Sausage is one of the more popular foods during a barbecue. I tend to eat a lot of it during outdoor cookouts because of its smoky flavors and spices.
So how exactly do you do to achieve that accentuated flavor? Well, there are some factors to consider, such as the type of sausage you are smoking, the smokier itself, and the temperature.
There are also two ways you can smoke sausages depending on what they are for – if they are for storing or serving right away.
Most smokers can get up to 300 degrees Fahrenheit, and while heat is important, temperature control is even more important to achieve that smoky flavor.
Smoking sausage also preserves the meat in the casing so you can store the sausages longer in the fridge or in a cold area.
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With that, it can be a little difficult finding your first sausage smoker so let us take a look at the best smokers for sausage and see which one is for you.
Different Ways To Smoke Sausages
There are two main ways to smoke sausage. One is hot smoking, which is probably what you are more familiar with, and the other is cold smoking.
Both use a relatively low temperature to accentuate the sausage flavor or cook it completely. However, as the name suggests, cold smoking uses a much lower temperature.
So let us take a look at how these two work.
Hot Smoking a Sausage
Hot smoking is the smoking process where you intend to cook the sausages completely. Once they are out of the smoker, they should be ready to be eaten.
The smoker is set to a relatively higher temperature (180-225 degrees Fahrenheit) and is maintained for a couple of hours or until the sausage is cooked.
Just like other cuts of meat, the sausages are smoked until the internal temperature reaches the zone where it is safe to eat without any harmful bacteria present.
This process also adds that smoky flavor that everybody loves. After hot-smoking sausages, you can serve them and enjoy the flavorful links.
Cold Smoking a Sausage
Cold smoking, on the other hand, is a little more complicated. This process needs the smoker to have the best temperature control and heat retention.
Cold smoking sausages require a temperature of 85 degrees Fahrenheit. You can go higher but not past 125 degrees Fahrenheit so the sausage will not cook.
This makes electric and natural gas smokers perfect for cold smoking because of their heat consistency and easy temperature control.
That is the main thing about cold smoking, you are not going to cook the sausages all the way through. Cold smoking is done to accentuate the flavors of the sausage and add a smoky flavor.
If you have an experience with cold-smoking cheese, it is almost the exact same process. Cold smoking prolongs the quality of the sausages as well.
Note: Sausages that are cold smoked should be cured with salt or fermented first.
Cold smoking takes a lot of time so you will need a lot of patience. Cold smoking can last anywhere from 8 hours or up to 24 hours.
After that, the sausages should have an internal temperature of 85 degrees Fahrenheit and can now be stored in the fridge for the following days.
Best Smokers For Cold Smoking Sausage
|Cuisinart COS-330 Vertical Electric Smoker||9.5 out of 10|
|Char-Broil 19202101 Deluxe Black Digital Electric Smoker||9 out of 10|
|Traeger Grills Tailgater 20 Portable Wood Pellet Grill And Smoker||8 out of 10|
|Masterbuilt 20077515 Front Controller Electric Smoker||8.5 out of 10|
|Smoke House Products Big Chief Electric Smoker||8.5 out of 10|
1. Cuisinart COS-330 Vertical Electric Smoker
Cuisinart has built yet another amazing electric smoker in the COS-330. This vertical smoker has 548 square inches of interior which means that you can smoke a variety of food.
It has three stainless steel shelves that are all removable for maximum versatility. You can create the perfect space to hand sausages in this smoker.
There is also a dedicated tray that holds both water and wood to provide that smoky flavor and heat neutralizer from the water.
- It has a built-in thermometer to ensure your sausages are cold smoking.
- The stainless steel durable outer material ensures holding a lot of sausages when smoking.
- Three removable stainless steel shelves for versatility so you can smoke sausages while smoking other foods like cheese.
- It has a narrow design so you can fit it on your patio for cold-smoking sausages when it rains.
- It has a totally-closed door, so you cannot see the sausages inside while smoking.
2. Char-Broil Deluxe Black Digital Electric Smoker
As I mentioned, heat retention is essential when cold-smoking sausages.
The Char-Broil 19202101 has a double wall construction, allowing it to maintain its temperature.
This is one of the easiest smokers to use, especially with its digital controls and LED display.
You also get to track the temperature of the sausages inside with the included removable food thermometer.
Another thing that I like about this when it comes to cold-smoking sausages is that it has a glass door that allows you to see the sausages without interrupting the smoking process.
- It has a glass door so you can keep an eye on the sausages inside without opening the smoker.
- Adjustable and removable racks so you can hang your sausages inside.
- Digital control and display allow you to easily set the right temperature.
- A food thermometer gives you the exact internal temperature of the sausages.
- The smoker, at times, runs hotter than the set temperature so keep your temperature low.
3. Traeger Grills Portable Wood Pellet Grill And Smoker
Trager grills are known for being versatile and easy to use. The Tailgater 20 is a portable version of the amazing grills that you can use for cold-smoking sausages.
The Tailgater 20 can only get as low as 180 degrees Fahrenheit so you will need the cold smoke adapter.
This is a Traeger attachment that allows you to suspend the food in the smoker.
It has a Digital Arc Controller which makes sure that the temperature is stable.
It is also a small smoker that you can move wherever you want to smoke the sausages.
- It has precise temperature control for smoking at low temperatures.
- Easy to move around so you can quickly move it when it rains while smoking or when you want to smoke anywhere else.
- Wood pellets bring a delicious smoky flavor to the sausages.
- It is a versatile smoker, so you can also cook other recipes along with your sausages.
- It cannot go to lower temperatures so you will need a cold smoker adapter for cold-smoking sausages.
- You need an electric outlet nearby for the smoker.
4. Masterbuilt 20077515 Front Controller Electric Smoker
This Masterbuilt smoker is made for large groups of people. It has a total of 730 square inches of cooking chamber that you can also adjust.
The adjustable racks are perfect for making space to hang the sausages.
The blue LED display also gives you the needed info even when it is bright outside.
One thing that I like about this smoker is the RF Controller. This gives you control over the temperature and allows you to see the actual temperature of the sausages inside.
- RF Controller easily sets the temperature for you.
- Adjustable racks for hanging or arranging your sausages.
- A large cooking chamber that can smoke sausages for a large group of people.
- The glass door is perfect for keeping an eye on the sausages while cold-smoking.
- The RF Controller can sometimes be unreliable, so you must use a meat probe.
- It can sometimes produce too thick smoke to see, even through the glass door.
5. Smoke House Products Big Chief Electric Smoker
With a large capacity that can cook up to 50 pounds of meat, you can surely cold-smoke a lot of sausages in the Big Chief electric smoker.
It has one of the most amazing ventilation systems for any smoker that makes sure that the smoke and heat are controlled properly to smoke the sausages evenly.
The Big Chief electric smoker easily plugs in and starts while also being lightweight so as long as you have a socket near you, you can cold-smoke sausages with it anywhere.
- Lightweight and portable so you can smoke sausages anywhere.
- Great ventilation that allows it to cold-smoke with consistent airflow and temperature.
- It has a large wood chip pan so even with cold-smoking sausages that take hours, you do not need to constantly refill the wood chips.
- Easy to clean with dishwasher-safe drip cups.
- It is not well-insulated so it does not work that well in cold areas.
Hot Smoking Fresh Sausages
As we have mentioned above, hot-smoking fresh sausage means you will cook the sausages to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit or more.
While the process does add a smoky flavor to the sausages, the main purpose is to fully cook the sausages so they are ready to be served once out of the smoker.
The common temperature of a smoker when hot-smoking is still relatively low compared to other grill recipes. You need the smoker to be at 225 to 275 degrees Fahrenheit.
At this temperature, your fresh sausages should finish smoking within 2 to 3 hours with a nice locked-in flavor and smoky taste.
Just like any other cooking method, temperature control is essential when hot-smoking sausages.
Since the smoker can be pretty hot and the sausages will stay there for quite a while, it is best to hang the sausages.
When the sausages are placed on a rack, there is a tendency for the casing to burn or even burst while cooking.
This cannot be good if you plan to freeze the hot-smoked sausages. So vertical smokers are the best choices when it comes to hot-smoking sausages.
Best Vertical Cabinet Smokers For Hot Smoking Sausage
|CampChef XXL Vertical Smoker||9 out of 10|
|Char-Broil The Big Easy TRU-Infrared Smoker Roaster & Grill||9.5 out of 10|
|Louisiana Grills 65700-LGV7PC1||8 out of 10|
|Dyna-Glo Signature Series DGSS1382VCS-D Heavy-Duty Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker And Grill||9.5 out of 10|
|Cuisinart COS-244 Vertical Propane Smoker||9.5 out of 10|
1. CampChef XXL Vertical Smoker
The camp chef XXL is a vertical smoker that can get up to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Enough to hot-smoke sausages but not as hot as other vertical smokers.
What I love about this smoker is that it includes two meat probes to track the internal temperature of the sausages inside.
There are also dedicated hooks for rings and linked sausages when hot-smoking. It is well-insulated and can maintain the temperature with only small fluctuations.
- It has dedicated hooks for hanging your sausages.
- Well-maintained temperature to cook the sausages evenly.
- Adjustable and removable racks to put as many sausages as you want inside.
- It has a really good grease and ash management system for easy cleaning when you are done.
- An automatic feeder lets you sit back and allow the smoker to adjust the temperature to the right one.
- It uses up a lot of wood pellets, especially on windy days.
- The racks are not coated with any non-stick coating so sausages can stick to them.
2. Char-Broil The Big Easy TRU-Infrared Smoker Roaster & Grill
I like The Big Easy from Char-Broil because not only am I able to hot-smoke sausages in it, but I also have the option to cook other recipes at much higher temperatures.
It has a side-mounted stainless steel smoker box which you can access from the outside and easily refill the wood chips if needed.
You also do not have to worry about flare-ups because of the TRU-Infrared feature, which ensures that the heat is evenly distributed throughout the smoker chamber.
- It has a wide range of temperatures to hot-smoke sausages, roast, or grill other recipes.
- Connects to a standard propane tank so you can cook anywhere.
- Excellent heat-retention for more even smoking.
- Has dedicated accessories for roasting and grilling.
- Does not have hooks to hang your sausages on.
- 180 square inches of cooking space is pretty small for a lot of sausages.
3. Louisiana Grills Vertical Smoker
This vertical smoker from Louisiana Grills are made from stainless steel so it can withstand any weather. It also has a large wood pellet hopper, perfect for long smoking hours.
The dual meat probe included in the smoker is very helpful in keeping track of the internal temperature of the sausages that are being hot smoked.
The porcelain-coated racks are also great for making sure that the sausages do not stick to them during the long hours of smoking.
- Has dual meat probes for accurate reading of the internal temperature of the sausages.
- Made with high-quality materials for hot-smoking in any weather.
- Has a glass door to let you see inside the smoker without opening it.
- The large wood pellet hopper allows you to hot-smoke sausages for long periods of time.
- It does not have dedicated hooks for hanging sausages.
- It is not the easiest to clean smoker.
4. Dyna-Glo Signature Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker And Grill
This large offset smoker has 5 removable racks. So you have an ample amount of space for smoking sausages.
There is also a dedicated grill on the side so if you want your sausages to have a crispier outer casing, you can also grill them on the side.
It has wheels for easy transportation and features such as the pre-installed sausage hooks so you can hot-smoke a lot of sausages in this large smoker.
- Pre-installed hooks for hanging your sausages.
- Easy to clean with a pullout pan once you are done smoking.
- It has a large capacity so you can hot smoke a lot of sausages.
- A grill on the side to cook other recipes while you are waiting for your sausages to finish smoking.
- It does not do great with heat retention in cold and windy areas.
5. Cuisinart Vertical Propane Smoker
Cuisinart is a great smoker company that provides amazing smokers such as this COS-244 model. It is a propane smoker with a tight seal door for maximum heat retention.
I also like how they included a wood chip and water pan in one. The regulator on the gas connection is also great for both temperature and fuel consumption control.
This is one of the best and less expensive options that you can get if you want a great hot-smoking sausage in your backyard.
- It has a dedicated pan for water and wood chips to get maximum flavor and so the sausages do not dry out.
- The twist-locking seal makes sure that the temperature in your smoker is consistent.
- It also makes sure that all the smoke is rolled onto the sausages before going out.
- It is one of the cheaper options.
- The hose can be a little short.
- There are no dedicated hooks on the smoker for sausages.
What To Look For In A Sausage Smoker?
There are a lot of smokers in the market these days and while each smoker has its own unique feature and advantages, it is important to look for general and important factors.
It is not easy to choose from that many options so here are some simple factors to look for in a smoker for smoking sausages.
Construction And Materials
Most smokers on the market are made with stainless steel. These are great smokers since they can be used whether it is rainy, sunny, or windy.
Just as aluminum does, stainless steel does not corrode easily so for longevity, it is best to look for strong materials on your smoker.
The construction is also important. Some smokers are durable or made with good materials but sometimes they are not insulated enough.
Keeping a consistent temperature is important when smoking so make sure that the smoker you buy is durable but also great at retaining heat.
If you often host backyard cookouts with many people, it is best to get a large smoker. Most vertical smokers can handle 10 to 20 people but there are also other larger models.
This is about preference and your way of life. If you do not need to cook for a large group of people, then buying a large smoker might not be necessary.
The same goes if you cook often and for a lot of people, you will be better off with a large smoker than a small one.
One of the most important factors when choosing any smoker is temperature control. You need to ensure the smoker gives you the right temperature when smoking.
Smoking sausages is a delicate process; you do not want fluctuations and inaccurate temperature readings.
The smoker you buy should have the right components such as vents, dampers, or knobs to control the temperature and set it as close to the necessary temperature as possible.
The smoky flavor that you want on your sausages depends on the type of fuel that you use. I love using charcoal smokers and adding little wood chips to them.
Charcoal smokers are easy to use and are more forgiving than other fuel types. Wood chips can combust and produce unnecessary flames when smoking.
While gas smokers are consistent, they do not provide the same flavor as the combination of charcoal and wood chips.
You can also use your creativity and different wood chips to adjust the flavor. Charcoal is a great source of heat as it is mild, does not have flare-ups, and is also great for beginners and experts alike.
How Long To Smoke Sausage In A Smoker?
At 225 degrees Fahrenheit, smoking sausages should take around three hours. However, this can differ depending on the type of sausage you are smoking.
If you are smoking ‘summer sausages’, it can take about 2 hours to finish. Summer sausages have more fats in them than regular sausages and fats have a lower smoke point than lean meat.
For sausages with lower amounts of fats, they need to be smoked longer to ensure that the lean meat is cooked perfectly.
This is for hot-smoking sausages but if you are cold-smoking, it will take at least eight hours or up to 12-24 hours.
What Smokers Are Best For Making Sausage?
Vertical smokers are your best options when it comes to making sausages. Smoking sausages can take a while but vertical smokers ensure they are cooked evenly.
The heat coming at the bottom and rising to the top gives the sausages a milder heat which, in turn, keeps them safe from burning since they are a bit more delicate than other cuts of meat.
Offset smokers are also a great choice since you do not have the heat directly under the sausages.
Vertical smokers with dedicated hooks for sausages are great since there are no platforms such as racks and grates that can come into contact with the sausages.
That means the sausages will cook evenly and get as much smoke flavor as possible.
Are Smoked Sausages Healthy?
Like any other smoked meat, sausages have nitrites and nitrates that can be harmful when taken in excessive amounts.
However, you do not have to worry as sausages are also healthy. You will have to eat a lot of sausages before it starts having bad effects on your health.
Smoked sausages that have been cured are safe and healthy to eat since the curing and smoking process removes any harmful bacteria in the sausage and stops them from developing.
There are also a lot of helpful minerals in smoked sausages such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, and vitamins like vitamin D and vitamin B6.
So just like any food, smoked sausages are good for you in moderation!
What Temperature Do You Smoke Sausages At?
You smoke sausages at temperatures between 225 and 275 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, your sausages should finish smoking within two to three hours.
The sausages should have an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit or higher for them to be safe to eat.
It is a low temperature since sausages are slightly more delicate (because of the ground meat) than other cuts of meat.
The slow and low heat also makes sure that the sausages get enough of that smoky flavor before they are removed from the smoker.
Cold-smoking sausages require a much lower temperature at 85-125 degrees Fahrenheit and need to be cooked more after cold-smoking to reach the safe internal temperature.
How Do You Cold Smoke Sausage?
It might seem like a simple process where you just set the temperature of your smoker as low as possible, however, cold-smoking involves a more complicated process.
Here is a simple guide you can use to cold-smoke sausages:
Step 1: Prepare Your Equipment
Get a smoker (preferably an electric or gas smoker) that can go as low as 85 degrees Fahrenheit or at least has a ‘Cold Smoke Setting’.
Make sure that you have the tools needed like hooks for the sausages and tongs to place the sausages in the smoker at the right position.
Step 2: Cure Your Sausages
When cold-smoking, it is essential that you cure the raw sausages first before smoking. This is to make sure that the sausages do not develop bacteria while smoking.
Note that the temperature for cold-smoking sausages is really low where bacteria can still develop so curing the sausages first is absolutely necessary.
You can use salt curing or curing powders like Prague Powder #1 or Prague Powder #2.
Step 3: Preheat The Smoker
Set the smoker to the lowest temperature. If the smoker is hotter than 125 degrees Fahrenheit, it will not be able to cold-smoke the sausages.
In this case, place a tray of ice cubes under the smoker to cool down the temperature inside it.
Step 4: Make Sure To Ventilate
You do not want the hot air to be stuck inside the smoker but you also do not want the air to blow the heat too much.
So regulate the vents and damper of the smoker and open them just enough for the hot air to escape.
Step 5: Cold Smoke The Sausages
Place the sausages in the cooking chamber of the smoker by hanging them on the dedicated hooks.
Keep an eye on the temperature and add wood chips or ice cubes to adjust the temperature to the right one.
After 8 hours, check if the sausages have reached the desired internal temperature. Allow them to stay in the smoker for up to 24 hours or until they have reached the right internal temperature.
Step 6: Store Or Cook
Safely store the cold-smoked sausages in an airtight container and then place them in the fridge.
You can also cook them at a much higher temperature until they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit and serve them right away!
How To Hang Sausages While Smoking
The most important thing to remember when hanging sausages in the smoker is that they should not touch each other.
Air circulation is very important when smoking sausages so that all the sausages can get enough and equal amounts of smoke and heat.
If the sausages are not far apart, they can stick to each other and will cause the casing to rip when you try to separate them.
Make sure that the sausages are 2 inches apart when hanging them in the smoker.
This will give the sausages enough room for the air to circulate on all sides of each sausage, and during times when the sausages expand, the extra 2 inches apart will be enough for them to expand.
Can You Smoke Sausages Laying Down?
Yes, you can smoke sausages laying down on grates or smoker racks if you intend to serve them right away.
Smoking the sausages lying down essentially means they will be in contact with the smoker rack, which can be hotter than the air around the sausages.
This, in turn, will create grill marks or slightly more burnt stripes on the sausages. It can also cause the sausage casing to rip apart.
If you plan to store the sausages after smoking, the ripped casings will not be beneficial. You need to keep the sausages intact for proper storage.
That is why you should smoke sausages by hanging them vertically to make sure that they receive an even amount of heat and smoke.
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