Is Smoked Sausage Cooked? How to Find Out?

February 28, 2023
Written by Kristy J. Norton

Generally, hot-smoked sausages are fully cooked, while cold-smoked sausages are not. With that being said, you need to check the meat’s package to confirm if it was fully cooked or uncooked. This simple step is critical to avoiding food poisoning by ensuring that you know what you’re eating.

Over the years, I’ve cooked many different types of sausages because they are a must-have treat at any barbecue. Due to this, I’m well-versed in cooking smoked sausage and spotting cooked and undercooked sausages. Today, I’ll share all my knowledge, so you’ll know what to do the next time you buy sausages.

Is Smoked Sausage Cooked

Is Smoked Sausage Already Cooked? 

Most smoked sausages on the market are cooked and edible right out of the pack. You can also eat sausages that have been air-dried after being cooked with curing salts. Like smoking, curing allows you to preserve the meat. I’ve found that curing is more effective than smoking.

There are two ways you can smoke sausages. The first method is to hot smoke your sausage at temperatures ranging from 140°F to 180°F. The other method involves cold smoking the sausage at temperatures below 85 °F.

Most hot smoked sausages are fully cooked. However, some cold smoked sausages are not fully cooked. Remember to read the sausage’s label to verify if you need to cook it before consuming.

From what I’ve observed, sausages like hot dogs, wieners, and bratwursts come precooked, while breakfast sausages and chorizos are usually packed uncooked.

How to Cook Sausages?

There are various methods to cook smoked sausage, including oven roasting, braising, grilling, and slow cooking. Here’s how to prepare this tasty protein:

1. Oven-roasting 

First, to cook smoked sausage in an oven, set the oven to 425°F and allow it to pre-heat before cooking the sausages. The smoked sausages can be roasted whole or sliced in half. It’s up to you.

Bear in mind that the sausage will appear browner if it is cut in half because the inner parts will be more exposed to heat.

Moving on, bake the smoked sausages for 10–15 minutes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

After 10 minutes, the sausages start browning. Keep an eye on them to prevent burning the sausages. Once the cooked sausages reach an internal temperature of 160°F, you can turn off the oven and serve.

2. Braising

To braise smoked sausages, add one or two tablespoons of oil—I recommend canola oil—to a cast-iron skillet and heat it over medium-high heat. The sausages should be deep brown after searing each side for about four minutes. 

Then, add enough meat stock to cover the smoked sausage in the pan (could be chicken, turkey, or beef stock). Don’t forget to slice onions for extra flavor. When the liquid has evaporated and a glaze has formed over the sausages, turn the heat off and serve.

3. Slow Cooking

This cooking method is recommended for cold smoked sausages. Slice an onion and add chopped smoked sausage to the slow cooker. Then, mix vegetable broth with a tablespoon of brown sugar and coat the sausages with the mixture.

Remember to cook smoked sausages on low heat for about 5 hours. You can thicken the sauce by adding a mix of water and cornstarch into the cooker.

4. Grilling

Grilled sausages are some of my favorite snacks. This method imparts a unique, smoky flavor to the meat, especially when cooked with wood chips. Set the grill up and heat it to medium-high, then add the sausages to the grill once it is ready.

The sausages should be cooked for roughly 12 to 14 minutes, until they reach 160°F. Ensure that you flip the smoked sausage over every three to four minutes. The result should be slightly charred and crunchy meat.

Man Grills Sausages on an Outdoor Grill

Can You Eat Undercooked Sausages?

You shouldn’t eat undercooked sausages under any circumstances. That’s why it is crucial to determine if the smoked sausage is properly cooked or not.

Even though most smoked sausages are cooked, ensure that you read the package labels to double-check.

You could get sick if you eat smoked sausages that aren’t fully cooked. Eating undercooked sausages can lead to stomach pain, nausea, tiredness, diarrhea, constipation, or a serious case of food poisoning.

How to Store Smoked Sausages?

If you have purchased smoked sausages but do not intend to cook them yet, you can easily store them.

As long as you don’t open the pack, dry-cured sausages like pepperoni or salami can be stored at room temperature for up to six weeks without spoiling. 

Dry-cured sausages can also be kept in the fridge for as long as the packaging is sealed, or for as little as three weeks if it is unsealed.

Typically, sausages that are not dried are perishable. So, if you open them, you refrigerate smoked sausage for a week. On the other hand, you can freeze the smoked sausage. Frozen sausages can be kept for two months.

How to Spot Cooked Sausage?

The most reliable way to check if your smoked sausages are cooked is by using a meat thermometer to read the internal temperature.

Stick the probe in the center of the smoked sausage and check if the temperature reaches 160 degrees. 165 °F is the magic figure for cooked sausages. So, if the meat reaches that temperature, you’re good to go.

Their appearance will also let you know if they’re done. If you’ve been cooking sausages for as long as I have, the meat’s color should tell you all you need to know. However, this method is reserved for experienced smokers.

The sausages should have a pink, steamy center when sliced and slightly charred outsides.  

Fortunately, because most smoked sausage brands are cured and precooked, all you must do is reheat them. However, if you’re dealing with uncooked sausage, keep your meat thermometer nearby. 

Grilled Sausages with Spices


Smoked sausages are a tasty delicacy. In general, hot-smoked sausages are fully cooked, compared to cold-smoked sausages, which are not. To find out if the sausages are fully cooked, look at the packaging. Otherwise, ensure that you cook smoked sausages until they reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

Remember, even though they are not considered completely cooked, cured, or smoked, most smoked sausages might not need to be cooked again before eating. So, ensure that you always double-check the sausage’s packaging.

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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