How to Smoke Sausages on an Offset Pit
Start by building a low-temperature fire in your smoker’s firebox using about 5 pounds of charcoal. Light one corner of the coals using 1 to 2 fire starters and allow the fire to spread slowly across the fuel, about 8-10 minutes. Leave the firebox door and smokestack dampers wide open as the coals ignite.
Once the coals are fully ignited, close the firebox door, keeping the intake vent open. Gradually close both the vent and smokestack damper as you approach 250°F, your targeted cooking temperature. Once the fire is stable and clean burning, place a small split of oak or pecan wood on top of the burning coals.
- Place sausages on the grate in the coolest cooking area, furthest from the firebox. Cook until they reach an internal temperature of 140°F, about 3 hours. At this point, they should be firm to the touch but still look a little pale.
- Open the air intake vent to increase the cooking temperature. Shift your sausages to the higher heat area, closest to the firebox. Cook sausages for another 10 to 15 minutes, flipping once or twice. When the internal temperature reaches 160°F and sausages are deeply colored, remove them from the smoker.
Let the cooked sausages rest for 3 to 5 minutes, but don’t wait too long. Scott Roberts, Pitmaster of The Salt Lick, notes that it is important to serve sausage hot while the melted fat coats the ground meat in the sausage for a warm and juicy sausage. If you let them rest too long, the casings will start to shrivel and lose their crispness.
HOT TIP: You can prevent the casings from wrinkling by plunging the sausage into a cold water bath, stopping the cooking process and bringing down the temperature quickly.
Most BBQ joints in Texas serve the hot links, either whole or cut into sections, alongside beef brisket and pork ribs. Smoked sausages are fantastic as an ingredient in other dishes like BBQ pit beans or red beans and rice. And when you’re feeding a hungry crowd, serve up a tray loaded with a variety of sliced sausages, smoked cheeses and other finger foods.
What is an offset pit?
The original offset smoker design was based on traditional brick BBQ pits, where the fire is located in one room and the heated smoke is drawn into the next room, passing through the meat to cook it slowly at low temperatures. Using the same technique, the fire used by an offset smoker is located in the fire box and the smoke is drawn into the cooking chamber to cook the meat and infuse it with smoke.
Can you smoke sausages in an offset smoker?
Sausage is probably the easiest meat you can smoke in an offset smoker. It’s juicy, flavorful and already filled with deep smoky flavors. There is nothing you need to do to prepare the sausage, simply place in a warm smoker for about 3 hours, flipping them over every 45 minutes. All you need to decide is what type of sausage you want to smoke and what wood flavor will go well with it.
What kind of sausage can I smoke?
There are very few sausages that can’t be improved with a little extra smoke flavor. Italian sausages, brats, chorizo and breakfast sausage can all be smoked.
Can you smoke fully cooked sausage?
As a general rule, you don’t want to smoke sausages that are pre-cooked or pre-smoked at the factory. For the best results, choose fresh, raw sausage meat when shopping for your cook. The only exceptions are kielbasa and hot dogs which can actually be improved with an additional layer of smoke flavor.
What is the best wood for smoking sausage?
Here’s where your second decision comes in. Do you want a strong flavor, a mild or a fruity one? It’s all about complementing or balancing the flavors. When sausage has a strong flavor, you might want to go with a fruity wood like apple. If you want a milder wood flavor, use pecan. For a stronger wood flavor, go with hickory.
At what temperature do you smoke sausages?
The ideal temperature for smoking sausages is 225°F. If you’re using a smoker that can’t be set to a specific temperature, strive to maintain a range between 225°and 240°F.
How long do you cook sausages in a smoker?
On average, larger sausages like brats will take about 2 to 3 hours to smoke, depending on the sausages you choose. Sausages that are thinner will take 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Cooked sausages, found in the prepared meats section, should only be smoked for 30 to 45 minutes. Since they’re already fully cooked, you’re just warming them and adding smoke flavor.
When Is Smoked Sausage Done?
Sausage should be cooked to an internal temperature of 155°F and then rested until it reaches 165°F. To check the temperature, use an instant read thermometer or temperature probe, inserting it through the end, towards the center to avoid poking through the casing.
HOT TIP: Giving your meat the time it needs to rest allows juices to redistribute, retaining moisture for tender meat. The internal temperature will continue to rise 10 to 15 degrees until it levels out and then begins to fall.
Gentle cooking is the key to delicious smoked sausage on an offset smoker or BBQ pit. Maintaining moderate cooking temperatures, around 250°F, keeps the interior from boiling and bursting the sausage casing. If heat is too high and the casing splits, all those flavorful juices will spill out of the sausage. Cooking them too low results in a sausage that is pale on the outside, overcooked on the inside and shriveled up when it cools.