Want to impress everyone at your summer BBQ this year? Find out how to smoke sausage and wow all your guests!
Sausages are a timeless favorite. What could be better than regular sausages?
Smoked sausages, of course.
Smoked sausages are versatile and can upgrade any meal. You can use them in soups, stews and meat-based sauces. They are also wonderful in sandwiches or with eggs and toast in breakfast dishes!
Moreover, they are popular because of their intense, smoky flavor. This flavor comes from burning wood chips during the smoking process. The smokiness transfers from the burning chips and infuses into the meat.
We know it is pretty easy to buy smoked sausage from your local grocery. However, why not try smoking some at home?
Smoked sausages are easy to make and the whole process only takes a few hours.
Besides, home-smoked sausage has a richer, more delicate taste. With a little skill and effort, you’ll be able to smoke sausage like a pro in no time at all!
Best Kinds of Sausages for Smoking
The first thing you need to decide is what kind of sausage to smoke. This depends on two factors.
Firstly, it depends on your personal preferences and the kind of meat you prefer. Next, different dishes require different kinds of sausage.
Meat-based sauces usually need Italian sausages. Chili and other dishes that rely on a strong spicy, smoky flavor work best with Andouille or chorizo sausages.
German or Polish sausages like bratwurst and kielbasa are also good choices for smoked sausage.
The important thing to remember is that your sausage should have a decent amount of fat in it. Leaner cuts of meat will result in smoked sausage that is dry and crumbly.
The Best Time Frame for Perfectly Smoked Sausages
On average, the raw sausage needs to be smoked for at least 3 or 4 hours. The smoking temperature is kept at 250F.
Next, the sausages are turned at 45-minute intervals. After three hours, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the sausages.
If the internal temperature is at 160F or 72C, the sausages are ready. They should be evenly browned, with a reddish tinge and should be a little shriveled.
If you smoke at a higher temperature or a longer time, the sausages will be dried out and all the fat will be rendered out. In contrast, if they aren’t smoked long enough, the meat may still have harmful bacteria that can cause food poisoning.
In short, smoke your sausage until it reaches 160F, just to stay on the safe side.
Smoking Polish Sausages
Polish sausage, also known as kielbasa is known for a very strong smoky flavor. It is also pretty spicy as it is usually seasoned with garlic, salt, pepper, and marjoram. Polish sausage is quite easy to make and is a good choice if you are new to smoking or curing meat.
First, you need to use a meat grinder to grind the cured meat. Next, combine the ground meat with the spices and cold water. Everything needs to be mixed until homogenous.
After that, stuff the meat into sausage casings. Each casing should form links that are about 30-35 cm long. Hang the links on smoke sticks or sausage hanging rods for an hour at room temperature.
Alternately, you can place them in a preheated smoker barrel at 130F and keep the drafter open. Once the casings have dried completely, smoke sausage for about 3 hours and turn them every 45 minutes.
Gradually increase the smoking temperature to 200F, until the internal temperature of the sausages reaches 160F.
Once they are smoked, remove the sausages from the smoker and shock them with ice-cold water. Hang them to dry on a sausage hanging rod. After they have dried, they are ready to be cooked or be stored in the fridge.
Smoking Sausages at Home Like a Pro
Making smoked sausage at home is pretty straightforward. If you’ve read about smoking Polish sausage, the process is pretty similar.
Dry or cure your meat, and then grind it. The seasonings and spices depend on the kind of sausage you are making. Italian sausage and chorizo will need different spices.
Create the sausage links and let them air-dry. Then, place them in your smokehouse or grill with the wood chips, but make sure they are evenly spaced out. As you smoke the sausage, start at a temperature of 160F and smoke the meat for one hour.
Then, increase the temperature to 170F and smoke for another hour. Finally, increase the temperature to 180F or 200F and smoke until the sausages reach a temperature of 160F.
The wood chips used to smoke the meat needs to be soaked in water for at least an hour. If you want a mild smoky flavor use maple or cherry wood. For stronger smokiness, hickory is the best wood to smoke your meat with.
Always let your sausages rest for 10 minutes after smoking them. Moving them before that will make the fat and juices run out. This, in turn, will make your sausages dry and brittle.
Lastly, soak your smoked sausages in cold water and let them dry.
How to Smoke Sausages in the Oven
Don’t own a grill or smokehouse? No problem, we have you covered. We’ll walk you through how to smoke sausage in the oven.
Firstly, preheat your oven to 250F.
Soak your hickory or mesquite wood chips in water in advance. After they’ve been soaked, drain them very well and keep them in a colander.
Place the soaked wood chips at the bottom of a deep metal pan. The wood chips need to be placed in a single layer, without them stacking up. Next, place a wire rack over the metal pan, over the wood chips.
After that, put the sausages on the rack, making sure they are evenly spaced out. Make a tent out of aluminum foil and cover the rack with it from all sides.
This will prevent the smoke from escaping. Instead, it will make sure the smoke flavor penetrates the meat evenly.
Place the rack and pan into your oven and let it cook slowly over 3-6 hours. If the wood chips start to dry out, re-wet them periodically.
Towards the end of the cooking time, check the temperature of your meat. Once the temperature is 160F, you can take it out of the oven.
Smoking Sausage on a Pellet Grill
Pellet grills are an excellent way to smoke sausages. The process is similar to smoking bacon or ham.
However, it is important to make sure the sausage has been cured beforehand. This will prevent botulism poisoning.
These grills can burn hotter and so produce a darker, more intense smoked flavor. They are also popular because of their consistent, easy-to-control temperature.
The cook time is similar to using a smokehouse or grill. If you’re looking for a good pellet grill, the Camp Chef SmokePro Pellet Grill is a great option.
Smokers: The Perfect Alternative to Smoking Sausages on a Grill!
Smoking sausages in a smoker isn’t very different from using a grill. Soak your wood chips in advance and heat your smoker to 200F.
Next, drain the excess water from your wood chips and place them in the chip tray. The tray goes into the bottom of the smoker. If the smoker doesn’t have a tray, place the chips directly on the hot charcoal.
After that, place the rack with the sausages into the smoker. Leave the vent open one-quarter of the way. Cook/smoke them for 2 hours or until they reach 160F.
Using a Masterbuilt Electric Smoker to Smoke Sausages
A Masterbuilt smoker makes smoking all kinds of sausages a breeze.
All you have to do is allow the prepared sausages to dry at room temperature. Secondly, preheat your smoker to 250F and half-fill the pan with water. Place the wood chips in their tray.
Next, place the sausage links on the smoker racks, with ½ an inch of space between each sausage.
Lastly, open the top vent and let the sausages cook for 3 hours or until the internal temperature is 160F. Don’t forget to replace the wood chips and water every 45 minutes!
Smoking Sausages on a Traeger Grill
Using a Traeger to smoke sausage is an easy way to get flavorful, smoky sausages. No matter what kind of sausage you are aiming for, Traeger will smoke the meat to perfection.
They are easy to use and have a 6-in-1 function: you can grill, roast, bake, smoke, BBQ and even braise your meat.
All you have to do is preheat the grill to 225F for 15 minutes with the lid shut. Then, place the sausage casings on the grill or your Traeger sausage rack.
Additionally, make sure the sausages aren’t crowded on the grill. Cook them for 2.5 hours or until the sausages register an internal temperature of 160F.
Let the sausages rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving.
Learning how to smoke sausage on your own has many advantages. Firstly, you won’t have to buy sausages anymore. Also, you can easily impress your guests at the next picnic or BBQ!
Smoking sausage is also a fun DIY project that can preserve any meat in your pantry that you don’t have much use for. The smoked sausages stay fresh in the freezer for up to 4 months!
With just the smallest bit of practice, you can easily make Italian, German or Polish smoked sausages right at home. Once you learn how to smoke sausages, your kitchen escapade will never be the same again!