Smoking sausage is one of my favorite things to do on a Traeger. Pellet grills can quick-and-easily transform the most boring sausage into delicious smoked sausage. In this article, I’ll show you how to how smoke, or cold smoke any type of sausage using a Traeger pellet grill.
Hot Or Cold Smoked Sausage
You can either use your Traeger to hot smoke, or cold smoke sausage. Hot smoking is easy, whereas cold smoking requires more work. The challenge with cold smoking on a Traeger is getting the temperature low enough. In order to cold smoke properly, the smoker needs to operate between 40° F to 140° F for up to 24 hours—which is very difficult on a pellet grill. But there are ways to lower the temperature on your Traeger. Keep reading and I’ll show you how.
Hot Smoking Sausage On A Traeger Pellet Grill
Hot smoking is by far the quickest and easiest way to smoke some sausages on your Traeger. I prefer to buy sausages that have already been cold smoked. After an hour or so in the Traeger, they come out double-smoked! It only takes 5 minutes to prepare sausage for hot smoking on a Traeger, and the total cook time is about 1 hour to 1 hour and a half.
When hot smoking on a Traeger, you can use just about any type of sausage. Sometimes I like to take the most plain, flavorless sausage and make it delicious. You can hot smoke any type of sausage in your Traeger, but some of my favorites are:
- Polish sausages
- Boudin blanc
- Any type of pre-made sausage
- Dry rub
- Wood pellets
Make sure the sausages are chilled prior to smoking. Smoke it attracted to cold surfaces.
Roll the sausages in barbecue dry rub. Since sausages contain a lot of salt, make a salt free rub from scratch. Careful with pre-made rubs because they contain a lot of salt.
To make sure that the rub sticks to the sausage, add a small amount of oil as a binder.
For a mild smoke flavor, use apple, cherry or pecan. Mixed blends also work well. If you want a strong smoke flavor, use hickory or mesquite.
Fire up your Traeger between 222°F and 230° F.
Lay the sausages on the Traeger grill, spreading them evenly so they aren’t touching.
Only rotate the sausages if your Traeger doesn’t cook evenly. Sometimes temperatures can differ between top and bottom racks. If you have an Ironwood or Timberline, don’t lower the bottom rack, otherwise you’ll end up searing the sausage.
Cook for about 1 hour and a half. Probe the sausage with an instant-read thermometer until the internal temperature reaches a safe eating 160° F.
Serving Size:2 ounces
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 184Total Fat: 15.5g
What’s The Safe Internal Temperature For Smoking Sausage?
You want to bring the internal temperature of your sausages up to around about 160° F. This is the safe recommendation, according to the USDA. For more information, head over to the USDA website.
Brats are one of my favorite sausages to smoke on a Traeger, and there are a couple of different ways you can do it. I like to extend the cooking time to 3 hours, just so the brats have more time to absorb smoke.
The sausages will be done faster if you smoke them at 200° F. They should get enough smoke during this time. To leave the brats in the smokers as long as possible, I usually start off the cook at about 100° F, or in super smoke mode. Then, I raise the temperature slowly in small increments until they reach the 160° F range.
I love taking a boring, plain old hot dog and turning into something amazing. Roll the hot dogs in barbecue rub, then place them on the grill.
Keep the Traeger nice and low for the first hour, and let the dogs absorb some smoke. You can briefly finish the dogs by placing them in water and then an ice bath just to finish the internal temperature to about 150° F.
To me, Italian sausages have one of the best flavors, and they go really well with an extra dose of smoke. I like to slice them up and serve them with cheese. They work as a great side dish for barbecues.
The French sausage Bourdin Blanc contains liver, heart, usually rice. I find pecan wood and in our other mild wood blends well with this sausage. Make sure you keep brought on nice and moist and keep the temperature low.
Bourdin Blanc is always at risk of drying out because it contains rice, so don’t smoke these hot and fast and your dryer. If you want to keep the temperature lower, just place some trays of ice on the grill.
Traditional Polish sausages contain pork meat with herbs and spices. You can smoke polish sausages a little hotter on your Traeger, but I always like to start out slow, let them absorb smoke in super smoke mode, and then increase around about 200° F.
How Do BBQ Guru’s Hot Smoke Sausage?
You can adapt the methods of barbecue pitmasters to your Traeger. You might have to make a few adjustments when using a pellet grill, but many of the principles are the same. Keep in mind, pellet grills won’t produce as much smoke as a charcoal or wood smoker.
When replicating recipes from barbecue gurus, try to use a stronger wood like mesquite or hickory to infuse as much smoke as possible. Also, remember that smoke is attracted to cold wet surfaces. Use chilled sausage to attract as much smoke as possible. Here is a great recipe from pitmaster Malcolm Reed.
How Does Aaron Franklin Hot Smoke Sausage?
If you want to smoke sausage like barbecue pitmaster Aaron Franklin, set the temperature of your Traeger to 275°F. Franklin believes you only need 30 minutes to hot smoke sausage. Anything over 30 minutes at 275°F may split the sausage casing.
Any lower than 275°F will make the sausage casing rubbery. However, keep in mind that Aaron Franklin cooks with an offset smoker. Offsets produce more smoke, therefore the sausage needs less time in the smoke. Traeger pellet grills produce less smoke, which is why the sausage will need more time.
Cold Smoking Sausage On A Traeger
The sausage used for this cold smoking are raw and uncured sausage—and usually homemade. However, you can cold smoke any pre-made sausage.
To cold smoke sausage, you need to set the smoker between 40° F to 140° F. This is very difficult on a Traeger because most pellet grills can’t go below 160°F. However, there are ways to drop the temperature on your Traeger. You just need to think outside of the square.
Here are some tips to get your Traeger to cook at lower temperatures so you can cold smoke:
- Place trays of ice on the grill. This will suck a lot of heat out of the Traeger grill, allowing you to cold smoke below 140° F. Unfortunately, you will need to keep replacing the ice trays otherwise, the temperature will rise.
- Save your cold smoking for winter. During winter, the metal of your Traeger will freeze, and take longer to come up to temperature. Also, put ice in your Traeger. The combination of wintry weather, and ice trays should run your Traeger at low temps.
- Cold smoke early in the morning, or at night. You’re going to struggle to keep the temperature low enough on a hot summer’s day.
The Dangers Of Cold Smoking
Be aware that there are several safety risks associated with cold smoking. In fact, the USDA doesn’t recommend cold smoking at home because the meat will spend many hours in what they call the “danger-zone”. Cold smoking between 40° F and 140° F is the danger one for microbial growth. Read more about the dangers of cold smoking in this article over by author of The Science Of Barbecue over at Amazing Ribs.
The health risks are higher if you’re cold smoking uncured meat. If you’re attempting to cold smoke meat that has already been cured and fermented, it is much safer. So unless you have cured, salted or fermented the sausage beforehand, don’t attempt to cold smoke sausages on your Traeger.
Get The Right Tools
Make sure you use good thermometers and have all the right tools before attempting to cold smoke. You need to monitor the temperature of your smoker, and the internal meat temperature. Don’t trust the accuracy of the in-built Traeger thermometer.
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My Favorite Meat Smoking Tools
Thanks for checking out this article. I hope you learned a few things. Here are some of my favorite tools I use when smoking brisket that may be useful to you. These are affiliate links, so if you decide to purchase any of these products, I’ll earn a commission. But in all honesty, these are the tools I recommend to my family and friends who are just starting out.
Meat Thermometer: There are dozens of fancy thermometers on the market, but I still use my trusty TP20. For around $50, I have a high-quality meat thermometer with two probes, and can track the temperature of my smoker with one probe, and my meat with the other probe. The ThermoPro TP20 is an Amazon Best Seller because it’s the easiest thermometer to operate, is durable, highly accurate, and comes with pre-programmed meat settings.
Instant Read Thermometer: Arguably, the second most important tool you need is a fast and accurate instant-read thermometer. These tools play an important role in the latter stages of the cook when the meat needs regular checking in multiple areas. I use the ThermoPro TP19 because it can do everything a ThermaPen can do, but for a fraction of the cost. You can check out the TP19 on Amazon here.
Wireless Thermometer: The latest thermometers on the market have no wires and can be controlled by wi-fi via your phone. Airprobe 3 is the best of this technology.
Butcher Paper: Wrapping brisket in butcher paper has become a huge trend in barbeque thanks to Aaron Franklin. Wrapping your brisket in paper will give you a nice brisket bark. However, you can’t just use any old paper, it has to be unwaxed, food grade paper. You can find it on Amazon here.
Advanced Thermometer and Automatic Temperature Controller: Once you’re ready to take things seriously, the FireBoard 2 Drive is a six-channel Bluetooth/Wi-Fi thermometer that can monitor up to 6 pieces of meat, control and graph your cook sessions on your smartphone, and attaches to an an automatic blower that will convert your charcoal smoker to a set-and-forget. This is one of the most advanced meat thermometers on the market. You can check it out on the FireBoard website here.