Smoked Italian Sausage

Sometimes I am in the mood for some smoked meat and I want something quick and easy. On those days I go to the supermarket and pick up a few pounds of fresh Italian sausage. Smoking these produces amazing results and they only take 3-4 hours. Sometimes when I am smoking something that takes all day, I will throw a bunch of Italian sausage on a rack for a mid day snack.

I smoke Italian sausages a lot and over the years have used them in different recipes. Here are a couple great recipes to use this sausage in:

  • Smoked Sausage Gumbo – While I love to use andouille in my gumbo, that can be hard to find in Canada. Sometimes I just use some of this smoked Italian sausage and it works great!
  • Smoked Sausage Minestrone – The smoky flavour from the Italian sausage really enhances the taste of this minestrone soup.

I have tried various flavours of Italian sausage: hot, mild and honey garlic and all of them were outstanding. Smoked honey garlic sausage was the most popular variety among the entire family and the kind I make more frequently.

Lay the sausages on the smoker racks. Make sure that they are not touching each other.

Smoke in a smoker set at 250F. Any wood will produce great results but I usually use hickory for smoking sausages.

After about 3 hours the sausages should reach 165F and will take on a wonderful reddish colour and be slightly shriveled. Once you try these you will no doubt make them again soon, but with twice the quantity of sausages! Trust me on that fact.

These sausages are great on their own. They are also great in a bun, or sliced and used in soup, jambalaya, chili and so many other dishes!

Smoking store bought fresh Italian sausages in a Bradley Smoker
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Smoked Italian Sausages - Hot, mild or honey garlic!

Simple instructions for hot smoking store-bought fresh Italian sausages in their casings. Easy to do in a Bradley, Big Green Egg or any other smoker.
Course Entree, Main Course
Cuisine Smoked
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours
Servings 4
Author Steve Cylka

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds (or more) of fresh Italian sausage in casings
  • wood of choice (I used hickory)

Instructions

  • Set the smoker for 250F and get it smoking with the wood chips/pucks.
  • Place the Italian sausage on smoker racks at least a 1/2 inch apart.
  • Smoke for 3 hours or until the internal temperature is 165F.

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.

38 comments

  1. Wow… smoking the sausage makes it even better looking. It looks amazing. 🙂

  2. First of all, thanks for this wonderful post. Just LOVE smoked food and smoked sausages!! I have a question for you: Doesn’t it leave marks on the sausage when you place them on a rack? That was I was always told. The advice I received was to always have them hanging freely and ensure they were not touching each other. Look forward to your reply?

    • Hey Ray. Thanks for the kind words. Yes placing them on a rack does leave some marks, although they are not all that bad. I find that I can smoke more sausage when they are on racks, particularly when I do storebought fresh Italian sausage like these. I suppose if I was selling them, I would make sure that they were all hanging so they looked better. Hope you enjoy them!

  3. I’ve read a few sites that call for a low smoke of 160, but I find that it is hard to maintain smoke over 3-4 hours with an electric smoker. I like your results pictured at 250. Quick question. Do you bathe them in cold water right after take them off and let them dry at room temp to avoid shrinkage?

    Also, I think I can maintain smoke with my Masterbuilt at 200. Same theory as long as it gets to 155-160 internal?

    Great post, I look forward to your reply and additional tips.

    • I do not bathe the sausage in cold water, as we often eat them right away. I also freeze some for future meals as well. I find that they do not really shrink at all

    • I would NOT smoke the Italian sausages at 160 degrees UNLESS you have made them yourself and included CURE or know that the sausage you were using contained it!

      • I agree. 160f would take too long to come up to the required internal temperature so a cure would be needed in the meat. Typical storebought Italian sausage would not contain cure. That is why I smoke at 250f.

    • You can buy a smoke generator off amazon for around $50. That way you can set your smoker to any temp. and still have smoke.

  4. I smoke mine for 2 hrs @ 200 tops just to get the flavor, then finish on a charcoal grill, the char becomes amazing. You can also broil them to finish. I serve them with a smoked tomato chili sauce.
    ALSO try smoking brats in the same way served with currywurst.

    Cheers!

    EDG

  5. Thanks for the post. I smoked hot Italian sausage for the first time last weekend on my new smoker. They came out good, but they reached an internal temp of 160 in an hour at 225 degrees (according to a Maverick digital thermometer on the same rack as the sausages). They were cooked and juicy. How are you and others smoking them for 3 hours to get to 160 at 225? Unless my thermometer is way off, I do not understand how you do not overcook them is you smoke for 3 hours.

    I noticed that after smoking the sausages, the skin seemed to be thick when eating compared to if I just grilled them. Is this normal or was it maybe just the brand of sausage I used?

    I appreciate anyone’s help!

    • Hey Michael – what kind of smoker do you have?

      Since writing this recipe post, I have made this many many more times, and I have noticed that the total smoking time required really varies compared to how much meat is in my smoker. If I put in one rack of sausages and place them lower, closer to the heat, they get to temp much faster. I have also smoked sausages with whole chickens in the smoker and I find that the smoking time is longer then. I may need to adjust my directions to make it clear that 3 hours may not be necessary.

      Regarding the skin, mine do not come out very thick. They might not have the same snap that grill sausage casings have, but they are still fairly similar.

      Hope this helps!

      • I have a Camp Chef Smoke Vault 24″ gas smoker. I will try a different brand of sausage to see if the casing comes out thinner. Thanks!

  6. Out of curiosity, where did you find such a large package of sausages so cheap? I would do this all the time if I could find something like that.
    Thanks!

  7. Oh my god! Thank you! I’ve searched all around the internet for a picture and a taste summary of a HOT smoked sausage! There is absolutely no way for me to acquire curing salts where i live.
    A couple of questions – some people say that at the tempretures that you cook at, the fat drips out of the sausage and it gets really dry? Is there any truth to that? How do they taste cold?
    Again – thank you

  8. Looks amazing

  9. I use a off set smoker with a side hot box. Really hope this works since I have an additional 8 people showing up to my super bowl party!! I started 7 hours ago with a 8 pound pork but shoulder. Had to come up with a quick idea !

  10. Hey I’m new to smoking, and am looking to do some sausage. I’m going to try the method of 250 for 3 hrs. Do you leave your vent open or closed? I have a masterbuilt 30 in electric smoker. Thanks!

  11. I recently acquired a Bradley Smoker and the first thing I smoked was the Italian Sausage. I put them in for in for three hours on the low rack using alder pucks ( because that is all that was available at the store). I set the temperature on high and left them alone for three hours. Came out perfect. Thanks.

    • Awesome – great to hear! Enjoy your new smoker!!

      • hey, there,I am excited to smoke some sausages today, I was wondering if you continued with adding wood for smoke for the duration of the smoke, or just the initial amount of wood, or something in between.Thanks!

        • I smoke for the whole time but I know others who do not. I think it is a personal preference for how much of a smoky flavour you like.

          • thank you, is that typical for you, for everything you smoke- smoke evident until internal temperature has been achieved?? Just heading out to the smoker, with my Italian sausages and a butterball turkey breast. Thank you for your quick response.

          • Usually – yes. One of my smokers generate the heat from the wood (it is a pellet smoker) so there is no choice but smoke the whole time. Propane and electric smokers do have the option of choosing how much to smoke. But, even when I smoke pork butt or brisket I smoke the whole time. I really love the smoky flavour and never find it overpowered. Have a great day smoking! Sounds like there will be some good eats later!

  12. Thanks for posting this and answering questions Steve — making my first try at smoking Italian sausages on the pellet grill today.

  13. Got a master forge smoker this past Christmas and every weekend it’s been a new test of excitment. Have my first batch of Pork Belly Burnt ends in now….came across your post and just added a rack of Honey Garlic Sausage right away. House full of superbowl fans coming over and can’t wait to test out your suggestion. Thank you!

  14. Do you ever smoke sausage on your pellet grill? I am trying this out on my new Traeger and found that 250 brought the temp up very fast so I dropped it down to 180. Im monitoring the sausages internal temps with a meat prob inserted length wise through the end of two sausages. They were both up to 160 internal in under an hour. This is my first time trying this so I hope it turns out good. Either way, it’s a learning process and I’m excited to eat some.

    • Yes, I have noticed that my pellet grill usually cooks the sausages more quickly. I find that pellet grills hold the heat more consistently than an electric smoker so almost anything I smoke in my pellet grill is finished earlier. That is why I focus more on the internal temp than a cooking time. You are right, it’s all a learning process. Hope you enjoy it!! 🙂

  15. You’ve really got a worthy post and all the info provided! I use a Bradley Smoker and we like all kinds of woods to smoke my sausage with. Your info on temperature is good, get that temp.as quick as possible without over cooking. I find that using a week brine solution made of (real) apple cider, a hint of garlic and sage Powder injected into the sausage really adds to the flavor of those hot Italian sausage. I just add the brine solution with a meat syringe until they wont take any more and put them in a pan for 2-3 hours in the fridge to marinate. Then onto the racks and into the smoker, but doing it this way adds time, but the rewards are worth it!! Just a note: if you don’t have enough cider on hand try some fresh pineapple juice it works to.

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