How Long To Smoke Summer Sausage? What You Need To Know

It’s That Time of year again. It’s time to fire up that old smoker, or maybe you treated yourself and got a new top-of-the-line smoker, and you are rearing to use it. Whether it’s old or new, smoking that perfect summer sausage is what we are after here.

Starting slowly is the key to the perfect summer sausage. First, preheat the smoker to 145°F and slowly turn up the heat to 165°F. You know the summer sausage is done when the internal temperature of the sausage reaches 155°F. This process can last anything from 4 to 10 hours.

how long to smoke summer sausage

Getting that perfect summer sausage doesn’t only depend on the smoking process. Finding the perfect wood chips to add just the right flavor is also very important. It becomes an art that people master over time. Patience and experiment are fundamental to creating your perfect summer sausage.

How Long To Smoke Summer Sausages?

The time it takes to smoke a summer sausage depends on a few factors; how thick is your summer sausage and what wood you are using.

As a basic guideline, you should preheat your smoker to 145°F. You can choose to hang or lay your summer sausages in your smoker, but make sure that they do not touch each other. Allow them to dry at this temperature for an hour with the dampers wide open.

Then add your wood chips, close your dampers ¾ and increase the temperature to 155°F, and smoke for 4 hours.

Continue adding wood chips to your smoker and increase the temperature to 170°F and cook until the internal temperature of your summer sausage reaches 155°F.

You can leave your summer sausage for a longer period in the smoker, depending on your taste and how rich of a smokiness flavor you want or how dry you want the summer sausage to be.

There is no set time for how long it takes to smoke summer sausages.

 Instead, many factors play a part in how long to leave the summer sausage in the smoker. So let’s take a closer look at how long to smoke them to ensure you get an excellent end product.

Why Does My Summer Sausage Temperature Stall? 

For the inexperienced smoker, you may wonder what stalling is. A temperature stall is when your summer sausage reaches a plateau in its internal temperatures. 

As you know, the desired internal temperature is 155°F when the summer sausage is done. However, many seasoned smokers will tell you that your summer sausage will stall between 130°F and 140°F.

It may take hours for the temperature to break and start rising again. So do not make the mistake of wanting to crank the temperature up to increase the internal temperature of the summer sausage. 

This is a common process that the meat needs to go through.

What is a Temperature Stall?

A temperature stall is when the fats in the meat are turning from a solid-state to a liquid form. 

Think about when you sweat, for example, your body excretes moisture and this, in turn, helps keep your body temperature constant or cool it down. 

In some way, the meat is sweating. The fat that is in the summer sausage is turning into a liquid form and is being excreted. This moisture makes it so that the temperature stays constant, sometimes even drops by a few degrees.

Once all the moisture has evaporated, the temperature of the summer sausage will start to increase.

Can I Dry My Summer Sausage In The Oven?

Don’t have a smoker? Don’t worry, and don’t spend your last pennies on acquiring a smoker. You can still dry your summer sausage in the oven

Preheat your oven to 145°F and place your summer sausage in the oven for an hour. Next, increase the heat to 170°F and cook the sausage till it reaches an internal temperature of 155°F.

There are products such as liquid smoke or smoke powders that you can add to the meat during your mixing process to give it that smokiness flavor. But, unfortunately, nothing beats a naturally smoked summer sausage.

What Is The Best Wood To Smoke For Summer Sausages?

Knowing what wood is best to smoke your summer sausage depends on what flavor you want. 

Are you after a strong smoked earthy flavor or maybe a mellower sweet flavor, perhaps even a bit of a nutty taste? 

Remember that not all types of wood are suitable for any summer sausages. In addition, some flavors are better suited to certain types of meat.

WoodFlavorTypes of Sausages
HickoryStrong, beacon flavorItalian, summer type sausages
MesquiteStrong, earthy flavorVenison meat
AppleLight, slightly sweet flavorPolish and Italian
OakMellow to strong flavorVenison, summer, Italian and polish
CherrySweet fruity flavorPolish and summer sausages
PecanSlightly sweet and nuttySummer and Italian sausages
PeachSweet fruity flavorSummer, Italian, and Polish sausage
AcaciaStrong flavorItalian and polish sausage

What Wood To Avoid When Smoking Summer Sausages?

Here are some species of wood that you should never use in smoking, not only because they give off an unpleasant smell, but it will also make you sick.

  • Pine
  • Fir
  • Cedar
  • Cyprus
  • Sassafras
  • Sycamore
  • Elm
  • Eucalyptus

Why Does My Smoked Summer Sausage Shrink?

You will find that the casing on your summer sausages shrivels and shrink after being smoked. This is due to the moisture that has been evaporated from the sausage.

When stuffing your summer sausage, make sure that you have firmly stuffed the sausage into the casing. To prevent the meat from pulling away from the casing and creating an unattractive shrink.

You can decide how long to smoke your sausage, and if you want it semi-dry or dry, this will also affect the casing and how much it will shrink.

During the smoking process, the moisture in the meat will evaporate, and the fat will turn into liquid and drip out. Due to this, the meat will shrink and cause the casing to shrivel and shrink. 

Should I Cool Summer Sausages After It Has Been Smoked?

There seems to be a difference of opinion on whether or not you should cool the summer sausage after taking it out of the smoker and stick it in an ice bath.

The reason you need to cool the summer sausage down after smoking it, is to stop the cooking process of the meat. 

You need to bring the temperature down from 155°F to 100°F or lower quickly to prevent the sausage from overcooking and drying out too much.

Ice baths are exactly as their name suggests water with ice. Submerge your summer sausage into the ice bath for 10 to 15 minutes. Then hang to dry in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

Now the debate on this method is that you are reintroducing moisture into the meat, which would defeat the purpose of the summer sausage. However, ensuring that you dry the sausage well before hanging it in the fridge will help in eliminating that problem.

Also, ensure that the casings have been appropriately tightened and sealed during the stuffing process. 

Another way would be to seal it in an airtight bag and plunge it into the water. 

There are many ways you can ensure no moisture re-enters the summer sausage, but you should cool your summer sausage down to 100°F or less after it comes out of the smoke. The cooling process is essential for a perfect end product.

Final Word

Time and patience is a virtue that you will need to possess when tackling the art of smoking any summer sausage. Practice will improve your skills and secrets, turning you into a well-seasoned smoker.

Remember that the summer sausage’s internal temperature needs to reach 155°F for it to be safe to eat. The cooling off process is just as important, even though it is only a fraction of the time you spent creating this perfect delicatessen.

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