Sausages are one of the most versatile foods with many cooking options. There are many cooking methods available, with smoking being one of the greatest options. It’s a fun, easy, and engaging cooking process that gives you a well-cooked and juicy sausage. However, it can be challenging, especially if it’s your first smoking experience. So, you may need to keep glancing at the recipe and keep it by your side to ensure everything goes well.
Undercooking sausage is a common problem, with many being caught trying to establish whether the sausage has been cooked enough.
This leads to the question:
When Is Smoked Sausage Ready?
The best and most obvious way of telling when the sausage is ready is by using a meat thermometer. You need to closely monitor the sausage’s internal temperature, aiming for 160°F (71°C). This makes it clear that smoking sausage is never a matter of how long you cook, but rather the internal temperature.
You will also want to take note of the cooking time to help ensure you don’t overcook it. You should closely monitor the temperature.
If you are a baked sausage lover, the same temperature still applies, but you may want to be a little patient to get the temperature up there. It will take you an average of anything between 20–25 minutes, which is not a relatively long cooking time.
Overcooking or overheating the sausage past 160 °F will make the fat in the meat melt and evaporate, leaving the sausage less juicy or dry.
Some people also want to know whether smoked sausages are ready to eat from the smoker or need further cooking.
The 160°F (71°C) internal temperature for smoking sausage was not randomly chosen. There are reasons behind these recommendations, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), which is why we follow the guideline.
Sausage is made of mixed ground meat that has possibly interacted with different surfaces. This creates the possibility of bacteria in the meat, which can be harmful to human health. Cooking sausage to the normal temperature of 145°F (63°C) may not be sufficient enough to kill all the bacteria. Some bacteria may still be alive in the meat hence the need to ensure you cook it properly and reach 160°F (71°C).
Smoking sausage to 160°F (71°C) also allows the other sausage ingredients to properly mix and be part of the total sausage experience.
Is Smoked Sausage Ready to Eat?
Well, the answer to this question depends on various factors.
Cold smoked sausage that has not been cured shouldn’t be consumed, but cured well-smoked sausages are ready and safe as the curing salt protects them from any contamination.
Hot smoked sausages that have been brought to the correct temperature are safe and ready to eat. Grilling is our recommended way to cook smoked sausage. The high heat from your Bradley Smoker is essential to ensure the sausage is well-cooked. Essentially, it can take you about 10–15 minutes for your sausage to cook fully, but always focus on the internal temperature, that is always the safest way.
Should I Cover Sausage While Smoking?
Wrapping your sausage for smoking is very important, just like it is with smoking other types of meat. It helps keep the sausage moist by holding in the juices. You can use aluminum foil as it allows for even cooking.
But it is important that as you cover it, you won’t allow the smoker to penetrate the meat, so you might wrap it just after reaching the smoke flavor you want.
Can I Store Smoked Sausages?
The USDA advises that you only keep cooked smoked sausage in the fridge for at most 2–3 days at 40°F (4°C).
But if not opened, dry-cured sausage can last up to three weeks if stored correctly in the refrigerator.
We recommend eating smoked sausage immediately after smoking and while hot. This is because allowing them to cool can result in the casing hardening or shriveling. We bet you don’t want to eat a dry sausage with crinkled skin.
- A slightly charred sausage skin is a sign of readiness.
- A steamy or pink core in a sliced smoked sausage shows a ready sausage.
- Boiling before cooking or grilling may be essential to keep the meat moist.
Simple Don’ts for Smoking Sausage
- Never rely on sight alone to determine whether the sausage is ready.
- A crispy outside does not imply it’s done cooking.
- The smell is never a reliable way to tell if your sausage is ready. You may perhaps be the one overheating.
Regardless of whether you are cooking them to eat immediately or freeze, there is no doubt that sausages are a delightful mix of meat to heighten your meal.
Looking for some sausage recipes? Here they are!
Smoked Maple German Sausage Recipe
Quick Easy Smoked Sausage Recipe
Smoked Summer Sausage Recipe
Smoked Hot Sausage Recipe
For more great ideas on how to get the most out of your Bradley Smoker, check out the awesome articles on our Bradley Smoker Food Smoking Blog for more tips & tricks.