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Sausages are a versatile meat that tastes great in a wide variety of meals at any time of the day. You can enhance their flavors by smoking sausages, and several different methods produce flavorsome results.
Because there are many sausage varieties and kinds of flavored wood chips, you can produce sausages infused with unique tastes and aromas. Serve your delicious applewood-smoked sausages with mashed potatoes and air-fried asparagus, or spice up your mesquite-smoked sausage with peppers and onions. Mix your smoked chorizo in a garlic white wine sauce and toss it over pasta with steamed littleneck clams, Portuguese-style.
Regardless of how you want to serve your favorite smoked sausage, there are some simple tips you can follow to achieve outstanding sausage smoking results.
1. Choose Your Sausage Type
Just about every sausage tastes even better when it is smoked; however, you can choose different sausages to suit your preferred taste or even make one. Traditionally sausage is made from pork but you can use ground chuck or ground beef as long as you use the right amount of fat and lean meat on your fillings.
The fat content is also a vital consideration, so look for sausages with 20% overall fat makeup. Meats that are too lean do not smoke well, and you could end up with crumbly and dry sausages that fall apart.
If you’re smoking sausages for meat-based sauces, Italian-style sausages are an excellent choice. Dishes that have a spicy flavor combine well with Andouille or merguez sausages.
2. Decide How To Smoke Sausage
If you already have a smoker, you can smoke your sausages the traditional way with wood chips in a chip tray. However, you can also smoke sausages on charcoal or gas grills. With a bit of time and effort, you can bring your Italian, chicken, turkey, Bratwurst, and kielbasa sausages to a new level of flavor.
Smoke Sausage on a Smoker
One of the easiest ways to smoke sausages is in a smoker. The first step is to prepare your wood chips to produce the maximum level of smoky aroma. Pour wood chips into the smoker’s chip tray until they are level with the top of the container. Next, add the wood chips into a bucket or pan filled with water.
Leave the wood soaking in water for approximately 30 minutes, as this reduces the rate the chips burn in the smoker. You can use numerous types of wood chips that offer different smoky flavors.
If you prefer a mild flavor, maple, apple, and oak wood chips are an excellent choice. For stronger flavors, opt for hickory, pecan, or mesquite chips that infuse your sausages with distinct tastes.
Set your smoker to heat to at 200°F and keep your smoker closed to reduce heat loss. You can use a thermometer to check the smoker is at the desired temperature and drain the wood chips from the water container.
Add them to the chip tray and place them in the bottom of the smoker. Because the wood chips are water-soaked, they produce more smoke than if they were dry and quickly burned in high heat.
When placing the sausages on your smoker rack, keep them one inch apart so there is more smoking consistency throughout the meat. Close the door so smoke doesn’t escape into the air, and leave the sausage to cook for around two hours.
Because you’re smoking sausages for an extended period, ensure there is enough fuel to last for the cooking duration. Open ¼ of the damper at the top of your smoker to allow a small amount of air into the chamber. Oxygen helps fan the flames and promotes smoke circulation for superior results.
When the sausages have changed color and look ready to eat, you can use a meat thermometer to ensure they are hot all the way through. Sausages should have an internal temperature of 160°F.
Smoke Sausage on a Charcoal Grill
You don’t need a smoker to learn how to smoke sausage. Fill an aluminum tray with two cups of warm water, and position it on the charcoal grill’s bottom. Move it to one side of the charcoal so there is plenty of room for fuel, and the heat in the water reduces coal temperature loss.
For different flavors, it’s fun to experiment with other liquids such as cider or beer. The liquids reduce the risk of the sausages drying out during smoking and help make them more tender. Use a chimney to light your charcoal and add it to the grill when it reaches the required temperature. Add your soaked wood chips directly onto the charcoal. Place your sausages on the grill and ensure you position them over the water tray. Close the charcoal grill lid.
This indirect cooking style allows the smoke plenty of time to circulate and reduces the risk of charring your sausages while they are on the grill. Open the damper slightly to allow for air circulation and smoke distribution.
Check your sausages after approximately an hour. They should be ready to serve and have a delicious smoky flavor.
Smoke Sausage on a Gas Grill
Smoking sausages over a gas grill is a quick and easy process. Light a burner and set it to heat to approximately 250°F while leaving the other half of the grill turned off. Add soaked wood chips to an aluminum foil tray and place it above the burner that is turned on. If you don’t have a tray, wrap the wood chips in aluminum foil and poke holes in the top for ventilation.
Add your sausages to the cool half of the grill to allow for indirect heating. Close the lid and partially open the damper so smoke can reach all the sausages on the grill. After approximately 45-60 minutes, your sausages should be ready. You can use a meat thermometer to check they are ready and check that the outside of the meat has become a darker color.
3. Smoking Sausage All Year Round
Learning how to smoke sausage is a handy skill that produces sumptuous results. It’s enjoyable to grill outside in the summer months when you can enjoy the company of friends and family while you smoke sausage on a sunny day.
Because you can add so many wood chip flavors to your smoker or grill, there is no limit to the number of delicious tastes you can discover. Learn how you can cook sausage on a griddle too.
Read also: Guide to smoking brats.