How Long To Smoke Sausage To Keep It Juicy?

Sausages are a quick and easy way of having smoked meat on your dining table. These smoked and cured meat products can be a delight when served along appropriate sides dishes like baked beans and barbecue fries. Alternatively, you could eat them as a stand-alone snack.

So then, how long does it take to prepare smoked sausages? Ideally, this is going to take 3-4 hours if you keep slightly higher temperatures in the smoker (180-200 degrees Fahrenheit). You will need to heat the uncooked sausages until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

However, smoking sausages can go for many hours depending on the amount of smoke flavor you need in the end-products. To achieve this, slow smoking is done. The smoked sausages look reddish brown and a little bit shriveled to indicate that they are well smoked. After achieving the correct cooking, sausages are chilled down appropriately to avoid contamination by harmful bacteria and other organisms.

What Kind of Sausage to Smoke

First thing first, let’s check the type of sausage to smoke, but which sausage to smoke depends on your tastes. There are many types, including the Italian sausages, the Mexican Chorizo, Bratwurst, Andouille, kielbasa. What are you interested in?

1. Italian Sausages

Get them in two varieties – hot and sweet. With hot Italian sausages, pork is used with ingredients such as salt, garlic, anise seed, and red pepper flakes. The delicious variety has all other ingredients except the pepper.

2. Chorizo

This is best known as the Mexican variety. It is a raw pork sausage that comes with a reddish color. Its flavor is enhanced by adding varying ingredients; chilies, spices, garlic, vinegar, etc. some chorizo are dry-cured and therefore ready to be eaten without cooking.

3. Bratwurst

Bratwurst sausage recipes are from Germany. It is mostly a mix of pork and veal, but sometimes beef is used. Ingredients used to make this sausage are salt, ginger nutmeg, and caraway. Bratwurst also comes in many varieties.

For example;

Knackwurst – it comes as a pork and beef sausage. It is made plumb and garlicky and having been already smoked or precooked, all you need to do is place it on the grill, and it’ll be good to be eaten.

Merguez – a combination of hot spices have been used to make this sausage. It is from North Africa where paprika, cayenne among other spices are added to the beef or pork meat and grilled.

Bockwurst – this sausage has a pale cream appearance. It is a mix of pork and veal wurst.

Loukaniko – if you go to Greece, you will be treated to the Loukaniko sausage. The ingredients for this sausage are orange zest, wine, fennel, oregano, and many other herbs. You can grill or cold smoke before it is served for eating.

4. Andouille

If you are looking for Cajun-made fresh sausage with spicy flavors, Andouille is the name to go. Although initially French, this product has become a core component in Cajun cuisines such as gumbo and jambalaya. The sausage combines diced pork butt, garlic, black and other types of pepper to level up heat and paprika.

5. Kielbasa

The Polish sausage usually identified by its horse-shoe or u-shape. It could come smoked or just fresh, and commonly, pork is used for the meat. Many varieties of this sausage exist kabanosy, odesskie, krakowska, etc.

What is the Best Way to Smoke Sausage?

If you have ever cooked sausages, you probably know that smoking and grilling sausages aren’t the easiest meal-cooking process. You can get bad results especially when you are new to this world. However, experienced cooks have learned a few tricks to get the job done.

When smoking sausages, you don’t want to finish the process and notice you had been doing the wrong thing all through. To help you maintain the correct focus, let us share with you the tips on how to smoke homemade sausages correctly for an enjoyable snack or meal.


smoker preparation

  • First things first – have the fresh cured sausage right next to you. Prepare the tools you need for the process: wood chips, smoker/grill, digital or instant read thermometer, cool water in a bowl.
  • Place wood chips in cool water bowl – This is very important if you want the best results for the really well-flavored sausages. This soaked wood produces just the right flavor of smoke for the desired overall taste when burnt.
  • Preheat the smoker or grill (2-zone cooking) – This is done to attain the best temperatures, 225° F just before the meat is placed on the smoker racks.
  • Place your sausage on the smoker racks – Keep in mind the best spacing between sausages – one inch is right – to allow the smoke to reach out evenly over the surface of the sausage. This doesn’t only improve the color of your resulting products but also their taste.
  • Then add wood chips – Wood should be added to the smoker to start burning to produce the smoke needed for your meat.


Smoke the sausages for between 30-60 minutes and look on to ensure that they are moderately smoked – don’t over smoke.

Check internal temperature

smoking sausage

After an hour of smoking, you should check the internal temperatures by using a good digital thermometer. The ceiling temp should be 160°F. Make sure this temperature is attained. Moreover, why is it important? Well. You won’t keep it at that level to avoid massive fat meltdown due to extremely high temperatures. The result is sausages with bad taste, dry and unpalatable.

On the other hand, lower temperatures (below the 160°F) are not enough to kill bacteria which is common in any ground meat. For health reasons, you don’t want to eat meat badly cooked. This balance, therefore, must be achieved for the best, safe results.

Change wood at intervals of an hour and a half

As highlighted in the previous point, the temperatures should be kept at the right levels. This should be so throughout the cook time. Replacing the wood chips keeps the smoke coming out for a complete process. This wood should be changed after an hour and a half for excellent outcomes.

Cooling down process

cooling down the sausage

  • It is now time to remove the sausages from the smoker. At this point, they should be covered in their palatable deep brown or dark brown color all over their surfaces.
  • Cool down the smoked sausages – All smoked sausages need to be cooled to keep them “turgid” if that’s the word. Use cold water – place in a bowl of cold water or pour cold water on a stack of sausages.
  • Air-drying follows on – Make sure that you air dry the cooled sausages for about 2-3 hours. Wrap each meat in a wax paper and refrigerate for the enhanced shelf life of 3 to 4 four days. You can also pasteurize them and freeze them in the fridge for an extended time.

Bonus Tips

  • If you want to cold smoke your meat, ensure you are an expert and that you aren’t guessing anything. Otherwise, poorly executed cold smoking is a risk to your health.
  • Don’t use uncured meat.
  • You don’t need to rush the process. Be patient to get good results.

Sausage Smoking Time and Temperature

It is vital to know about how long you are supposed to smoke the sausage. Then also set the temperature right. These factors can make or break your end product depending on how good or bad you manipulate them. Remember you need to get the delicious pieces of sausages for your dinner or mid-day snack.

Sausage smoking time varies across different cooks. Some would say it takes 3 hours and your meat is ready for eating. Others 4 hours. For the novices, it is even recommended that they take their time and not rush things. Therefore, don’t be surprised even if it took others more than five hours to one day to make this thing.

Moreover, it comes to the temperature; keeping the correct figures is paramount. As earlier explained, the right temperatures for sausage cooking are 160 degrees. Both time and temperature are things which determine the quality of the sausages you get at the end.


For the most delicious sausages, how long you take to smoke them is critical. It is something if you are a beginner, patience and learning are paramount, or you may end up serving poorly cooked meat with potential bacterial poisoning.

You need to check that every step on the procedure is followed – without skipping a single one! Moreover, when you are getting started in the process, ensure you use only cured meat unless you know how to cure it yourself. Temperature and time factors are going to be things you must pay full attention.

In that regard, avoid too high temperatures. They could result in the sausage cracks and a lot of fat drips. The correct temperature should be maintained – 160 degrees.

Finally, this might look a natural process on paper at first; mostly if you are new to it. Then it gets difficult practically. However, with this guide, you will find it both easy to understand on paper and even much more comfortable on the ground as long as you keep practicing always.

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