. Join in, share, and help us continue the legacy of celebrating progress. Additionally, you can easily follow each participant by using the hashtag #JuneteenthCookout2021 on Instagram.

Earl Campbell's all beef hot links for the Juneteenth Cookout

Hotlinks and Juneteenth go hand and hand. Food historians note that the earliest celebrations of the holiday included grand outdoor barbecues alongside communal prayer, parades, festivals, and reading of the Emancipation Proclamation. Like many African American celebrations, food is at the cornerstone and is as integral to the belly as it is to the homage of festivities.

Juneteenth hot links on the grill

What is Juneteenth?

Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States. The holiday’s name, Juneteenth was derived from the date June Nineteenth. That day in 1865, Major General Gordon Granger led the Union soldiers into Galveston, Texas with news that the last 250,000+ enslaved were free, almost two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. Despite efforts to suppress the news, liberation triumphed and newly freed black Texans began celebrating this long-awaited victory just a year later with what is now known as Juneteeth. And for over 155 years the tradition has spread to black communities across the country.

Meiko & Kenneth in the kitchen will family in front of a large spread of Juneteenth foods.

Photo by Britney Conerly for

How to celebrate Juneteenth

While historically Juneteenth has been celebrated with community activities like outdoor BBQs, parades, rodeos, pageants, festivals, church prayer, and singing spirituals. For many the holiday has been a recent pandemic discovery, limiting participation in the traditional activity. Whether you are alone, with a small group, or beyond here are a few ways that you can celebrate Juneteenth this year:

However, you are able to celebrate, just make sure that you do and share it. Juneteenth is not just about Black history but American history and should be celebrated by all who believe in the value of freedom and equality.

This year I’m celebrating with a small group of family and friends, with plenty of red drink, gratitude in tow, and ample tombstones to pass out at the spades table.

fat from hot links dripping on the grills fire

Hotlinks are spicy red sausages featured commonly in African American cuisine and a staple at BBQs. Hotlinks are enjoyed across the U.S. with the most popularized versions coming from Texas, Louisiana, Pittsburg, and Chicago. Depending on the region, hotlinks can be prepared with any variation or blend of beef, pork, or chicken and are loaded with spices. However, in Texas, where the inaugural Juneteenth celebration took place, links are typically prepared with beef. For this recipe, I used Earl Campbell’s Beef Hot Links, a Texas-based company named after the Black football star. These links are incredible and when grilled the fat that melts to create the juiciest and most flavorful interior.

recipe for chow chow in a jar

What Is Chow Chow & How To Make It?

If relish and slaw had a baby, it would be named Chow Chow. It is typically made from a variety of vegetables and can be eaten by itself or used as a tangy, vinegary condiment. Vegetables used for Chow chow can vary depending on where you are or what’s in season but commonly includes a combination of bell peppers, green tomatoes, cabbage, and onions.  This recipe for chow chow is even easier than traditional recipes because you don’t have to go through the whole process of pickling and canning. Instead, this version can be eaten immediately although I do recommend preparing a day in advance.

recipe for chow chow with hand holding hot link in bun topped with chow chow

While not completely homemade, this recipe for Grilled Hot Links and Chow Chow is a token example of the preservation methods (sausage making and canning) used in times of scarcity. The black community has historically been known for ingenuity in the kitchen and making something out of nothing. This recipe pays homage to our black culinary geniuses and trailblazers who did just that.

In case you were wondering, here is a link to last year’s submission to the Juneteenth Virtual Cookout, Strawberry Cornbread Cobbler.

taking a bite out of grilled hot llinks on a table

Grilled Hot Links & Chow Chow

Author: Meiko Temple
This recipe for Chow Chow and Grilled Hotlinks is perfect for summer cookouts especially Juneteenth. Be prepared to pucker up to these juicy, red sausage links packed with spiced ground beef and served with a tangy-sweet chow-chow relish. Follow this recipe guide for easy preparation whether you are indoor or outdoor grilling.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Marinating Time 4 hours
Total Time 6 hours
Course lunch, Main Course
Cuisine American, Soul Food, Southern
Servings 6
Calories 704 kcal


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 whole or ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 3/4 teaspoon yellow mustard powder
  • 2 cups white distilled vinegar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

Grilled Hot Links

  • 2 lbs hotlinks , such as Earl Campbell’s Beef Hot Links or Johnsonville
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon butter, melted
  • 6 Hot dog buns
  • Additional toppings of your choice


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 seeds, celery seeds, 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 hot links

  • 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.


Calories: 704kcalCarbohydrates: 45gProtein: 29gFat: 43gSaturated Fat: 14gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6gMonounsaturated Fat: 19gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 109mgSodium: 2937mgPotassium: 674mgFiber: 3gSugar: 24gVitamin A: 868IUVitamin C: 46mgCalcium: 129mgIron: 4mg
Keyword Hot Links, juneteenth, recipe for chow chow
did you make this recipe???Tell me all about it! And tag @meikoandthedish with hashtag on Instagram – I’d love to see what you make!


I organized a little (or not so little) menu of recipes with over 40 other amazing black content creators. We are sharing BBQ-inspired recipes in honor of Freedom Day. Please check and try their recipes for your own Juneteenth celebration. You can also follow our hashtag #JuneteenthCookout2021 on Instagram. 

Watermelon Ice Pops  by A Girl Called Adri

Juneteenth Soul Rolls by Black Girls Who Brunch

Honey Buttermilk Biscuits with Roasted Strawberries by Britney Breaks Bread

Strawberry Collins by Brownbelle

Peach Cobbler Cinnamon Rolls by Butter Be Ready

Red Hot Pepper Shrimps by Chef and Steward

Jalapeno Cornbread Muffins by Chef Curl Ardee

Lemon Sour Cream Pound Cake by Chenée Today

Vegan Ranch Style Beans by Collards Are The Old Kale

Jamaican Jerk BBQ Ribs by Cooks with Soul

Sweet and Tangy Coleslaw by Crumb-Snatched

Strawberry-Basil Sorbet by D.M.R. Fine Foods

Red Velvet Layer Cake with Chocolate Covered Strawberries by Dash of Jazz

Red Velvet Cookies by Dish It With Tisha

Brisket Stuffed Baked Sweet Potatoes by Dude That Cookz

BBQ Baked Beans by Food Fidelity

Black Eyed Pea Salad by FoodLoveTog

Harissa Honey Roasted Vegetable Skewers by Geo’s Table

Gluten Free Peach Cobbler (Vegan) by Good Food Baddie

Crispy Gluten-free Baked BBQ Chicken Wings by Gristle and Gossip

Summer Watermelon Fizz by Handy Chef

Watermelon and Cucumber Salad by Heal Me Delicious

Smoky Party Style Jollof Rice by Immaculate Ruemu

Crab Boil & Garlic Butter Sauce by Jamieson Diaries

Tamarind BBQ Wings by Just Add Hot Sauce

Hibiscus Rum Punch by Kenneth Temple

Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream by Lenox Bakery

Crockpot BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches by Mash & Spread

Grilled Hot Links & Chow Chow by Meiko And The Dish

Strawberry Lemonade Sangria by Nik Snacks

Brown Sugar Caramel No-Churn Ice Cream by Open Invitation Entertainment

Strawberry Basil Pineapple Mocktail by Orchids + Sweet Tea

Lemon Meringue Tart by Peaches 2 Peaches

Spicy Shrimp Creole by Pink Owl Kitchen

Strawberry Crunch Cake Brownies by Razzle Dazzle Life

Grilled Maque Choux Salad by Savor and Sage

Savannah Red Rice by Seasoned To Taste

Country Style Potato Salad by Sense & Edibility

Deviled Eggs by Slight Kitchen Werk

Rum Punch by Sweet & Sorrel

Mint Julep by Sweet Tea + Thyme

Almond Peach Cake by That Green Lyfe

Strawberry Cobbler Galette by The Dana Renée Way

Strawberry Baby Back Ribs by This Worthey Life

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