East Texas representative files resolution naming Pittsburg ‘Hot Link Capital of Texas’

East Texas representative files resolution naming Pittsburg ‘Hot Link Capital of Texas’
Pictured is a Pittsburg Hot Links tin. (Source: KLTV Staff)

AUSTIN, TX (KLTV) - An East Texas state representative has filed a concurrent resolution to designate Pittsburg as the Hot Link Capital of Texas for the next 10 years.

State Rep. Cole Hefner, R-Mount Pleasant, filed House Concurrent Resolution 122 to recognize Pittsburg, which has been recognized across Texas as the premier source of the sausages know as hot links for the past 120 years.

The resolution gives a brief history lesson. It states the “savory tradition” started back in 1987 when Charlie Hasselback, an entrepreneur of German ancestry, brought his recipe for hot links to Camp County.

At first, Hasselback sold the links raw from his butcher shop in Pittsburg, HCR 122 states. In 1918, he started selling them cooked and ready to eat, “traditionally served on butcher paper with hot sauce and crackers.”

The resolution also states that the “small, stubby sausages won instant converts with their unique texture crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside and their signature burst of flavor.”

According to HCR 122, Pittsburg has been home to several hot link businesses over the years. It states that O.O. Smith, who worked with Hasselback established his own hot link shop and later sold it to Johnny Franklin, who ran it until the 1990s.

A hot link business started by Henry James changed hands several times before it closed in the 1970s, the resolution states. Barney Warrick, who initially worked for James set up his own hot link business with his son, Gene.

Then in the 1970s, Gene Warrick and Jimmy Brooks founded the B&W Meat Company and JB’s Hot Links. In the 1980s, Gene Warrick took over the businesses and changed the names to Pittsburg Hot Link Restaurants Inc. and Pittsburg Hot Link Packers Inc.

Later, Gene Warrick and Madeline, his wife, bought and renovated the building where Pittsburg Hot Links has been managed by Teresa, Tina, Sala, and Sonya Warrick and is now managed by Sabin and Salina Warrick, the resolution states.

In addition, the resolution states that even though there are hot links hops in many nearby communities, “Pittsburg remains the home of the hot link, drawing visitors from all over the state and nation.”

Pittsburg Hot Links and its adjoining Sausage Warehouse take up an entire city block of downtown Pittsburg, and the warehouse produces 8 million links, or a million pounds of sausage, each year, the resolution states. The company generates more than $2.5 million in sales and a payroll of $750,000 each year.

Pittsburg’s hot links, which are often called “East Texas caviar,” are a “source of pride and prosperity for the people of Pittsburg as well as a significant contribution to the culinary traditions of the Lone Star State,” the resolution states.

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