Looking to add some flavor to your sausages? Smoking is the way to go! Whether you prefer hot smoking or cold smoking, there are options for every skill level. Hot smoking is quick, easy, and safe, while cold smoking is a bit more advanced and can be risky if you don’t know what you’re doing. Either way, adding a touch of smoke can transform even the most boring sausage into something truly delicious. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about hot and cold smoked sausages, so you can choose the method that’s right for you.
Smoking sausages is a method of adding flavor to the meat by exposing it to smoke. There are two main types of smoked sausages: hot smoked, which are cooked with high heat and smoke, and cold smoked, which are smoked at a low temperature over a long period of time. Cold smoking raw, uncured sausages is not recommended due to health risks, so it is safer to hot smoke sausages. To hot smoke sausages, you can use a variety of wood such as apple, pear, cherry, maple, or hickory. The internal temperature of the sausages should be at least 145°F (62.7°C) to ensure they are cooked properly and safely. You can also use a rub to add extra flavor to the sausages before smoking them.
- Smoking sausages is a great way to add flavor to the meat
- There are two main types of smoked sausages: hot smoked and cold smoked
- Hot smoked sausages are cooked with high heat and smoke
- Cold smoked sausages are smoked at a low temperature over a long period, usually below 85°F/29.4°C
- Cold smoking raw, uncured sausages at home is not recommended due to health risks
- It is safer to hot smoke sausages, which is easy to do and still allows for the smoke flavor to be present
- A variety of wood can be used to hot smoke sausages, such as apple, pear, cherry, maple, or hickory
- It is important to make sure the internal temperature of the sausages reaches at least 145°F (62.7°C) to ensure they are cooked properly and safely
- A rub can be used to add extra flavor to the sausages before smoking them.
The Best Sausage For Smoking
|Bratwurst||Bratwurst is a type of German sausage made from pork, beef, or veal. To smoke bratwurst in a smoker, first pat the sausages dry with a paper towel. Then, apply a rub or seasoning of your choice and place the sausages in the smoker. Smoke the sausages for about 1 hour at 250°F (121°C), or until the internal temperature reaches at least 145°F (62.7°C).|
|Polish Sausages||Polish sausages, also known as kielbasa, are made from pork and are typically seasoned with garlic and other spices. To smoke Polish sausages in a smoker, dry with a paper towel. Add a rub or seasoning, then place into the smoker. Smoke for about 1 hour at 250°F (121°C), or until the sausage reach 145°F (62.7°C).|
|Chorizo||Chorizo is a spicy sausage made from pork and seasoned with paprika and other spices. Dry the chorizo, apply a rub then smoke the sausages for about 1 hour at 250°F (121°C), or to 145°F (62.7°C).|
|Weisswurst||Weisswurst is a type of German sausage made from veal and pork. To smoke weisswurst in a smoker, use a paper towel to dry, then sprinkle with rub and place the sausages in the smoker. Smoke for 1 hour at 250°F (121°C), or until the internal temperature reaches at least 145°F (62.7°C).|
|Boudin Blanc||Boudin blanc is a type of French sausage made from pork and veal, and often contains eggs and milk. Dry, add rub, smoke at 250°F (121°C) until the internal temp reaches 145°F (62.7°C).|
|Italian Sausages||Italian sausages are made from pork and are seasoned with fennel, garlic, and other spices. Follow the same method as above.|
|Hotdogs||Hotdogs are a type of sausage made from beef, pork, or a combination of both. Follow above instructions.|
Hot Smoked And Cold Smoked Sausages
First, let’s be clear about what type of smoked sausage we’re talking about because there’s hot smoking and cold smoking. Hot smoking is a method where the sausages are cooked with high heat and smoke. Cold smoking is where the sausages are smoked (but not cooked) at a low temperature over a long period, usually 85°F/29.4°C and below.
Cold smoking raw, uncured meat at home isn’t recommended because of the health risks to you and your family. Hot smoking is safer, easy to do and you’ll still get the smoke flavor.
Can You Cold Smoke Sausages?
I know many people are into cold smoking, but most food scientists discourage home cold smoking because of the health risks. If you don’t know what you are doing, cold smoking is like taking raw meat out of the refrigerator and leaving it on the counter all day. Cold smoking sausages should only be attempted if the meat has already been preserved by curing, fermentation, etc.
Cold smoking raw sausages involves slowly smoking the sausages at low temperatures (40 °F-140 °F) for as long as 24-hours. This low temperature range is what the USDA calls the ‘danger-zone’, where bacteria can rapidly multiply. Therefore, you really need to know what you are doing. Otherwise you’re going to put you and your family’s health at risk.
Unless the sausages have been cured, salted or fermented, you shouldn’t attempt cold smoking raw sausages. The US National Center for Home Food Preservation recommend cold smoking only be done by certified persons. This is because cold smoking involves cooking meat in what the USDA call the “danger zone”, which is 40 °F-140 °F (4.4°C-60°C).
So cold smoking raw sausage isn’t worth the risk, and there are safer ways to smoke sausages. You really need to know what you are doing and have the correct tools.
How To Hot Smoke Sausage
Homemade Hot Smoked Sausages
Sausages are quick and easy to smoke, and you can use just about any sausage. The best way to smoke sausage is by using an indirect cooking method, and it only takes just over an hour.
The method will depend on the type of smoker you are using. If you have an electric smoker or pellet grill, then smoking sausages should be fairly straightforward. For an extra shot of flavor, I like to apply some rub to sausages, but this step is optional. This is the standard way of smoking sausages.
- Barbeque rub
- Smoking wood
1. Set up your charcoal smoker for two-zone cooking with the charcoal to one side and the sausages to the other side with a drip pan underneath.
2. Pre-light 3/4 of a chimney of charcoal and place them in the basket fully lit.
3. Adjust your vents and bring the temperature of your smoker up to 220-230 °F (104-110 °C).
4. Choose a mild wood and throw two chunks onto the fire.
5. Chill the sausages prior to smoking. Cold surfaces attract smoke.
6. Lay the sausages on the grill in the cool zone to the opposite side of the fire.
7. Cook for about 1.5 hours and probe with an instant-read thermometer until the temperature reaches 160°F (71°C).
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 184Total Fat: 15.5gSugar: 0.6gProtein: 10.5g
Add Extra Flavor With A Barbecue Rub
Prior to smoking sausages, roll them in a barbecue rub. This step is totally optional, but it will add to the flavor. If the rub won’t stick, apply an oil binder beforehand. Use your favorite rub, but be careful with rubs high in sugar content as they burn. I prefer to use spicy rubs with sausages to give them a little extra kick. I love Malcolm Reed’s Killer Hogs Hot Rub, this is my go-to rub for sausages. Check the latest price here. Otherwise, here is a recipe for a homemade rub:
Best Wood For Smoking Sausage
Fruit woods work well on brats because they add a hint of sweetness without overpowering all the other flavors of the sausage. Apple, pear and cherry are widely available in stores, but any fruit wood is suitable. Cherry works well on almost anything but keep in mind that it will turn the sausages dark. Maple is a safe wood for smoking sausage and also has a sweet flavor similar to a fruitwood. Hickory is a versatile wood for any meat and will add a strong, smokey flavor to the sausage. Hickory can overpower meat with sensitive skin, so use hickory with caution. A good idea is to use a 50/50 ratio with hickory, that way the hickory smoke flavor shouldn’t dominate. Hickory blends well with fruit woods like apple, which will give the sausages a hint of sweetness.
Internal Temperature Of Smoked Sausage
When dealing with any kind of ground meat, the safest internal temperature is 160°F (71°C), according to the USDA. Other cuts of meat such as beef and lamb are safe at 145°F (62.7°C). If you find that 160°F (71°C) is making the sausages too dry, and they are loosing all the juices, then pull the sausages out at 150°F (65.5°C), but never go below the recommended 145°F (62.7°C).
|Meat Type||Safe Internal Temperature|
|Ground Meat||160°F (71°C)|
|Beef, Lamb||145°F (62.7°C)|
|Sausages (if dry at 160°F)||150°F (65.5°C)|
How To Smoke Brats
Smoking bratwurst can add a delicious smoke flavor to the already tasty sausage. When smoking brats, it’s important to start with fresh, chilled sausages to ensure they attract more smoke. There are a couple of different methods for smoking brats, including a shorter smoking time at a higher temperature or a longer smoking time at a lower temperature. The latter method can enhance the flavor of the brats but also exposes them to the “danger zone” of low temperatures where bacteria can grow more easily. It’s important to consider both flavor and food safety when deciding which method to use.
- Buy fresh brats and keep them chilled before smoking.
- To smoke brats for a shorter time, set the smoker to 200°F (93.3°C).
- To expose brats to smoke for longer and enhance their flavor, set the smoker to a lower temperature (such as 100°F/37.7°C) for an hour, then gradually increase the temperature until the brats are cooked.
- Be aware that smoking brats at low temperatures for an extended time can allow them to remain in the “danger zone” of low temperatures, where bacteria can grow more easily.
How To Smoke Hotdogs
Smoking hot dogs can be a delicious way to add some extra flavor to a summertime BBQ. There are a few different ways you can do this. One option is to use hot dogs with natural casings and soak them in beer before smoking. Wrapping the hot dogs in bacon before smoking is also a popular choice. To smoke the hot dogs, use a low temperature (such as 140°F) for a couple of hours, then finish by briefly poaching them in water and placing them in an ice bath. The finished internal temperature of the hot dogs should be about 150°F to ensure they are fully cooked and safe to eat.
- To add a smoke flavor to hot dogs, use hot dogs with natural casings and consider soaking them in beer before smoking.
- Wrapping the hot dogs in bacon before smoking is also a popular method.
- To smoke hot dogs, use a low temperature (such as 140°F) for a couple of hours, then finish by briefly poaching them in water and placing them in an ice bath.
- The finished internal temperature of the hot dogs should be about 150°F.
Smoking Italian Sausages
Smoking Italian sausages is a great way to add some extra flavor to your BBQ game. Start by getting your hands on some good quality sausages and keeping them chilled until you’re ready to smoke ’em. Preheat your smoker to around 225-250°F and toss the sausages on there for about 1-2 hours, or until they reach an internal temp of 160°F. If you’re not into a super strong smoke flavor, you can wrap the sausages in foil before smoking. When they’re done, let them rest for a bit before chowing down to let all the juices redistribute.
- Start with high-quality Italian sausages and keep them chilled until ready to smoke.
- Preheat your smoker to 225-250°F (107-121°C).
- Place the sausages on the smoker and smoke for about 1-2 hours, or until they reach an internal temperature of 160°F (71°C).
- If you prefer a milder smoke flavor, you can wrap the sausages in foil before smoking.
- When the sausages are fully cooked, let them rest for a few minutes before serving to allow the juices to redistribute.
How To Smoke Boudin Sausage
Smoked Bourdin Blanc is a delicious sausage with a unique flavor. There are various types of Bourdin Blanc, which is a French sausage made with liver, heart, and usually rice. To smoke Bourdin Blanc, it’s important to use mild wood such as pecan or oak and keep the sausage moist by smoking it at a lower temperature. This is particularly important because Bourdin Blanc has a risk of drying out due to the rice it contains. By following these steps, you can enjoy a tasty and moist smoked Bourdin Blanc sausage. Do the following:
- Choose a mild wood such as pecan or oak for smoking Bourdin Blanc.
- Keep the Bourdin Blanc moist while smoking by using a lower temperature.
- Be aware that Bourdin Blanc has a risk of drying out due to the rice it contains, so pay extra attention to moisture levels.
- Follow these steps to enjoy a tasty and moist smoked Bourdin Blanc sausage.
How To Smoke Polish Sausage
Traditional Polish sausages are made with pork mixed with salt, pepper, garlic, and herbs. To hot smoke Polish sausages, start by using a mild, sweet wood and smoking at a lower temperature for the first hour. Then, gradually increase the temperature of the smoker. By following these steps, you can enjoy flavorful and moist smoked Polish sausages.
- Traditional Polish sausages are made with pork mixed with salt, pepper, garlic, and herbs.
- To hot smoke Polish sausages, start by using a mild, sweet wood.
- Smoke the sausages at a lower temperature for the first hour.
- Gradually increase the temperature of the smoker.
- By following these steps, you can enjoy flavorful and moist smoked Polish sausages.
How Aaron Franklin Smokes Sausage
Related: How To Smoke Sausage On A Pellet Grill
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.