This lip smacking tender Smoked Bologna recipe knocks your socks off on the first bite. Not only is this super simple to make, it makes for an incredible dish for your cookouts and tailgating.
Whether you choose to eat this bologna sliced plain off of the chub, grilled up and added to sandwich makings or made into bite sized pieces of Bologna Smoked Ends (think Pork Burnt Ends but with bologna) this recipe is just a blast to make and so delicious to eat. We like to serve this on game days in front of the big screen with Smoked Brisket and Beer Queso, Beer Corn Crack Dip or a big batch of Smoked Trout Dip (spoiler alert: this one never has leftovers!)
🍽️ Why This Works
Simple | This is a great simple recipe that yields such positive results so beginners and expert grillers alike are going to love smoking this.
Great for Entertaining | Why not bring back all of those B-O-L-O-G-N-A memories (do you hear the commercial in your head?) at your cookout. We’ve made this recently for a 4th of July weekend cookout and it was a recipe that brought up so many memories.
Versatile Ways to Smoke | The directions are pretty simple and the magic can happen when you decide to change of the base recipe and make it your own. Change up the sauce or the rub and this recipe will be completely different each time. Also consider changing the smoking wood as that will determine smoke flavor strength.
⏲️ Equipment and Tools
Plate Setter – For Kamado style grills, add a plate setter to create an indirect heating environment. We want this bologna to smoke, not grill.
BBQ Brush – It’s always good to have a long handled basting brush on hand. The long handle keeps your hands further away from the heat source.
📝 Ingredient Notes
Bologna Chub – Just ask your Deli counter in the store for the whole bologna block. The chub usually comes in at five pounds and the clerks like it that they don’t have to cut it for you. This cut is made up of beef, veal and pork all emulsified into one big chunk.
Dry Rub – The dry rub would fall right off of the bologna if you didn’t use the binding agent. You can use your favorite BBQ rub for this recipe and it will turn out beautifully. It won’t have an overpowering flavor. I typically like to add a bit of brown sugar to the rub for some additional sweetness. Whip up the All Purpose Rub, The Best Dry Rub for Ribs or the Pulled Pork Rub for yummy options straight out of the pantry.
Binding Agent – For this one, we used a combination of BBQ and mustard. You’re not going to taste much of it, nut you need the moisture for the dry rub to stick. You can choose to combine it as we did or to use either ingredient on its own.
Step One: Remove the plastic wrap and the red liner from the bologna. Carefully cut ¼” slits over the entire bologna at about 1-inch intervals to form a diamond pattern. Use a sharp paring knife or the tip of a sharp knife. As the bologna smokes, it will separate slightly along these slits.
Step Two: Combine the BBQ sauce and mustard together and rub it liberally on the bologna. Make sure to cover the two ends as well. You can make your own BBQ sauce like Beer BBQ Sauce or Smoked Pumpkin Bourbon BBQ Sauce.
Step Three: Sprinkle the rub over the entire chub. You probably don’t even need to pat it down to get it to stick, but if you do, make sure to press gently straight down and don’t smear it.
Step Four: Preheat the grill to 250°F on indirect heat. For a gas grill, turn off the center burners. For the kamado style, add a plate setter. Add some smoking chips. We love to use our own homemade fire starters to get the grill started quickly.
Note: Don’t worry too much about what kind of wood chips you use. I still prefer a mild flavor from Cherry or Apple wood, but this is a great opportunity to try wood chunks of mesquite or hickory. The smoke will only penetrate the outside ¼” or so, so a stronger flavor will work extremely well!
Step Five: Add the bologna straight on the grill grates and let it smoke for 2-4 hours. Since the meat is precooked, you don’t need to worry about getting it to a certain temperature for food safety concerns. Look at the outside and when it is dark and almost crispy, remove it. Look for the outside of the bologna to have a slight “bark”, if you are wanting the exterior to be almost crunchy.
Step Six: With 30 minutes remaining, brush on the BBQ sauce glaze. This will take ½ – 1 cup of sauce. Brush all over the bologna and allow it to continue smoking for 30 more minutes before removing it from the smoker.
Step Seven: Slice this thin if you want to use this for sandwiches, or thick slices if you plan on turning this into burnt ends. If making sandwiches, slice this up and put on buns with mayo, lettuce, tomatoes and serve. I like to throw the slice back on the grill for a minute or two to get the nice sear marks like shown in the photo below.
❗ Expert Tips
Choose your wood based on how much smoke you like. If you prefer a softer smoked flavor, stick with fruit woods. If you like a bold smoke kick, make sure to pick up a bag of mesquite or hickory. The bologna doesn’t smoke the entire way through so it’s just the outer crust that really gets the smoked flavor.
If your bologna has a red coating or wrap on it, remove it before starting the instructions.
Look for other mustards at the store to use instead of yellow mustard. Consider spicy or Dijon. The spicy mustard will give the exterior a little bit more kick.
Consider wrapping it in bacon like we did the Smoked Pork Tenderloin and adding the rub and sauce over it.
If you see a garlic bologna, don’t hesitate to pick that up for smoking. You won’t need to season that too much as it’s already packed with flavor.
If you like a good cajun seasoning, rub the chub with that. This is the perfect recipe to try out your favorites.
Additions and Substitutions
The easiest modifications to make in this recipe are the binder and the seasonings in the rub.
For the binding agent, consider using a simple olive oil, or go for something more exotic like melted butter, barbecue sauce, steak sauce, mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, or even a hot sauce. Be creative here. While you will inherit some of the flavors, it will be tempered significantly. You really just want something that will help the dry rub stick to the bologna.
Changing up the rub is my favorite thing to do. We used a Famous Dave’s BBQ rub, but make your own or use your favorite store-bought one. Since the chub is pretty large, think ahead to how much flavoring will be on the meat after you slice it for bologna sandwiches. Since there won’t be a lot, now is a good time to be very generous with flavoring it.
If you are adding additional seasonings to the rub, consider brown sugar, salt, black pepper, paprika, onion powder, or garlic powder. These really bring out the flavor!
We typically make this into smoked bologna sandwiches or just serve them as slices. Since they will be on the smoker for a few hours, it is a good opportunity to include some side dishes that also take some time.
Smoked Potato Salad – Use your favorite potato salad recipe, or use ours. The key difference here is to smoke the potatoes before cutting them of the dish. It is easy to add them to the smoker at the same time as the bologna.
Smoked Cream Cheese with Crackers – While the bologna is smoking, add some cream cheese to the grill and let your guests snack on an amazing smoked cream cheese dip that will have them screaming for more.
Smoked Sweet Potatoes – Throw some sweet potatoes on the smoker at the same time and have them ready when it is time tot serve.
Is Bologna Precooked?
Yes. You do not need to do anything other than slice and serve, but this smoked bologna recipe is designed to add a lot of flavor. It is well work the effort to
❓ Recipe FAQ
The mustard is the magic that holds the rub onto the outside. It helps HOLD the rub on the bologna so it doesn’t fall off. It also helps develop that smoky bark on the outside that a lot of grillers love.
Yes. Cut up the bologna into serving sizes for your family and then double wrap them for the freezer. We like to wrap in press n seal and then a freezer safe gallon bag. Alternatively, we use a FoodSaver Vacuum seal machine which does not allow any air to get in at all.
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- 5 lb Bologna chub
- ½ cup BBQ Sauce
- ½ cup Yellow Mustard
- ½ cup Dry Rub your choice
BBQ Sauce Glaze
- ¾ cup BBQ Sauce
- Remove the plastic wrap and the red liner from the bologna. Carefully cut ¼" deep slits along the sides at about one inch intervals to form a diamond pattern. As the bologna smokes, it will separate along these slits.
- Combine the BBQ sauce and mustard together and rub it liberally on the bologna. Make sure to cover the two ends as well.
- Sprinkle the rub over the entire chub. You probably don't even need to pat it down to get it to stick, but if you do, make sure to press gently straight down and don't smear it.
- Preheat the grill to 250°F on indirect heat. For a gas grill, turn off the center burners. For the kamado style, add a plate setter. Add smoking chips at this point.
- Smoke the bologna chub for 2-4 hours. Since this is precooked, you don't need to worry about getting it to a certain temperature. Look at the outside and when it is dark and almost crispy, remove it.
- With 30 minutes remaining, brush on the BBQ sauce glaze which is just the same bbq sauce used before without the mustard. This will take ½-1 cup of sauce. Brush all over the bologna and allow to continue smoking for 30 more minutes before removing it.
- Slice this thin if you want to use this for sandwiches, or thicker chunks if you plan on turning this into burnt ends. If making sandwiches, slice this up and put on buns with mayo, lettuce, tomatoes and serve.
Ginny Collins is a passionate foodie and recipe creator of Savor and Savvy and Kitchenlaughter. Indoors she focuses on easy, quick recipes for busy families and kitchen basics. Outdoors, she focuses on backyard grilling and smoking to bring family and friends together. She is a lifelong learner who is always taking cooking classes on her travels overseas and stateside. Her work has been featured on MSN, Parade, Fox News, Yahoo, Cosmopolitan, Elle, and many local news outlets. She lives in Florida where you will find her outside on the water in her kayak, riding her bike on trails, and planning her next overseas adventure.