How to Cold Smoke Sausage: Everything You Need to Know

Cold smoking sausages requires time and patience. While the process of cold smoking sausages, and meat in general, gives them a smoky flavor, it doesn’t cook them.

Cold smoking can be pretty tricky if you don’t know what you’re doing. However, you don’t need to be a professional to cold smoke your sausages. You just need the right information.

To cold smoke sausages, pre-heat the smoker and set the cured sausages in the food chamber. Let the smoke cover your sausages for at least eight hours.

Then, flip them around every hour until they’re done. You can cook them right away once the smoking process is complete, or you can store them in your fridge.

Read on to learn more about how to cold smoke sausage. I’ll also give you some valuable tips that will make your cold-smoked sausages a hundred times better.

how to cold smoke sausage

Why Cold Smoke Sausage?

There are two types of preserving foodstuffs via smoke – hot smoking and cold smoking.

Hot smoking cooks the meat and makes it safe to eat, whereas cold smoking is only done to enhance the flavor of your sausages. For hot smoking sausages, maintain a temperature range of 60-80° Celsius (140-180° Fahrenheit).

On the other hand, when you cold smoke sausages, temperature requirements are significantly lower at 30° Celsius (85° Fahrenheit) and below.

Cold smoking gives your sausages a delicious smoky flavor. Any type of sausage can be cold smoked.

You can also cold smoke different meats, as well as gouda, cheddar, fish, garlic, potatoes, corn on the cob, red peppers, and even hard-boiled eggs.

In addition, you can cold smoke spices, like salt, garlic powder, and paprika.

The best sausages for cold smoking include bratwurst, chorizo, breakfast sausages, boudin blanc, Italian sausages, hotdogs, weisswurst, Polish sausages, and kishka.

Keep in mind that if you cold smoke raw sausages, they need to be cured, salted, and/or fermented first.

How Long Does It Take to Cold Smoke Sausage?

When it comes to cold smoking sausages or any type of meat, the general rule of thumb is the longer, the better.

Your sausages should stay on the grill for at least eight hours, but to avoid any health risks, it’s best to cold smoke sausages for 24 hours.

That’s why it’s essential to have patience when cold smoking sausages.

Since you aren’t technically cooking the meat, just imparting a smoky flavor, you’ll need to cook it afterward.

For cold smoking, the sausages need to reach 30° Celsius (85° Fahrenheit). To be safe for consumption, cook them at temperatures up to 80° Celsius (176° Fahrenheit).

You can also store it in a sealed container in your fridge if you don’t plan on cooking it right away.

Putting them in the freezer is also an option if you want to wait a while before enjoying them. It can also help prolong their quality and prevent bacteria growth.

sausage and meat hanging in smoker made of wood

Steps for Cold Smoking Sausage

There are different ways you can cold smoke your sausages.

Before you start, though, you’ll need the right equipment like a smoke generator (also called a smoker), a food chamber, airflow for the smoke to travel through, and wood chips or pellets.

1. Prepare the Equipment Beforehand

You can make your own cold smoke generator. It doesn’t need to be fireproof since not much heat will be used to process cold smoking sausages. But, of course, you can also buy one.

For the food chamber, you can use your barbeque. Just make sure that it has a lid since you’ll need it to trap the smoke. There should also be a chimney for the excess smoke to escape.

The whole point of these two parts is to keep the sausages in an unheated chamber while smoke continuously comes out from another chamber.

Airflow is also an essential part of cold smoking sausages because it allows the smoke to spread through the entire food chamber.

Additionally, it prevents the smoke from being trapped, which could result in your sausages tasting bad when you take them off the grill and cook them.

There are various types of wood you can use. Maple, hickory, alder, apple, cherry, or other fruit woods should all do the trick.

The smaller the pieces of wood, the better. If you place chunks of wood in the smoke generator, it will create too much smoke.

Whatever you do, don’t use wet wood, as it will only burn unevenly.

2. Cure Your Sausages First

Before you begin cold smoking your sausages, they have to be cured (if you’re smoking uncured sausage, then you have to hot smoke it – click here to learn more).

An ingredient you should add at this point is curing powder. You can use Prague Powder #1 or Prague Powder #2.

Adding this ingredient will help prevent bacteria growth in your sausages.

Prague Powder #1 should be used with meat that’s supposed to be cooked afterward. On the other hand, Prague Powder #2 is intended for meat products that will be dry-cured later.

3. Pre-Heat the Smoker

You also need to pre-heat the smoker before you start cold smoking your sausages. Then, depending on what type of food chamber you have, place the sausages on the wire racks.

If you’re using a barrel food chamber, you also have the option to hang all your sausages from rods that are placed above the chamber.

4. Place the Sausages in the Food Chamber

Using the wire racks in your food chamber or barbeque may be an option, but they also require extra work. You need to flip them around every hour, or they may not smoke evenly.

If you opt for the second method or hanging them in a barrel-type food chamber, make sure that the sausages don’t touch each other.

Before you place your sausages on the grill, make sure they’re dry. The drier the sausage casing, the deeper the smoky flavor you’ll achieve.

When the wood chips have burned out completely, you can refill the smoker with new ones.

Once a couple of hours have passed, you will notice that the sausages have a different color.

The main thing you have to look out for when cold smoking sausages is the low temperature. The smoker needs to retain a consistent low temperature through the entire cold smoking process.

5. Cook the Sausages

Once your cold-smoked sausages are done, it’s time to cook them. You can do this by cooking them regularly in your kitchen, or you can hot smoke them as well.

To do this, simply increase the temperature in your smoke generator. You won’t even have to move them from the grill.

If you’re still unsure about cold smoking your sausages, it’s always a good idea to follow some kind of recipe.

Once you see how everything works, you can start adding various types of food to your grill.

You can find countless recipes for cold smoking sausages online, depending on the kind of sausages you want to work with.

roll of smoked sausage on steel plate

Tips for Cold Smoking Sausage

Here are some tips that will make the process of cold smoking sausages a little easier for you.

Start Small

If you’ve never done this before, it might be a good idea to start with something simple. You should begin with low-risk food, like cheese, nuts, and vegetables first.

Then, once you get the hang of it, you can move on to the salami, sausages, and other meat products.

Be Informed About the Health Risks

Cold smoking meat is more dangerous than hot smoking because that environment helps cultivate harmful bacteria and parasites.

Hot smoking sausages, on the other hand, technically cook them and minimizes those potential risks.

In addition, the heat prevents the growth of those bacteria, making them safer.

Cold Smoke Sausages in the Perfect Environment

You should cold smoke your sausages outside since there will be a lot of smoke.

Colder weather conditions are better suited for cold smoking sausages. If it’s too hot outside, you might risk bacteria growth in the sausages.

On the other hand, it shouldn’t be freezing outside either. If it’s too cold, you won’t be able to retain the heat, even though you need the low temperature to cold smoke sausages.

In that case, add a heat source into the chamber or simply wait for the weather to get a little bit warmer.

Use a Low-Burning Fire to Cold Smoke Your Sausages

Remember, you don’t want the wood chips to burn or create a flame. Instead, they should smolder at a steady pace.

Once you light the wood chips, make sure that they don’t burn all the way through. Then, check every couple of hours to see if you should add more wood chips.

It’s OK to leave the sausages as close to the heat source as possible. However, when you place all the sausages on the grill, make sure to leave enough space between them.

That way, the meat will absorb the smoke evenly. It’s also a good idea to flip your sausages a couple of times to make sure the smoke gets everywhere.

Store Your Cold Smoked Sausages Properly

After you’re done cold smoking your sausages, you can eat them fresh off the grill after cooking them, or you can store them.

If you’d like to save them for later, place them in a plastic zipper-lock bag, aluminum foil, or plastic wrap. Doing this will allow the meat to absorb the smoke even better.

Also, if you don’t mind waiting, you can leave it in the wrap for a couple of days to give the smokey flavor time to build depth.

In Summary

Now that you have the basics for how to cold smoke sausages, it’s time to put that knowledge to work.

Although cold smoking sausages might take a lot of time, you may find that the smoky flavor you get from it is worth the wait. Just remember that it can also be dangerous, so don’t forget to only use sausages that have gone through the curing and fermentation process.

Once you get the hang of it, you’ll see that there is no limit to what you can cold smoke.

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