How to Smoke Sausage? A Guide to the World of Smoked Sausages

August 17, 2023
Written by Kristy J. Norton

The first step is to preheat your smoker to a toasty 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Once it’s at the perfect temperature, place the sausages right on the grill grates and let them bask in the smoke for about 2 to 3 hours. Sure, that may seem simple, but mastering the art of smoking sausages is a bit more complex. The key is to balance three essential elements – timing, temperature, and technique, which I’ve mastered through countless trials and tasty errors.

Now, I’m excited to share all the valuable lessons I’ve gathered from my experiences. From tried-and-true recipes to answering your most burning questions – let’s embark on this smoky adventure together, shall we? Just grab some sausages and get ready to soak up all that smoky knowledge.

how to smoke sausage

Smoked Sausage Recipe 

Check out my favorite recipe for smoking sausage:


  • Fresh sausage of your choice
  • Wood chips or chunks for smoking 
  • Seasonings and spices (optional)
  • BBQ sauce or mustard for dipping (optional)
Sausages with Herbs and Spices


Step 1: Get Your Smoking Gear Ready

If you’re using a smoker, fire it up and aim for a temperature of around 225-250°F (107-121°C). No smoker? No worries! You can still rock this recipe using a Kamado grill with indirect heat like the Char-Griller E06614 AKORN

Step 2: Soak Some Wood Chips

I like to use hickory, apple, or mesquite wood chips for smoking my sausages. You can get either of these from the Mr. Bar-B-Q 05011Z lineup of wood smoker chips. 

When you’ve got your wood chips ready, soak them in water for about 30 minutes. This helps them produce more smoke and keeps the smoking going longer.

Step 3: Get the Sausages Prepped

While your smoking machine is heating up, get your fresh raw sausage meats ready. Grab whatever kind of sausage tickles your taste buds — bratwurst, kielbasa, hot dogs — and feel free to experiment with flavors. When I’m feeling fancy, I give them a light score with a sharp knife to let that smoke flavor seep in even deeper.

Step 4: Add Wood Chips

If you’re using a smoker, toss those soaked wood chips in the smoker box or right onto the hot coals. That’ll give you the smoky flavor you crave. 

Grilling? No problem! Make a smoking pouch by wrapping the soaked wood chips in aluminum foil and placing it over the hot coals or burners.

Step 5: Get Them on the Grill

Once your smoker or grill is ready to roll, throw the sausages right on the cooking grates. Close that lid tight to allow the sausage to smoke and let the heat do their thing.

Step 6: Keep an Eye on the Temp

When smoking sausage, always check that temperature gauge and ensure it stays in that sweet spot of 225-250°F (107-121°C) during the whole smoking process. Slow and low is the way to go, letting the sausages soak up all that smoky flavor while staying juicy.

Step 7: Let the Smoking Begin

Smoke the sausages for about two to three hours, depending on their thickness and how much smokiness you want. You don’t have to hang the sausage to smoke it. The hot smoking method is safer than other cold smoking methods which only focus on flavoring the sausage and not cooking it. 

If you’re feeling adventurous, brush them with your favorite BBQ sauce or slather them with some hot mustard. Do this after every 45 minutes of smoking for some extra kick and moisture.

Step 8: Check for Done-ness

To make sure the sausages are cooked through, grab an instant-read thermometer like the ThermoPro digital thermometer. Stick it in the thickest part of a smoked sausage. 

Once the internal temperature reads 160°F (71°C) or more, your beef or pork sausage is fully cooked and safe to eat, as the USDA recommends. You need to take it to 165 if what you’re using is chicken or turkey sausage. 

Step 9: Serve and Savor

When the sausages are at the right internal temperature, take them off the smoker or grill and let them rest for 15 to 30 minutes. That allows the juices to spread around, making them even more mouthwatering. 

You can serve your smoked sausage on buns, pair them with your favorite side dishes, or enjoy them solo. And don’t forget to have extra BBQ sauce or mustard for dipping and drizzling!

Smoking Sausages on the Hot Grill

What Kind of Sausage Can I Smoke?

You’re in for a treat because there are so many delicious sausages for a smoked sausage recipe! Here are some of the most popular ones that’ll have your taste buds doing a happy dance:

  • Bratwurst: These German sausages made from pork, beef, or veal are perfect for smoking. They’ve got a slightly chunky texture and are spiced up with stuff like nutmeg, ginger, and coriander.
  • Kielbasa: Straight out of Poland, kielbasa is a versatile sausage that loves the smoking treatment. It’s usually made from pork and comes seasoned with garlic, black pepper, and marjoram.
  • Italian Sausage: Whether it’s sweet or spicy, Italian sausage can take your taste buds on a smoky ride. Italian sausages are usually pork-based and loaded with flavors like fennel, garlic, and a bunch of herbs like basil and oregano.
  • Chorizo: Chorizo is a Spanish and Mexican sausage that packs a punch of bold, intense flavors. It gets even better when you smoke it, adding depth and complexity. Chorizo is often made from pork and kicked up with chili peppers, paprika, and garlic.
  • Andouille: If you’re looking for some Louisiana flavor, try Andouille. This smoked sausage is all about smoky and spicy goodness. It’s typically made from pork and spiced with cayenne, thyme, and garlic.
  • Breakfast Sausage: Who says you can’t have a breakfast of smoked sausage? Get your hands on some breakfast sausages, usually a mix of pork and kick-ass seasonings like sage and black pepper. When you smoke them up, your breakfast game will never be the same.

What’s the Best Wood for Smoking Sausage?

When it comes to smoking sausages, the wood you choose can make a real difference in the flavor department. Here are some top contenders:

  • Hickory: This wood is the king of smoking flavors. It’s strong and bold and gives your sausage that deep smoky flavor. Hickory pairs well with pretty much any type of sausage, adding a rich and robust flavor profile.
  • Apple: If you want to add some delicious smokey flavor to your sausage, go for apple wood like the Weber wood chips. It’s milder than hickory but still packs a delightful fruity aroma. Applewood is particularly fantastic with pork sausages, creating a mouthwatering combo.
  • Mesquite: When you’re after that bold and earthy flavor, mesquite wood is your go-to. It has a stronger wood flavor, perfect for sausages that can handle a punch. Mesquite works well with spicy and hearty sausages, adding a distinct southwestern flair.
  • Cherry: If you want a hint of sweetness and gorgeous reddish color, cherry wood is a winner. It’s got a mild and slightly fruity flavor that goes well with all sorts of sausages. Especially when you’re grilling up some poultry sausages, cherry wood adds a delicate balance that’ll make your taste buds sing.
  • Pecan: Looking for that nutty and slightly sweet smokiness? Give pecan wood a shot. It’s not as intense as hickory but still brings plenty of flavor to the party. Pecan wood is a versatile choice that pairs nicely with beef, pork, and even game sausages. You’ll get a lovely depth of flavor that’ll have everyone drooling.
Wood Chips for Grilling

How to Store Leftover Sausage?

When you find yourself with some leftover sausage, you don’t want to let that deliciousness go to waste. Here’s what you can do to store your leftover smoked sausage to keep it fresh for later munching:

  • Slice it up: If you want to use the leftover sausage for sandwiches or toppings, slice it up before storing it. It’ll be easier to grab a few pieces when you need them without defrosting the whole thing.
  • Refrigerate it: Wrap your leftover sausage in plastic wrap or put it in an airtight container. Then pop it in the fridge. It’ll stay good for three to four days, ready to be reheated or used in another tasty creation.
  • Freeze it: If you aren’t going to use that sausage within a few days, freeze it for later use. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or put it in a freezer-safe bag. Make sure you squeeze out any air to prevent freezer burn. This way, it can last for one to two months. When you’re ready to gobble it up, thaw it in the fridge overnight or defrost it in the microwave.
  • Label it: Don’t forget to label your stored sausage with the date. That way, you won’t find yourself playing the guessing game later. Trust me, it’s a lifesaver when you’re rummaging through the freezer.

Is Smoked Sausage Already Cooked?

The good news is that most smoked sausages, including the ones you find in stores, are actually cooked sausages. That means you can dig in without worrying about getting a case of raw meat poisoning.

When sausages are smoked, they usually go through a cooking process as well. This helps ensure that they’re safe to eat and that all those flavors are locked in. So you can enjoy them right off the bat!

Note that sausages on the market are either uncooked or ready to eat. The emphasis here is “smoked sausage.”

Now, if you ever come across a sausage that’s not pre-cooked, it’s super important to ensure you cook it thoroughly. You don’t want to mess around with undercooked meat, trust me.

How Long Does It Take to Smoke Sausages?

The smoking time for sausage typically ranges from 2 to 3 hours. It depends on the sausage type and your cooking temp. Thinner sausages, like breakfast sausages, may require less time, while larger sausages, such as bratwurst or kielbasa, may need more time. It’s essential to monitor the internal temperature of the sausage to ensure it reaches a safe level.

Juicy Sausages on the Flaming Grill

Can You Smoke Store-bought Sausage?

Yes, you can smoke store-bought sausage. Many people enjoy smoking pre-packaged sausages to add extra flavor. Just make sure to check the package instructions for any specific recommendations or cooking times. Keep in mind that some store-bought sausages may already be pre-cooked or partially smoked, so adjust your smoking time accordingly.

Remember, these are general guidelines, and it’s always a good idea to consult specific recipes or instructions for the type of sausage you are smoking. 


Smoking sausage is a flavorful but simple journey. Because they often come precooked, it’s more like you’re reheating them. Just preheat your smoker, place the sausages on the grates, and let them smoke for two to three hours. Storing excess smoked sausages when you’re done is super easy too. Simply slice and pack them in a plastic bag, label and store them away in a fridge or freezer.

Whether enjoyed at a backyard cookout or a cozy evening indoors, smoked sausage is a mouthwatering delight that will leave you craving more. I believe this is something anyone can do. So, fire up that smoker, embrace the smoky aroma, and you’ll be happy you did. 

By Kristy J. Norton
I'm Kristy – a chef and connoisseur of all things BBQ! You can find me either in my kitchen (or someone else's) or at a big outdoor barbecue surrounded by friends and family. In both my professional and personal life I’ve picked up more than a few tips and tricks for turning out delicious food. I consider it a privilege to share it with others!
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