Have you ever tried smoking your own sausage? If not, maybe it’s time you ventured into this exciting new terrain. It will broaden your horizons as a pitmaster and give you some serious bragging rights at your next barbecue.
Whether you prepare your fresh sausage from scratch or buy raw ones from your favorite butcher, the results will be impressive when you smoke them at home. Let’s find out how long to smoke sausages at 225 degrees.
How Long To Smoke Sausage at 225 Degrees
It can take as little as 1-1/2 hours or as long as 3 hours for sausages to reach the optimal temperature when smoked at 225 degrees. The total cooking time depends on the type of sausage, the size of the links, and the heat-retentive capabilities of the smoker itself.
About Smoking Sausage
One of the best things about smoking sausage is that the meat is already imbued with a hearty dose of flavor. Your job is to enhance and intensify those flavors.
You can serve smoked sausage at breakfast, lunch, or dinner. They also make a great mid-morning or afternoon snack. In fact, sausage is one of those rare foods that can be enjoyed at any time of the day or night.
Since sausage links are relatively small, the smoking process doesn’t have to be an all-day affair. Unlike beef brisket and pork butt, which can easily take 12 or more hours to cook to perfection, sausages only require a few hours.
Unfortunately, the smaller size also comes with a trade-off: The links won’t take on much smoke flavor if you cook them at too high a temperature. On the other hand, you don’t want to set the smoker temp too low, as this can result in dried-out sausages.
Best Temperature For Smoked Sausage
For most smoked meats, including ribs, we prefer to set the smoker to 225 degrees. This gives the meat the time it needs to reach an internal temp of 200, which is preferable for cuts that include a lot of connective tissue and fat.
You can select a higher temperature for sausages. The recommended internal temperature for ground meat products is lower (see below), which contributes to the shorter cooking time. What’s more, the fat is ground into small bits, so it won’t take as long to render.
When smoking sausages, we generally go with a smoker temperature of 250 degrees. That gives the meat time to cook through and take on plenty of smoky flavor without becoming too charred on the outside.
Depending on your smoker’s temperament, though, anywhere in the range of 200 to 275 is acceptable. It’s even permissible to go as low as 180 degrees, as long as you’re confident that the sausages will cook to a safe temperature within a few hours.
You’ll get a feel for what temperature works best as you go along. The more often you smoke fresh sausages, the easier it will be to select the smoker temp that will yield the best results.
Recommended Internal Temperature for Smoked Sausage
No matter what cooking method you select, it’s important to cook sausage thoroughly before you serve it. Consuming undercooked meat can lead to serious illness, and sausage is no exception.
It’s easy to forget that sausage needs to be thoroughly cooked, because prepackaged and precooked versions are so widely available. But any product made from ground meat should cook to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
As critical as it is not to undercook sausage, it’s also important not to let it cook too long. Overcooked sausage has an unpleasant texture. The trick is to take it off the heat when it’s cooked to 160 degrees, then set it aside to rest.
How Long To Smoke Sausage at 225 Degrees
Most sausages will take between 2 to 3 hours to reach the optimum temperature when smoked at 225 degrees. Of course, the total cooking time depends on the size of the links, as well as the reliability of the smoker temperature.
Larger links might take a little bit more time to cook to perfection. If they’re on the smaller side—for example, if you’re smoking breakfast links—they’ll obviously cook through more quickly.
Sausages made from leaner meat, such as chicken or turkey, will cook faster as well. If the links are made from pork or beef, expect the cooking process to take slightly longer.
Then there’s the fact that all smokers retain heat differently. Some models have a hard time maintaining the set temperature, especially in cold weather. On the other end of the spectrum, some of them run hotter than you would expect.
It’s especially important to keep an eye on the smoker temperature when you’re preparing smaller products like sausages. A few degrees more or less might not make much of a difference when smoking brisket, but they could make or break your results here.
Test the internal temperature of the sausages after 1-1/2 hours. That should give you some idea of how much longer they’ll need to cook. Since it’s a good idea to rotate the sausages every 30 to 45 minutes or so anyway, you can insert the thermometer on one of these occasions.
Best Types Of Sausage For Smoking
Another great thing about smoking sausage is that just about any type is suitable for the smoker. As long as you enjoy the taste of wood smoke—and you probably wouldn’t have read this far if you didn’t—you can experiment with various kinds of sausage.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Italian sausage (sweet or hot)
- Chicken or Turkey Sausage
- Hot Dogs
Can You Smoke Precooked Sausage?
It’s fine to put precooked sausage on the smoker, but you don’t need to leave it there for long. Remember that the meat has already been cooked through, so you only need to reheat it.
If the sausage has been smoked already, then putting it on the smoker might be overkill. Your best bet is to either make or buy high-quality fresh sausages and smoke them to a safe internal temperature yourself.
Tips on Smoking Sausage
—Bring the sausages to room temperature for about 30-45 minutes before putting them on the smoker, but don’t leave them out for longer than 2 hours.
—Select the right type of wood for the sausages you’re using. Sausages made with beef can withstand the bold flavor of hickory, but mild fruit woods are a better choice for poultry sausage. For pork sausages, try apple, pecan, or oak.
—Space the sausages out on the grilling grate so that there’s at least 1/2 inch of space between them. If they’re too close together, the sausages won’t cook evenly.
—Don’t open the lid too often. This allows precious heat and smoke to escape, so the cooking process will take longer and the sausages won’t be as flavorful.
—Give the sausages time to rest. The juices will redistribute while the temperature rises slightly, giving them the ideal texture.
—Refrigerate any leftovers and consume within 3 to 4 days.
It doesn’t take long to smoke sausages at 225 degrees, but if you need to speed things along even more, you can set the smoker to a higher temperature. Just bear in mind that the longer the links are on the smoker, the more flavorful they’ll be.