If you are like us, you’ve probably bought pre-cooked smoked sausages in the hot dog section of the grocery store for campfires. They are reasonably tasty too! But, what if you could make your own at home? That’s the question we asked ourselves. The answer was a given. Smoked sausages, smoked at home, are a thousand times better and just as easy, if not easier, than burning a pre-cooked sausage on a stick.
🍽️ Why This Works
Very Simple Process. Put your sausages in the smoker. Take them out when they are done. It doesn’t get any easier than that.
Very Fast to Smoke. Some meats take hours and are really delicious. Other meats can be smoked in an hour or less and still taste amazing. Smoked sausages fall into the second category.
Perfect for fire-pit weather. Just because you have a fire in the fire pit doesn’t mean you have to cook food over it. Marshmallows, yes. Food, no. Throw your favorite sausages in the smoker and enjoy just *sitting* around the fire. No stress. An hour later, your beautifully smoked meal is ready to eat.
Raw Sausage – Pick your favorite! You can find so much variety in raw sausages it is a real treat. For something really special, try making a trip to a local deli and market for freshly made sausage.
Wood Chips – Use what you have or try something new. We like to use a fruit wood like apple or cherry.
⏲️ Equipment and Tools
- Smoker. We use the Big Green Egg. It can be used as a grill, a smoker, or a combination of both. It has a generous cooktop without being too large. And, it has stood the test of time. However, feel free to use what you already have. A Traeger grill or another pellet grill, gas grills, and electric grills are also good options.
- BBQ Tongs. If you are serious about smoking meat, you should not be without a good pair.
- Apple Wood Chunks. Keep a variety of wood chips on hand so you will be ready for anything! This is especially important if you have a spouse who likes to randomly pick up meat to try on the smoker when he is out and about.
🌳What Is The Best Wood For Smoking Sausage?
For sausages, the smoking time is short so you have a lot of options. We prefer mild fruit woods like apple, cherry, or peach. You could also go with oak for a medium smoke or even hardwood like hickory, mesquite, and pecan for a bolder smoke flavor.
Sausages can be made of pork, beef, or a combination. This can also impact your decision. Feel free to check out our smoking wood chart for more wood pairings.
I’d love to know what interesting combinations you have found!
Step One: Preheat your smoker to 225ºF with a base of smoking wood chips or chunks. Let it get nice and smokey.
Step Two: Place sausages directly on the grill grate of your smoker.
Step Three: Flip them over once or twice during the smoke time. It will take about an hour.
Step Four: Keep a close eye on the sausages because cooking times can vary greatly. When the internal temperature reaches 160ºF pull them off and let them rest while you gather toppings.
Step Five: Serve with all your favorite fun toppings and sides!
❗ Recipe Tips and Tricks
👉Sausages vary significantly in length and thickness. Always cook them to the proper internal temperature and don’t base your smoking of the meat on a specific length of time. Use an instant-read thermometer probe to check the temperature. Pull them off the smoker grate when they reach 160ºF and let them rest. During that time, they will raise to 165ºF which is the USDA recommended internal temperature for sausages.
👉Don’t use a smoking temperature under 200ºF. This will lengthen the cooking time and the sausage can end up dry. We smoked the sausage at 225ºF and it was perfect!
👉There is no need to place a water pan inside the grill or smoker to maintain humidity. This is a short smoke that will take about 1 hour and you’ll be smoking your sausages based on internal temp. They will come out perfectly juicy on the inside without a water pan.
👉Avoid overcrowding the sausages. Place them on the grill with enough space between them for the smoke to circulate. Our goal here is to get even cooking and smoke flavor for all the sausages.
👉Don’t forget to let your sausages rest for about five minutes. This seals up the juices inside nicely and finishes up the cooking process.
🧑🍳 Storage and Reheating
Keep leftover smoked sausages in the refrigerator for up to a week. Freeze the sausages if you don’t plan on eating them within the week. Watch for signs that they are going bad – sliminess, a film on the outside, offputting smell, discoloration, or mold. They also will dry out over time.
Reheat leftover sausages on a hot skillet or frying pan. You can microwave them, but they can go from barely hot to tough as nails really fast with that method. Proceed with caution. You can also always just throw them back on the grill, or (gasp!) put them on a stick and reheat them over your fire pit fire.
Your leftover smoked sausages can be added to so many different dishes! Once you’ve enjoyed them traditionally on buns, consider slicing and adding them to soups, stews, sandwiches, salads, rice bowls, pasta dishes, chili, baked potatoes, or next to eggs and toast.
Sausage has so much flavor and can be a welcome addition to boring recipes. Smoked sausage pairs well with chicken, shrimp, seafood, and beef.
🌶️Additions and Substitutions
You can go in so many different directions with this to add variety!
The first thing you can do is enjoy sausages in a variety of buns. Try pretzel buns, authentic hoagie buns, homemade buns, whole wheat buns, or sesame buns. You can even go bunless!
For toppings, you might choose coleslaw, sauerkraut, chili, banana peppers, pickled peppers, pickles, horseradish sauce, honey mustard, fancy varieties of relish, sautéed onions, and red peppers, a homemade aioli, or just keep it traditional with mustard, ketchup, and relish.
A barbecue sauce is always a welcome addition, whether it’s a topping or served on the side as a dipping sauce. For sausages smoked with apple wood and other mild wood, we love pairing them with a sweet and tangy sauce like our cherry Bourbon BBQ sauce.
Try different sausages! I love the variety available and each one brings a different flavor profile to the table, so keep changing things up and looking for new and interesting raw sausages to try in the smoker. Any raw sausage will do: pork sausage, turkey sausage, chicken sausage, andouille, kielbasa, chorizo, Italian sausage, and breakfast sausage are all excellent options!
Traditional campfire fare still works even when your sausages aren’t cooked over an open fire. Chips and dip, fruit salad, brownies, and other finger foods are all great choices.
Lighter vegetable sides like roasted green beans, grilled corn on the cob, grilled parsnips, grilled broccolini, grilled parmesan sweet potatoes, and grilled baby potatoes with garlic will perfectly complement the hearty nature of smoked sausages.
If you want to break from tradition, serve your smoked sausages diced up and piled on rice with black beans, and sautéed veggies. Or on a pile of pasta with alfredo sauce and vegetables. These are also great ways to use the leftovers!
♨️More Grilled & Smoked Sausage Recipes
It’s not just the impressive variety of sausages we have at our disposal, we also have so many recipes for the grill and smoker to use them in.
- Use your favorite sausages to make smoked shotgun shells, smoked pig shots, or burnt ends as we did for the hot dog burnt ends.
- Grilled sausage and bell peppers is an amazingly easy meal considering the flavor burst you’re getting.
- Smoked bratwurst is one of our favorite types of sausage to make and so is grilled beer brat chili. I guarantee that chili will be fabulous even if you replace the brats with another sausage.
- Another recipe where you can play with different types of sausage is our honey mustard beer brat bites. This is a well-loved snack in my home and simple enough to make for a crowd!
- I absolutely cannot leave smoked hot dogs out of this list. This is the ultimate hot dog experience that will make any other variation pale in comparison.
❓ Recipe FAQ
Yes. Any raw sausage will do. Check the label to make sure it’s not pre-smoked or pre-cooked. As exceptions, hot dogs and kielbasa are two types of precooked sausages that will be even tastier if you smoke them.
However, you can grill precooked sausages. Cook over direct heat until they reach an internal temperature of 160ºF.
Smoked sausage, by its definition, is already cooked. You cannot eat raw sausage but if it has been smoked it is cooked. This includes the pre-cooked smoked sausages you can buy in the supermarket.
This is a good question and depends on the manufacturer. One hidden ingredient that contains gluten is certain forms of MSG. Unless a product with MSG specifically says that it is gluten-free, it likely contains gluten. If you are making your own smoked sausage, it is unlikely that they would contain gluten but you should always check the ingredients for wheat products if you have an allergic or gluten-sensitive guest.
Smoked bratwurst is a very specific type of smoked sausage. Bratwurst is a German sausage made from pork with pepper, ginger, nutmeg, and caraway. The exact recipe of the sausage mixture and additional spices will vary by region. While all bratwurst is sausage, not all sausage is bratwurst and you can find a million other varieties of sausage to smoke at home.
Short answer: don’t. We recommend smoking sausages at temperatures over 200ºF for the best results. Smoking at a too-low temperature will lengthen the cooking time and can dry out the sausages.
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- Apple Wood Chunks
- 8 Sausages we used Hungarian and Polish
- Set the smoker to 225°F and place the sausages on the grill grate using a fruit wood like apple or cherry.
- Smoke the sausages until the internal temperature reaches 160°F. Remove from the smoker, add to buns and top with all of your favorite toppings.
Jason’s been firing up the grill for over 30 years after graduating from the US Coast Guard Academy. His love of finely-grilled steak and chicken led him to buy his first Weber grill to put on his apartment patio in 1992. Each military move led to a new grill (a mixture of gas and charcoal) until he fell in love with the Big Green Egg in 2008. Since then, he has added another 4 grills to the collection. Yes, he has a problem. Jason loves smoking in the ceramic BGE with exotic woods including olive wood from Egypt and hard to find varieties such as sassafras and orange wood. Jason takes the term “foodie” to a whole new level, jumping at the chance to take food tours and cooking classes during foreign travels. These have provided inspiration to incorporate new ideas into recipes when he gets back home. He has been featured in Fox News, Parade, Yahoo News, Kansas City Living and more. After retiring from the military and moving to southwest Florida, he has focused grilling and smoking locally sourced meats and fish (read: he likes to catch his own fish!)