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How Long To Smoke Sausage at 200: Taking it Low and Slow

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how long to smoke sausage at 200

If you’ve set the grill temperature to 200 degrees, about how long will it take before your smoked sausage is ready? 

Obviously, you should rely on the internal temperature of the meat and not the numbers on the clock. Still, it’s nice to have a ballpark estimate. Here’s our guide on how long to smoke sausage at 200 degrees Fahrenheit. 

How Long To Smoke Sausage at 200 Degrees 

Plan on smoking sausage links for at least 3 hours when you’ve set the smoker temp to 200 degrees. The bigger the links, the longer the process will take. It may also take longer if the smoker runs on the cool side. 

Why Smoke Your Own Sausage? 

You’ve probably had store-bought smoked sausage at some point. It’s a convenient product that arrives precooked, so all you have to do is heat it up (or not, depending on what type of sausage it is). So what’s the point of smoking it yourself? 

First of all, it’s one of the easiest types of meat to smoke. The process is relatively quick, even when you set the smoker to a low temperature. Because sausage links are small, they cook through fast. 

When you smoke fresh sausage, you’re taking the flavor to new heights. Sausage contains herbs and spices that make it taste delicious anyway, but smoking it adds a depth and nuance that you don’t get from grilling alone. 

Smoked sausage is also a versatile ingredient. You can serve it at breakfast alongside scrambled eggs, tucked into a sandwich at lunchtime, or as a dinner entree with all your favorite sides. It also makes a wonderful addition to a charcuterie platter. 

Although you can smoke store-bought fresh sausages, the results will be superior if you make the sausage yourself. This will make the process more time-consuming, but on the plus side, you’ll have complete control over the fat content and the salt ratio

Smoked Sausage: Recommended Internal Temperature 

So exactly when is sausage considered fully cooked? The meat will lose its translucent quality and turn opaque, and the texture will firm up. But the only way to tell for sure whether the meat is safe to consume is to test the internal temperature. 

Sausage is made from ground meat, which means it needs to cook to 160 degrees Fahrenheit before you take it off the heat. The residual heat should take the temperature up another 5 degrees to 165, which is the ideal serving temp. 

how long to smoke sausage at 200

It’s permissible to cook whole muscle cuts of beef and pork to just 145 degrees. Since sausage often contains one or both of these ingredients, you might be wondering why it needs to cook longer. 

The reasoning lies behind the nature of the bacteria you’re trying to destroy. These bacteria are found on the surface of the flesh, so cooking the exterior of a steak or pork chop to a high temperature is sufficient. 

When whole muscle cuts are fed through the grinder to make sausage, though, the surface flesh gets all mixed in with the rest, along with any potential bacteria. Cooking the meat thoroughly is the only way to ensure food safety. 

We should also note that it’s important not to overcook sausage. If the meat cooks for too long, it will lose its moisture and be unpleasantly chewy and tough. 

Case in point: Summer sausage shouldn’t be allowed to cook past 165. We would suggest removing all-beef summer sausage from the smoker when it cooks to 155 degrees, just in case. 

What’s the Ideal Smoker Temperature for Sausage? 

If you’ve read our guides on smoking ribs, pork butt, or beef brisket, then you may already know that our preferred smoker temperature is 225 for large cuts. 

This temperature allows the meat to reach its optimum temperature in a reasonable amount of time. It’s low enough to give the collagen and fat time to break down, which is crucial for cuts like brisket that are naturally tough and fatty. 

Since sausages are smaller and the fat doesn’t take as long to render, it’s acceptable to set the smoker temperature a bit higher. You can go as high as 275, but we prefer to keep it around 250 whenever possible. 

In this guide, we’re focusing on how long to smoke sausage at 200 degrees. This is also an acceptable temperature, but be forewarned that it will prolong the cooking process. 

How Long To Smoke Sausage at 200

Assuming that the smoker temperature holds steady at 200 degrees for the duration of the smoke, it should take about 3 hours for the sausages to cook through. 

Be aware that if the environment inside the smoker is any cooler than that, the process may take longer. This is something you need to pay careful attention to if the weather is especially cold or windy, or if you know your smoker runs on the cool side. 

On the other hand, if your smoker runs hot, the sausages will cook through faster. This issue isn’t as common, but it can happen, especially if you have a pellet grill with too much dirt and debris built up in the firebox. 

The size of the sausage links is another contributing factor. Clearly, smaller links will take less time to cook through than larger ones. Keep that in mind when you’re setting your mental clock. 

For example, for the summer sausage recipe we’ve included below, we recommend making one large log of sausage instead of multiple smaller links. That means it may take longer for the meat to reach the correct temperature. 

Smoking Summer Sausage at 200 Degrees 

It’s surprisingly easy to make your own summer sausage, especially if you “cheat” and start with ground beef instead of a whole muscle cut. This recipe relies on Morton’s Tender Quick as a curing salt, but you can use Prague Powder #1 instead if you adjust the amount

Ingredients 

  • 2 pounds 85 percent lean ground beef 
  • 1 tablespoon Morton Tender Quick
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt 
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper 
  • 2 teaspoons granulated garlic 
  • 2 teaspoons granulated onion
  • 1 teaspoon whole mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper 
how long to smoke sausage at 200

Directions 

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Mix together lightly with your hands until the seasoning is well distributed. 

2. Lay out 2 large sheets of wax paper or plastic wrap. Scoop the sausage mixture onto the center of the sheet and fold up the long sides. Roll the mixture into a cylinder measuring about 2 inches in diameter, pressing as much air out as you can. 

3. Twist the ends of the paper or plastic wrap so that the mixture is encased tightly inside. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight. 

4. When you’re ready to start cooking, set the smoker to 200 degrees. You can use whatever wood you prefer, but we find that hickory wonderfully enhances the flavor of this summer sausage. 

5. Take the sausage out of the wrapper and set it carefully on the cooking grate. Close the lid and let the sausage smoke until the internal temperature registers 155 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. This should take 3 to 5 hours. 

6. Remove the sausage from the smoker and let it rest for an hour before serving. You can also let it cool completely, then wrap it in plastic and store it in the fridge for up to 2 weeks

Final Thoughts 

Smoking sausage at 200 degrees will allow you plenty of time to put the rest of your feast together, but it doesn’t have to be an all-day affair. That’s one of the best things about smoked sausage—it’s as convenient to make as it is tasty. 

Happy grilling!

Darren Wayland Avatar

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