The Pit Boss pellet grill makes it easy to smoke delicious sausages, and you’ll notice a much more flavorful smoky flavor than when grilled. By following these tips, you’ll see how easy it is to smoke delicious sausage using the Pit Boss or any other brand smoker.
Types of Smoking
Before we get deep into the tips for smoking sausage on a Pit Boss, we first have to discuss the two types of smoking you can do.
- Hot Smoking: This method involves using the grill as a cooking appliance and cooking the meat thoroughly until it reaches a safe internal temperature of at least 160°F.
- Cold Smoking: Isn’t much different than “hot smoking”, except that you’ll want to make sure they’ve been cured, salted and fermented first. Some of the best sausages for cold smoking are; hotdogs, kishka, chorizo, boudin blanc, etc. (If you’ve never cold smoked before, I’d recommend starting with something simple first like paprika, salt, or garlic powder)
If you don’t know what you’re doing, I’d recommend hot smoking the meat. Cold smoking can be dangerous because it creates the perfect environment for harmful bacteria to grow.
That said, regardless of which method you use to smoke your sausage, these tips will work for both cold or hot smoking.
#1 Start With Fresh Sausage
One of the worst things you can do is try smoking old outdated sausage. It’s important to start with fresh sausage that hasn’t been sitting in the fridge for weeks. If you can, buy your sausage no more than 1-2 days before cooking it.
After that, it will start to lose it’s freshness, and won’t taste as good. While it’s still possible to smoke out of date sausage, just know that it won’t be as flavorful.
If you’re really in a bind, and can’t find any fresh sausage, the next best thing is to buy frozen sausage. Just make sure to thaw it out completely before smoking it.
#2 Choose The Right Type of Sausage
You can’t go wrong with the type of sausage you choose to smoke. That said, you’ll want to look for the ones that provide you with the best texture and flavor, so you get the best results after smoking them.
Sausages with a higher fat content tend to do better than leaner varieties. This is because they will sit in the smoker for about 3-4 hours in 180°F – 210°F/ 80°C-100°C. If the meat too lean such as; Bowyers Pork which boasts less than 5% fat pork sausages, you’ll end up with with a dry sausage no one wants to eat.
Some of the best sausages to smoke on a Pit Boss smoker are:
- Chorizo (11 grams of fat)
- Kielbasa aka Polish Sausage (10 grams of fat)
- Italian Sausage (35 grams)
- Brats (17 grams)
- Andouille Sausage (11 grams of fat)
- Kurobuta Pork Sausage (12 grams)
There are literally several types of sausages to choose from, such as chicken, pork, cheddar, etc. The type you choose will depend on how you plan on using it. For example whenever I smoke Chorizo, I love using it with eggs, for breakfast wrapped in a tortilla.
If you’re cooking for a large group and plan on serving the smoke sausage on hot dog buns, then I’d recommend bratwursts.
#3 Clean Your Pit Boss Pellet Grill
Before you start smoking the sausages, you’ll want to clean out the grill. This is an important step that most people forget to do. I always make it a point to clean out my grill before a long smoke.
This is because you don’t want any residual flavors from the last thing you smoked, to affect the flavor of your sausage. It’s not necessary to do a deep cleaning, unless it’s been awhile since you’ve cleaned it.
Before every long smoke, I remove the grates, fire shield and vacuum out the ashes. I also make sure the chimney is clean, otherwise, I’ve noticed that it leaks grease on the side shelf.
Then you’ll want to clean the grates to make sure it is free of any debris from your last cook. You can use a brush, to wipe it off. If you don’t have a brush, turn the grill on high and let it do a burn off, that will burn most of the residue off.
After the burn off, set the temperature back down to the smoke setting and wait until the temperature gets low enough. You don’t want to put the sausages on the grill while it’s burning at 500°F or hotter, otherwise, you’ll be grilling them.
#4 Choose the Right Wood
When it comes to producing flavorful sausages, choosing the right wood makes a huge difference. While everyone has their preference in the types of woods they use.
That said, I personally have never noticed a huge difference in the flavor when I smoke foods, unless it’s a long smoke look brisket, or pork shoulder. So whenever I smoke sausages, I always tend to use whatever I have in the hopper.
So feel free to smoke your sausage using different flavored pellets. Eventually, you’ll learn which flavors work best for you.
If you’re looking for a rich, smoky “bacon like” flavor, then go with hickory. These are the flavored pellets that many hardcore BBQ enthusiasts use, because they compliment beef pork, chicken, and veggies extremely well.
#5 Set the Temperature to “S” for Smoke
The Pit Boss controller has a “smoke” setting which looks like a 5 on the new Smoke IT controller. If you’re using an older control board, then the “smoke” setting is right above the “off position.
This is the setting you’ll want to use whenever you’re “hot smoking” any type of food. When set to the smoke setting, the Pit Boss produces reasonable smoke temperature between 180°F – 210°F/ 80°C-100°C, designed to infuse the sausages with smoke.
#6 Monitor The Grill’s Temperature (Don’t Let It Get too Hot)
If you’re smoking the sausages on a cloudy or overcast day, you won’t have an issue with the grill getting too hot. However, when smoking on a hot summer day, the grill can become too hot. Your job is to ensure the grill’s temperature doesn’t crawl above 225°F/107°C.
Otherwise, the grill goes from smoking the sausages to grilling them. And if you leave them in too long, they’ll overcook and possibly burn.
If you notice the temperature starting to creep up, open the lid and let some of the heat escape for a minute or two until it goes back down to 180°F – 210°F/ 80°C-100°C. I know this goes against what everyone says about smoking foods “If You’re Looking You Ain’t Cookin‘”
That said, you don’t want to keep opening and closing the lid to regulate the grill’s temperature. So here are some tips to help you lower the temperature without having to stand by the grill.
#7 Don’t Over Smoke Them (Avoid Using A Smoke Tube)
Most people who start smoking foods tend to believe that more smoke is better. However, I’m here to tell you that, it’s not true. Infusing too much smoke into your foods can make them taste terrible, and inedible.
Avoid using a smoke tube, as that can be too much smoke. I know some people will still want to use one as they feel it’s necessary, to get smokier sausages. If you must, then use half of the smoke tube.
Also, consider using a lighter flavored pellet such as apple or cherry. These two pellets produce a lighter smoke that’s perfect for hot smoking sausages. Another tip is to not smoke the sausages for more than 4 hours, even without a smoke tube.
Smoking foods doesn’t mean you’re bombarding the foods with smoke. Instead, you want a a small amount of smoke to infuse the foods and leave a smokey flavor.
One of the biggest mistakes rookies make is to use too much smoke or keep the foods on the smoke setting too long.
#8 Use A Reliable Thermometer
The last thing you want to do is overcook the sausages, which is very easy to do, even on the smoke setting. Make sure you have a reliable meat thermometer and check the internal temperature often. According to the Food Safety website, sausages should reach an internal temperature of 155-165°F (68-74°C).
You can also set up the Pit Boss meat probes, to keep an eye on the temperature without opening and closing the lid.
Don’t have a meat thermometer, no problem. You can check to see if the sausages are done by how the inside looks. When cooked properly, the sausages will be golden brown on the inside (the pink is gone) and no signs of blood.
You’ll also notice the juice is clear when you cut it in half.
#9 Rotate or Flip The Sausages
Have I said that it’s possible for the sausages to burn, even on the smoke setting? Flipping the sausages will ensure they cook evenly on both sides. Plus, it will ensure the smoke is distributed evenly .
I recommend flipping or rotating the sausages every 30 to 45 minutes. I’d recommend using a spatula to roll them over to the opposite side, as a fork will pierce the casing, and cause the sausage to dry out.
#10 Don’t Rush The Process
The final tip is to not rush it. Expect the smoking process to take anywhere from 2-3 hours or longer, depending on size, thickness, the ambient temperature, and the temperature fluctuation of the grill.
Place the sausages on the grates and let the grill do its job. If you take the sausages off too soon, you run the risk of them not being cooked all the way through, which can make people sick.
#11 Use The Leftovers Quickly
Cooked sausages can last up to 4 days in the fridge, so you’ll want to make sure you eat them quickly. If you don’t plan on eating them in time, make sure you’re freezing them for a later date.
The Pit Boss smoker makes it easy to smoke any of your favorite sausages. One of the most difficult parts I’ve found is waiting patiently for the smoking process to finish. However, it’s well worth the wait when you take that first bite of juicy, flavorful sausage.
By following these tips, you’ll be sure to end up with some delicious smoked sausage every time.
And don’t forget, practice makes perfect! So get out there and start smoking!