The Best Types of Sausages for Smoking: A Comprehensive Guide

Smoking sausages is a beloved pastime for many, and it’s easy to see why. There’s something about the smoky, savory flavor that makes it a perfect weekend activity. 

But with so many types of sausages out there, it can be tough to know which ones will taste best when smoked. 

In this article, we’ll break down the best types of sausages to smoke, so you can make the most of your next backyard cookout.

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What Makes The Best Sausages To Smoke

Look For High-Fat Content

When smoking sausages, you’ll be using a low temperature to cook the meat for an extended period. This means that a sausage with a high-fat content is essential to keep it moist and tender. 

Lean meats like chicken breast or turkey without any added fats can result in a dry, crumbly sausage.

So, when selecting your sausage, choose one with a high-fat content. Regardless of the meat or flavor you select, ensure that it has enough fat to stay juicy and tender throughout the smoking process.

Pairing Your Sausage

Before selecting the type of sausage to smoke, consider how you plan to enjoy it. If you intend to have a simple sausage in a bun, then any flavor would suffice. 

However, suppose you’re making a specific dish like jambalaya. In that case, you may want to choose a specific type of sausage like Andouille.

Some sausages have spicy, sweet, or cheesy flavors. Knowing what you plan to pair your sausage with can help you decide on the best type of sausage to smoke.

Avoid Smoking Pre-Smoked Sausage

Pre-smoked sausages may seem like a convenient choice. However, you don’t want to waste your time and effort smoking them again as it can dry them out. 

Kielbasa and Andouille are common types of pre-smoked sausages, but you can still find unsmoked varieties.

Most brands will clearly indicate on their packaging if their sausages are raw or already smoked. 

The Best Sausages For Smoking

In this section, we will explore the best sausages for smoking that are sure to impress your taste buds and leave you craving for more.

Italian Sausage

When it comes to sausages, few countries can compete with the variety and quality that Italy has to offer. With over 150 types of sausages, Italian cuisine takes this staple food to a whole new level.

The distinct taste of Italian sausage is typically mild with a prominent fennel flavor. Depending on the specific type, some sausages also include garlic or red pepper flakes to add extra complexity to the taste. When smoked, the flavors become even richer and more pronounced.

To smoke Italian sausages to perfection, it’s recommended to smoke them for around three to four hours. The precise cooking duration will vary based on variables like the sausage’s size and the temperature of your smoker.

For the best results, set your smoker to 250°F (120°C) and turn the sausages every 45 minutes. It’s important to keep an eye on the internal temperature of the sausage and once it reaches 165°F (73°C), they are ready to be enjoyed.

Whether you’re a sausage lover or simply looking for a new flavor experience, smoking Italian sausage is an excellent choice. 

So, fire up your smoker and get ready to enjoy the mouthwatering taste of Italian sausage like never before!

Summer Sausage

Summer sausage is a type of sausage made from a mix of pork and beef. It’s a cured, dried or smoked sausage that is seasoned with various spices, including mustard seeds, pepper, garlic, and sugar. 

The tangy taste of this sausage is attributed to the fermenting process that it undergoes, giving it an extended shelf-life.

To smoke summer sausage, it’s recommended to cook it for around two hours, and the internal temperature at which it should be removed from the rack is 160°F (71°C). This temperature ensures that the sausage is safe to consume and has a delicious, juicy flavor.

Summer sausage is versatile and can be enjoyed in various ways. It can be sliced and served with crackers, cheese, and fruits as a perfect snack for any occasion. It’s also an excellent addition to any charcuterie board or can be used as a topping on a pizza or sandwich.

Bratwurst

Bratwurst, also known as “brats,” is a highly delicious German sausage that has gained popularity all around the world. This sausage is available in more than 40 different varieties in Germany alone, and it’s celebrated annually on National Bratwurst Day, which falls on August 16th.

Bratwurst is a fresh link sausage that is highly seasoned with a blend of different spices, such as nutmeg, ginger, sage, or caraway. While pork is the most commonly used meat for making bratwurst, you can find variations that use beef or veal or a combination of both.

Smoking is a popular method of cooking bratwurst. To smoke bratwurst, it’s recommended to use a smoker temperature of 225°F (107°C) for 45 minutes. The internal temperature of the bratwurst should reach 152°F (67°C) to ensure it’s thoroughly cooked and safe to consume.

Polish Sausage: Kielbasa

This sausage is usually made of high-quality pork, but sometimes beef is added to create a unique flavor. 

The key to its delicious taste is the blend of spices used in seasoning, which often includes garlic, pimentos, marjoram, and cloves. Kielbasa has a strong garlic flavor that is loved by many.

In Poland, roasting kielbasa over a campfire is a tradition that is just as popular as roasting marshmallows in America.  

If you don’t have the time or resources to make your own sausage, don’t worry. You can easily find it in supermarkets and specialty stores.

Now, if you’re looking to smoke Polish sausage, be prepared to spend some time on it. The process takes between three to four hours, but the result is definitely worth it. 

Just make sure you wait for the sausage’s internal temperature to reach 140°F (60°C) before taking it off the smoker rack. One thing to note is that Polish sausages are lightly smoked, and you’ll notice their internal cooking temperature is the lowest of all sausage types.

When it comes to pairing kielbasa, cabbage is the perfect accompaniment. The sweetness and crunchiness of the cabbage complement the savory flavor of the sausage, creating a delicious blend of tastes. 

But if you prefer mild flavors, you can also try pairing it with rice or red beans, or add it to your soup for a tasty twist.

Andouille Sausage

This delicious smoked sausage is a popular delicacy in France and is made mainly from chopped pork. Unlike other sausages, Andouille is not ground but instead features a relatively coarse and sharp texture that is similar to craft sausages.

One of the things that make Andouille sausage stand out is its taste. It has a rich, smoky flavor that comes from being slow-cooked over a wood fire. The sausage is then seasoned with a blend of spices, including garlic, onion, and paprika, giving it a distinct and complex taste that is difficult to replicate.

To get the most out of your Andouille sausage, you need to smoke it to perfection. It is recommended to smoke the Andouille sausage until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (73°C). This should take around four hours, depending on your smoker’s heat level.

Chorizo Sausage

This sausage originated in Mexico and Spain, and it’s known for its bold flavors. 

Mexican chorizo is made with fresh pork and seasoned with vinegar and chile peppers, while Spanish chorizo is made with smoked pork and seasoned with garlic and pimento.

Both types of chorizo are heavily seasoned and have a unique blend of spices that vary by region. The sausage has a brick-red color and a distinct smoky flavor that sets it apart from other sausages. 

Compared to milder sausages like bratwurst or Italian sausage, chorizo has a bit of a spicy kick, making it a perfect addition to any dish that needs a bold flavor.

If you want to take the smoky flavor of chorizo sausage to the next level, smoking it is a great option. 

To start, set your smoker to 170°F (75°C) and gradually increase the temperature until it reaches 220°F (110°C). This will help infuse the sausage with a delicious smoky flavor that will make your taste buds sing.

Conclusion

Smoking sausage is an excellent way to enhance its flavor and give it that delicious smoky taste. 

Whether you prefer mild sausages like Italian sausage or spicier options like Chorizo, there’s a type of sausage out there that’s perfect for smoking. 

Just remember to smoke your sausage for at least two hours, regularly check its internal temperature, and experiment with different types of wood to find your perfect match.

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