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!

Smoked Kielbasa - How to Smoke Kielbasa Recipe

5 out of 5
14 reviews
A detailed recipe for how to smoke kielbasa. This recipe was smoked in a Bradley Electric Smoker
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 5 hours
Total Time: 6 hours
Servings: 4 rings


  • 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.


Did you try this recipe?

Leave a comment and let me know how it turned out. Or, take a picture to share on Instagram and tag me @theblackpeppercorn.

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Recipe Rating


  • Hello

    I have a traeger smoker and the tempurature does not go that low. How would you smoke it in one of these?

    • Reply
  • 5 stars
    Excellent recipe! Thanks for sharing! I added 3 1/2 tbsp of garlic powder though instead of two and it turned out fantastic for my liking! Your method and cure amount is spot on! Thanks again!

    • Reply
  • 5 stars
    First time trying this recipe and was it good!!!! Thank you so much for sharing.

    • Reply
  • Oh my God so good!

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  • 5 stars
    I used this as a guide and made my first ever kielbasa. I used a pork shoulder and found it was really difficult to grind. ANy fat not trimmed off wound around the shaft and gummed up the works. Very frustrating and wasted so much time cleaning and starting over. Next time I will go to a butcher and ask to have it grown. Because this result had no fat I added bacon to make the meat to fat ratio right. I abhor garlic powder and useda garlic press and fresh garlic instead.After mixing with the other ingredients I wrapped and put in fridge for night. I was whooped!

    I was pleasantly surprised at how the mixture smelled next day and would recommend you always allow the flavors to meld. So worth the wait!
    In the morning I filled the sausages which was a learning process but so much easier than the previous day. I followed the directions exactly to smoke and gently simmer in water. An instant read thermometer is your friend for this. I then hung them and let them “bloom”.

    I couldn’t wait to try the end product and it was so wonderful I was shocked. Yes lots of work but by having the pork ground I am definitely making this for Easter!
    What I shared was greeted with the same enthusiasm. I could have opened a shop then and there.

    Thank you for the basics. It was the best!!


    • Reply
    • I had a similar issue when I first started, the meat just needs to be COLD. I don’t think experienced cooks emphasize this enough because it’s second nature to them, but “cold” means different things to different people. The next time I ground the pork I kept it in the freezer as much as possible while I set other things up and this problem went away. When they say “cold” they mean “COLD!” Hope this helps!

      • Reply
  • Hi
    I’m from Québec city and I’ve make this sausage with my Bradley Smoker…

    This recipe is very very good. When I finish the sausage, I let dry outside (it’s very easy in this time in november) for 4-6 hours. After, I put it on my smoker… I smoke with wood of cherry for half hour, maple for an anther hour and repeat 2 times again. At this time, my sausage take the weather

    Thanks for this recipe

    • Reply
  • Yes this is my second time in a month made 20lb everyone loves it thanks making 10lb today taking it out of the smoker right now thanks again

    • Reply
  • 5 stars
    I added 1tsp liquid smoke for each 5lb of meat and doubled the garlic ,for my taste, otherwise this was a great recipe for me.

    • Reply
  • 5 stars
    Made my own smoker, I’m a welder for 25 years, two boxes small one with burner and wood box joined by a 6×30 inch pipe to a long box where I hang the kielbasa. All SST. Use your recipe heat and times. Tried with natural casing but fatted out sometimes switched to larger diameter synthetic brown casings with good results. I’m Ukrainian decent and live in Norway formally from Canada, make cabbage fools and peirogies as well to feel at home. Thanks for the recipe.

    • Reply
  • Love the sound of this recipe and would like to try it. Just curious if I can adjust the meat mixture from ground pork to include some venison? I was thinking of using some pork belly with it as the vension is very lean? What are your thoughts and thanks for this recipe.

    • Reply
  • 5 stars
    Just finished up my venison kielbasa sausage and it turned out great using this receipe. I used Morton’s Tender Quick for the curing agent. Thanks Steve

    • Reply
  • this was my first attempt and it was a hit spot on everyone enjoyed and said they wouldn’t change the for some recipes you generally have to add alittle more spices to get the taste you want.will reccomend this recipe to others for sure…thank you

    • Reply
  • Sorry about the spelling. Steve
    Frigid autocorrect

    • Reply

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