Smoking the Perfect Sausage
getting started

Smoking the Perfect Sausage

February 10, 2014

Posted under:   getting startedhints & tips


Smoked sausage has been made and enjoyed around the world for centuries. Originally, smoking sausage was to preserve meat for a longer period of time, but with the invention of freezers and refrigerators, smoked sausage has become a delicacy purely for its smoky flavor and these days is often served as a snack by itself, or as an ingredient of stews, soups, and other meals. Though smoked sausage is widely available in stores, many hunters and chefs prefer learning how to smoke sausage themselves to create unique flavors.

Getting Started: Start with a stuffed casing at room temperature, then dry your sausage before smoking.

Drying the Sausage

You can achieve the drying by placing the sausage in your smokehouse with the damper open at about 140-150° for one hour

Top 5 Reasons for Drying Sausage:

  1. Drying the sausage brings all the sausages to about the same temperature for an even smoke color.
  2. Drying conditions the surface of the sausage to ready it to accept smoke
  3. Drying causes a “skin” to form on the outside surface of the sausage.
  4. Drying gives the collagen casing strength to hold up during cooking.
  5. Drying also attaches the casing to the sausage so as to avoid forming a fat layer between the sausage and the casing.

Smoking the Sausage

Smoking can be achieved by placing a pan of sawdust/chips in the smoker on the burner. The sawdust/chips must be soaked in water at least one hour. Soak in half the volume of water that you have sawdust/chips. (4 cups sawdust/2 cups water) Heat the smoker to approximately 170⁰ to ignite the sawdust/chips to achieve smoke. Close the damper to half open at this point.

Cooking the Sausage

As the sawdust/chips burn, the water will evaporate and a dry heat will set in. The dry smoke will set the smoke in the sausage. After most of the sawdust/chips have burned, remove the pan from the smoker and let the pan cool for 5-10 minutes. After this time, fill the pan half full of water and return to the burner. Close the damper and turn the temperature to approximately 180-190⁰, this will cause a high humidity to cook the sausage. High humidity will cook the sausage very quickly as well as tenderize the casings; especially natural casings. High humidity also helps to cook the sausage without drying it out too much. Cook sausage until the internal temperature of 165⁰ is reached.

Cooling After Smoking

Proper cooling is important for the safety of the product as well as the desired look of the finished product. Remove the sausage from the smoker and place in cold water to stop the cooking process. The cold water will start the sausage cooling and keep the casing tender. After cooling in the water bath place the sausage in the refrigerator. If the product will not be consumed within 2 weeks, properly wrap and put in the freezer.

A little time and patience can give excellent results.

Still deciding which Casings to use for your sausage? Download our handy chart on Choosing the Perfect Casing .

Need more information on Casings and why to use them? Learn more about Sausage Casings here.

Make Homemade Sausage Learn How to Make Your Own Sausage

Need help troubleshooting problems with Casings? View Troubleshooting Casings here.