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Beef hot links (Recipe: yellow split pea and sausage soup)

Yellow split pea soup

Some ingredients earn permanent resident status in my pantry because I use them in more ways than I can count.

Sometimes, I can count on one hand the number of dishes I make with an ingredient.

Beef hot links are one of those one-hand ingredients, but the handful of dishes I make with them are some of our all-time favorites.

A trip to New Orleans many years ago introduced my husband Ted and me to jambalaya and gumbo, two Cajun dishes that have at their core andouille, a spicy pork sausage. I painstakingly picked pieces of andouille off my plate, while enjoying the residual smoky flavor the sausage left behind. Determined to replicate the flavors of south Louisiana in my own kitchen, I began testing recipes as soon as we returned home.

Beef hot links

When you grow up pork-free, you spend a lifetime experimenting with spices, sauces, and substitutes for the smoky taste of ham hocks and pork sausage. Spanish pimenton (smoked paprika, sweet or hot), ancho chile powder, liquid smoke, barbecue sauce -- all will work, though each flavor is just a bit different.

Beef hot links work even better; not only are they smoky, but they're spicy, too. You can smoke your own beef sausage, but it's easier to buy beef hot links at the supermarket and keep them on hand in the freezer.

Find beef hot links in your regular grocery store. There's nothing exotic about this pantry ingredient, but it will work magic in a handful of your favorite dishes.

Yellow split pea soup 

Yellow split pea and sausage soup (slow cooker and stove top)

A few ingredients come together in a hearty, delicious soup, perfect for a snowy New England day. Substitute freely: green splits for yellow, water or vegetable stock for chicken stock, and any hot smoked sausage for the hot links. This soup can be frozen. Serves 6-8.


1 lb yellow split peas
1 small onion, minced
4 cups chicken stock (I use Swanson 99%, or homemade)
2 cups water
2 tsp barbecue sauce (homemade or store bought)
1 package (14 oz) beef hot links (or other cooked hot smoked sausage), sliced 1/4 inch thick
Fresh black pepper, to taste


Pick through the split peas to remove any stones. Place the peas, onion, chicken stock, water, barbecue sauce, and a third of the sliced hot links into a 4-quart slow cooker. Set to HIGH and cook for 2 hours, until the peas break up easily when stirred. Add the remaining hot links, and black pepper to taste, and cook for 30 minutes.

To cook on the stove top: Place the peas, onion, chicken stock, water, barbecue sauce, and a third of the sliced hot links into a Dutch oven. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook for 1-1/4 hours or until the peas break up easily when stirred (you might need to add more water if the soup is cooking too quickly, so keep an eye on it). Add the remaining hot links, and black pepper to taste, and cook for 30 minutes.

More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Vegan split pea soup with challah croutons
Split pea, sausage and preserved lemon soup
Chicken and shrimp jambalaya
Pie-ella, improved
Chicks in blankets

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i love soups like these. having a packet of sausages in the fridge is always handy as i find a quick meal like this one or a pasta dish is never that far off!

perfect recipe for this winter season. ;-)


OH BOY!!!! What an incredible way to lose ones slow cooker virginity!!! Dinner tonight cant come soon enough Thanks a million.

btw, the HF cheddarwurst is also very tasty

I am overrun with dried yellow split peas in the pantry. This looks so easy, and I might give it a try in my new pressure cooker.

I've never cooked with the Beef Hot Links before, but I have to say this recipe intrigues me. I absolutely LOVE soups (one of my all-time favorites is a turkey kielbasa/cabbage/diced tomato/double bean soup I adapted), and I think we'd really like the flavor of the soup you've included here.

I'll pick up a pack of these the next time I'm at the market and give this a try---looking forward to it!

Oo-oo. You just solved my problem for supper tonight. Of course, I'll have to use what I have here, i.e. leeks instead of onion, green split peas and chorizo -- but I hadn't thought of using barbecue sauce to kick up soup. Way cool!

That's wonderful to have a suitable meaty, smoky substitute. Truthfully, I'm not so much a fan of pork as I am the smoke, fat, and salt of pork products.

and I love the adaptability of this recipe...

What a lovely little soup, I bet it's so flavorful!!

Ha! I've never once even thought to buy hot links but I have a recipe that calls for smoked sausage that I'll try with these, just for the option. Ever full of ideas, you are ...

*Sorta kosher* I love it!
The links look nice and spicy, I'll keep an eye out for them up here.

Meeta, I'm with you on this. And it doesn't take a lot of sausage to really influence the flavor of a dish.

Paz, you betcha!

Milton, my first slow cooker experiments didn't turn out too well, but now that I've been working with the slow cooker, I'm learning to appreciate what it can do. I hope this turns out well for you; it's a fabulous little soup.

TW, one thing I've learned is that old beans and peas are beyond redemption. I hope yours are fresh ones and if so, they'll be delicious in this soup.

Sandie, turkey kielbasa would work in this, too. I'd probably add some smoked paprika or ancho chile powder to kick up the smokiness.

Heidi, green and yellow peas both work so well in soup. And if not BBQ sauce, try ancho chile powder.

Julia, I often substitute for what I think is the taste of pork, or for the qualities you mention, because I've never tasted the real thing.

Noble Pig, 'tis, 'tis.

Alanna, the options is my small village are limited, so I have that to thank for my discovery of hot links.

Natashya, I like that -- sorta kosher. I'll remember that!

I think I added a few too many cups of liquid...2 extra to be exact...to the recipe. I did this because of the warnings about slow cookers....they must be at least half full in order for the timing/cooking to work properly and since I have a 6qt cooker I erred on the side of caution. But even though it was a little runny, it still tatsed unbelievably good. Three people ate enough to leave only a bowl for leftovers. With a nice crusty bread for dipping this is beyond tasty. Thanks very much for sharing. One other thing that makes this so good....prep and cleanup are a breeze: You dont sit there eating wondering how you'll ever manage to clean everything up and so you really get to enjoy the food fully.

Oh, it looks delicious and spicy also!

I think I`ll try this recipe myself also, though I don`t think I`ll find "HillShire Farm" Beef like in the pic....so I`ll have to try with something similar....

Mmmmmm. Reminds me of a soup I love from Nigella Lawson... carrots in addition to the yellow split peas kicked up the yellow color beautifuly. And the hot dogs make it a hit for the whole family.

I have seen these many times and never tried them. why? I don't know since I love all things sausage and sausage-like.
There are ALOT of locally made sausages in my area alas - so many sausages, so little time!

very good. used kiebasa and hickory smoked barbeque sauce

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