Smoked Kielbasa

I absolutely love my outdoor Bradley smoker. When I first got it I had to smoke ribs and they were to die for! I used the classic 3-2-1 method to prepare them and it worked perfectly. Of course I had to make my own rub and BBQ sauce to go with it and none of is disappointed. Now that I type this I realize that none of these have made it to the website. I will have to add these recipes in the weeks to come.

Since I got the smoker in the spring I have smoked ribs, shoulder, tenderloin, chicken wings, whole chicken and sausage. Now I am onto making homemade smoked sausage.  Since my family origin is from the Ukraine, I had to make kielbasa first. In the end I split the sausage into 2 batches and made both kielbasa and andouille at the same time. There was definitely some things that I learned about making kielbasa along the way.

  • Even though using lean cuts of meat is healthy, there is a need for some pork fat in the kielbasa. Some people recommend meat to fat ratios anywhere from 80-20 to 70-30. I chose to go with the leaner option of 80% meat and 20% fat.
  • I did not want to grind all the meat as I like to have ‘ham’ chunks in the sausage. So I reserved about 1/3 of the meat and diced it. Well, in the end, I diced it too large and it was very difficult to get through the stuffer. Next time I will dice the meat in smaller pieces.
  • Make sure that you use cure. Because the smoker is at such a low heat for a prolonged period of time the pork does not get to the necessary 165F within the 4 hour timeframe and that can cause botulism. Clearly that is not something anyone wants, so to prevent that using a cure is the smartest and safest best. Use 1 tsp for every 5 pounds of meat.

How to Smoke Kielbasa

While you can purchase and use ground pork, I prefer to grind my own. That way I can ensure the freshness of the meat and the ratio of fat. I try to aim for a meat to fat ratio of 70:30.

How to Smoke Kielbasa

Feed the sausage casing onto the funnel. You will want to bunch up as much of the casing onto the funnel as possible. That makes it easier to fill with the sausage meat and keep the air out.

How to Smoke Kielbasa

I have a special sausage stuffer by Weston and it holds lots of sausage mixture.

I fill the chamber close to the top with meat. Then wind the handle to get ready to push the meat into the casings.

How to Smoke Kielbasa

Start to wind the handle and the sausage meat will start to go through the funnel. Once it is all the way through to the end of the funnel, tie up the end of the casing, making sure there is no air in the casing.

How to Smoke Kielbasa

Keep filling the sausage until you have a nice sized kielbasa ring.

How to Smoke Kielbasa

Pull off the casing and tie it up tight, making sure there is not air in the kielbasa ring. Cut the casing with kitchen shears and start over again to make another ring of kielbasa.

How to Smoke Kielbasa

I hang all the kielbasa rings while I am stuffing them. Once they are all stuffed, they are ready to go into the smoker.

How to Smoke Kielbasa

I like to hang my kielbasa rings in the smoker using sausage hooks, but it is also possible to simply lay them down on smoker racks. I start the smoker at 130F and increase it by 20F every hour.

Make sure the kielbasa are not touching each other during the smoking as that will impact it coming up to temperature evenly.

How to Smoke Kielbasa

After 4 hours of smoking, I take them out of the smoker and put them in a hot water bath and bring them up to 165F

How to Smoke Kielbasa

Here are the kielbasa coming out of the smoker. Just look at that colour!

How to Smoke Kielbasa

It is not necessary for the kielbasa to come to a boil. I keep the temperature of the water just under a boil and this works great to bring the kielbasa up to 165F fairly quickly. Once the kielbasa reach 165F, keep them in the water bath, simmering, for 45 minutes.

How to Smoke Kielbasa

After the kielbasa has been in the hot water bath, dump them into an ice water bath to quickly chill the kielbasa.

How to Smoke Kielbasa

Once chilled, I hang the kielbasa for a couple hours to ‘bloom’. I find this enhances the flavours.

How to Smoke Kielbasa

The best way to store the kielbasa is to vacuum seal them in bags and keep them in the freezer. They are good stored this way for months!

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5 from 7 votes

Smoked Kielbasa - How to Smoke Kielbasa Recipe

A detailed recipe for how to smoke kielbasa. This recipe was smoked in a Bradley Electric Smoker
Course Main Course
Cuisine Ukrainian
Keyword Kielbasa, pork, Sausage, smoked
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 5 hours
Total Time 6 hours
Servings 4 rings
Author Steve Cylka


  • 5 lbs pork shoulder or fresh ham
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup skim milk powder
  • 1 tsp cure
  • sausage casings


  • Cut the pork meat and pork fat into 1-2 inch cubes. Pass them through a meat grinder. Consider reserving about 1/3 of the pork meat and dice into small chunks so that there are chunks of ham in the sausage.
  • In a large bowl, stir the meat with the remaining ingredients (spices, cure, water, milk powder). Knead it together well so that everything is combined thoroughly. Place in the fridge and let marinate for 3 hours or so.
  • Take the meat mixture out of the fridge and stuff the sausage casings according to the instructions of your sausage stuffer.
  • Preheat the Bradley smoker for 130F with your choice of wood pucks smoking in it. Place the kielbasa in the smoker by either laying them on the racks or hanging them on hooks.
  • The kielbasa needs to smoke in the smoker for four hours. Each hour increase the temperature 20F. So hour one is 130F, hour 2 is 150F, hour 3 is 170F and hour 4 is 190F.
  • After they have been in the smoker for 4 hours take them out and put them in a hot water bath that has the water preheated at 165F. Keep them in the hot water bath for 45 minutes.
  • Remove the kielbasa from the hot water bath and hang them for 1-2 hours so that they can bloom.

About Steve Cylka

Steve is the author of The Black Peppercorn. He is a recipe developer and food photographer. His recipes have been featured on websites like Bradley Smoker, Times Picayune, Buzzfeed, and Basil & Salt. He has also authored and co-authored a couple cookbooks.


  1. I love sausages any time. I see that you make it at home and they come out so perfect! Amazing 🙂

  2. I am so darn impressed that you made and smoked your own sausage. This looks so good and I truly started to salivate as I read your post.

  3. When you say cure, what are using, 1 or or some other form of cure?

  4. i would like to try your recipe……but i am stumped with cure… in the usa a…..and all i get for cure is tons of salt…..that will not make the meat pink…..what do you use….and where can i get it…..hope you respond…thank you…gene

  5. i found your recipe and i can’t stop making it.i come from bayonne n.j. where they have great kielbasa and this is just as good if not friends say on a scale of 1 to 10 its an 11.

  6. Hi Steve

    Been looking for a recipe for a long time and FINALLY hit the jackpot!
    It is almost too good to swallow 🙂
    Thanks a lot for posting it.
    Next on my list is your bacon. Mmmmmm
    Six stars foresure

  7. Just one question about the smoking process, do you apply smoke for the whole 4 hours or just the first hour?

    thank you

  8. I wished I’d stumbled across this a few days ago! Thanks for posting this. My family is Ukrainian as well. My Dad goes on and on about Stawnichy’s sausage in Mundaire, Alberta but we no longer live anywhere close to there anymore. I’m hoping to replicate it but my last attempt wasn’t so successful…..I can’t wait to try your recipe. Do you use a water pan in your smoker for extra moisture? Also, would I be okay use maple or do you use a different wood? Sorry for the questions but your recipe and thank you again for this awesome post



  10. I just made a batch using your recipe.First time making Keilbasa as I just got a Masterbuilt Digital smoker for christmas….Turned out incredibly awesome with a huge heaping helping of WOW.
    Family and friends are gonna eat up my 5 lbs in the first couple days,but that’s ok…can’t wait to make more.
    I did some in 6 inch long “chub” casings ( 1.5 inch diameter and about 3/4 of a pound each)and some in Collagen casings (36 mm i think,like italian style sausage size).I put the collagen ones into the smoker about an hour later than the chubs,because they weren’t as thick and I knew they would cook/smoke faster. I used applewood chips for the first 3 hours. It took about 4.5 hours to bring the “chubs” up to 158 degrees internal temp( the collagen ring was at 159 at this point). Pulled them from the smoker and let stand at room temp for about 15 minutes and the internal temp had risen to about 165 .Then I put them in an “ice bath” for about 20 minutes .This gave them a nice firmness and a beautiful pinkish colour. Sliced some up and cooked them up in a pan with perogies and onions and sour kraut..Tommorow Crackers and cheese.

    Thanks again for an awesome recipe,I will be using it for a long time to come

  11. My first batch was 8 lbs. Wasn’t enough. Built a bigger smoker and made 30 lbs. Next batch will be 60 lbs.hope that will be enough.

  12. I love kielbasa and just got a masterbuilt propane smoker. Can’t wait to try your recipe. Like you, I like chunks of meat in my kielbasa so how big of chunks should I cut so it isn’t a problem stuffing. By the way I’m Canadian and living in Thailand so your recipe has traveled far

  13. Thanks for posting. Have made other kielbasa other years and not been happy. This seemed fussy with the increasing of the temperature every hour but with the digital temperature control on the electric smoker it was easy. This will be a favorite for years to come. I used hickory hour one and cherry hour two. When it was opened after the four hours, smoke was still coming out and I had only added two lots of chips. Any thoughts on using a water tray? There wasn’t any mention of it. While it didn’t say so, I’m sure you continue to keep the 165 degree bath at that temperature the whole time.

    • Old post but ONLY reason to use water in the smoker is to be able to moderate the temps (ie keeping them where you want them more consistently). Adding moisture to the air?

      Nah, doesn’t do a thing.

      Using a weber bullet, I use a foiled terra cotta saucer that fits in the (empty) water bowl for moderating temps.

      One thing: Steve mentions fat content. 70-30 80-20% Use pork butt (not shoulder as it’s a real PITA to get the bone out and skin off. Not so with butt.) as you can get it boneless and it has the perfect fat/meat ratio for sausage.

  14. Always remember to shower the Kielbasa’s after you bring them up to safe eating temp. Shower or immerse if cold water bath so the internal temp is below 110 deg. Then dry and package. That way you don’t end up with shriveled Kielbasas. Just like a hotdog that’s been left out after being cooked. Not very appetizing!!

  15. This recipe turned out really well taste wise but the sausage seems a bit crumbly. ….any thoughts ?

    • Sometimes I find that if the meat is too lean and does not have enough fat, that the kielbasa can be somewhat crumbly. That might be it. Other than that, I’ not sure.

  16. Bill Matuszewski

    Thanks so much for this recipe I’ve been looking for a recipe like this for along time.Many years ago my uncle would come for Easter dinner and bring down this type of smoked polish sausage. he had a small deli on the west side of Chicago not sure if he made it or it was Stolkowski but it was fantastic. I too have a Bradley smoker and i love it, I made smoked sausage, jerky, chicken breast,trout,pulled pork. I’m interested in your BBQ recipe and rub recipe could you tell me where to find them

  17. Great recipe! I just did a 20 lb. batch and it came out perfect. My pellet grill doesn’t allow for the low starting temp like you used so just kept it at its lowest smoke setting which is about 180. After 4 hours the sausage were sitting at 165. I skipped the hot water bath and went straight to the ice bath which is my normal procedure for kielbasa. A couple hours to bloom and everything was perfect. Thanks for posting the recipe and your cooking details.

  18. Just curious, would regular full fat powdered milk work instead of the non fat?

  19. Hi so I’m trying your sausage recipe or any recipe for first time, don’t have a Bradley smoker but I think my old home built smoke will work, wife says it loss like a out house but smoked salmon and clams great so I’m hoping, will see

  20. Hi serve
    Once again ,gonna try a batch of kielbasa.
    Too lean was the issue I was having with the crumble tnx for that
    My question is can I use ham for the chunks and fresh pork butt for the ground meat?
    Or willi see crumble again!

  21. Sorry about the spelling. Steve
    Frigid autocorrect

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