Top 5 Ways to Cook Smoked Sausage (with Easy Recipes)

best ways to cook smoked sausage

Smoked sausage is a quick and easy meat product to make for a meal, offering many different variations for various sides and condiments.

Several ways to cook smoked sausage, including baking, pan-frying, deep-frying, boiling, and grilling, create a juicy sausage perfect for entrees, sandwiches, or stir fry. 

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Does smoked sausage need to be cooked? 

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Typically, if the smoked sausage has been cured, it does not need to be cooked. When buying smoked sausage, read the label and look for words such as “uncooked” and “cook before eating” (common on grocery store bratwurst for example).

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These words or similar words let you know the sausage you purchase needs to be fully cooked before eating. 

If you buy fresh, uncooked sausage, it is possible to cure and smoke it yourself instead of cooking it. 

How do you cure sausage? 

Sausage is cured with curing salts, such as sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite. Like smoking meat, curing is a method of protecting and preserving the meat, but it is much more effective than smoking it. 

Common examples of cured meat include smoked sausage, summer sausage, charcuterie sausages, prosciutto, and salami

How do you smoke sausage? 

Smoking sausage is relatively easy, especially if you have a smoker which produces juicy, flavorful sausage. Set the smoker to 225 degrees Fahrenheit, then place the link in the smoker and let it smoke for about three hours (similar to smoking bacon).

Smoking Italian sausage, bratwurst, breakfast sausage, kielbasa, chorizo, chicken sausage, beef sausage, and hot dogs are possible. 

The sausage is done smoking when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. 

What are the best ways to cook smoked sausage? 

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The best way to cook smoked sausage is on the grill!

The high heat renders the sausage fat, bringing out all the flavor and juices.

Since the meat is pre-cooked, it should not take more than 10 to 15 minutes to cook on the grill thoroughly. 

Should you cover your smoked sausage in aluminum foil? 

When grilling, covering the smoked sausage with aluminum foil can help the links remain moist and offer more consistent heating results. 

Should you butterfly your smoked sausage before cooking? 

Cutting the sausage down the center lengthwise (but not all the way through), also known as butterflying it, is a cooking method to ensure the meat is thoroughly cooked and crispy. 

Can you pan fry smoked sausage? 

Pan Fry Sausage Top 5 Ways to Cook Smoked Sausage (with Easy Recipes)

The second best way to cook smoked sausage is to pan fry it on the stovetop or hot plate. Again, use a thick-bottomed pan, such as a skillet, to ensure the links cook and char evenly. It should take between 10 and 15 minutes to cook the smoked sausage on the stovetop thoroughly. 

Can you slice smoked sausage before pan-frying it? 

Cutting up the sausage into slices helps speed the cooking process. The link is perfect for an omelet, meaty pasta, or tossed with rice and a vegetable in a stir fry when cut and cooked this way. 

Do you need to add oil or butter to the pan when cooking smoked sausage?

Smoked sausage contains plenty of fat within the links, and as soon as it is heated up, the fat is released. Because Of this, there is no need to add butter or oil to the frying pan. 

Can you bake smoked sausage? 

Baking smoked sausage helps create crispy sausages, especially when cooking a significant amount. When baking the links, keep a watchful eye on the oven because this cooking method sometimes dries out the meat. 

How do you bake smoked sausage? 

Line a baking pan or cookie sheet with aluminum foil to bake smoked sausage and preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bake smaller links for 15 to 20 minutes and larger links for 30 to 40 minutes. Turn the sausage links halfway through cooking to allow them to brown evenly. 

If you discover the smoked sausage dries out too quickly when baking, boil the links beforehand to help them remain juicy on the inside. 

How long do you boil smoked sausage?

Boiling smoked sausage before cooking can help it retain all the flavorful juices. Links should be boiled for 10 to 15 minutes.

When done, the links will be ready to eat; however, you can crisp the outside of the links using the grill, oven, or stovetop.

Can you deep fry smoked sausage? 

It is possible to deep fry smoked sausage. To deep-fry the sausage, dip the links in egg wash (a combination of beaten eggs and milk), then coat them in breadcrumbs or batter.

Pour a healthy oil, such as coconut, avocado, or olive, into the deep fryer and heat to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Fry smoked sausage links for about five minutes. 

What is the healthiest way to cook sausages?

Smoke sausage can be cooked in various ways; however, grilling, boiling, and baking are the healthiest methods.

These cooking methods do not require any oil to cook the links. Pan-frying or deep frying is the least healthy option because they need lots of oil. 

Is it better to boil or pan fry smoked sausage?

When comparing boiling or frying smoked sausage, boiling is the healthiest of the two methods because it does not require oil.

However, cooking with oil helps add more flavor to the links. The best method is what you prefer to eat – healthy or flavorful. 

How do you tell if smoked sausage is fully cooked? 

The best method to determine if smoked sausage is fully cooked is to use a meat thermometer. According to the USDA, the internal temperature for smoked sausage should be 160 degrees Fahrenheit. 

The outside of smoked sausage should be slightly charred (not burned), and the inside should have a pink, steamy core when sliced open. 

Do You Have to Refrigerate Smoked Sausage?

If unopened, smoked sausage that is dry-cured, such as pepperoni or salami, can be stored at room temperature for up to six weeks. If opened, the link should be refrigerated immediately for up to three weeks.

Additionally, unopened smoked sausage can be stored indefinitely in the refrigerator. If the sausage is not dried, it is considered perishable and must be stored in the fridge (ideally in a good container). 

How Long is Smoked Sausage Good for in the Fridge?

If unopened, smoked sausage can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. If opened, the links will remain good for about one week. When stored in the fridge, the temperature should be at least 40 degrees Fahrenheit or less. 

How Long Can Smoked Sausage Sit Out?

Uncured sausage, including smoked sausage, must be refrigerated; otherwise, it enters the “danger zone” where foodborne illnesses are possible if consumed. Smoked sausage should be thrown out if it sits more than two hours at room temperature. 

Can I eat smoked sausage raw?

Smoked sausage typically comes fully cooked and can be eaten straight out of the package. First, check the packaging to determine if the link is pre-cooked.

If uncooked, it should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit before consumption. 

What kind of meat is in smoked sausage? 

Smoked sausage often contains a variety of meats, including turkey, chicken, pork, and beef. However, most brands use pork remains as the meat for making smoked sausage. 

Is smoked sausage the same as Polska Kielbasa? 

Smoke sausage means sausage that has been smoked. Polska Kielbasa translates to “Polish sausage,” which means any sausage from Poland. Outside of Poland, kielbasa often refers to heavily spiced pork sausage that has been smoked. 

What is the difference between andouille sausage and smoked sausage? 

Andouille sausage differs from smoked sausage because the stuffing is sliced or chopped, creating a chunkier texture. Smoked sausage stuffing is made from minced meat that is ground much more refined. 

How do you choose the best type of smoked sausage? 

When going to the store to purchase smoked sausage, you are often greeted with wide varieties and brands. Top smoked sausage brands include Hillshire Farm, Eckrich, and Johnsonville.

Several store brands which are very good are also available at a less expensive price when compared to the name brand options. 

The smoked sausage you choose depends greatly upon what meat you want, such as pork, beef, chicken, or turkey.

Some brands even carry vegan alternatives to smoked sausage. Additionally, you want to check to ensure the link is smoked and fully cooked to reduce the cooking time at home. 

What do you eat with smoked sausage? 

What you eat with your smoked sausage is entirely up to your meal plan and the foods you enjoy. Common items served with the links include casseroles, beans and rice, pasta, stew, and soup. Other popular foods to eat with smoked sausage include potatoes, broccoli, and eggs. 

What are the best condiments and toppings for smoked sausage? 

One of the most popular condiments made with smoked sausage is caramelized onions. These offer the perfect combination of sweet and savory and work well when cutting the links in half and putting them on a bun.

Additionally, sauteed peppers, mustard, ketchup, sauerkraut, pickle relish, and jalapeno peppers work well as condiments for smoked sausage.

Best Recipes To Cook with Smoked Sausage

Below, we’ll look at a few amazing dishes featuring the best ways to cook smoked sausage!

#1. Black-Eyed Pea Soup with Sausage

This recipe represents the perfect example of how smoked sausage can be an amazing addition to just about any recipe.

While black-eyed pea soup on its own is a great dish, adding smoked sausage simply takes it to a new level! Plus, this delicious meal can be ready within one hour! You can’t beat that, folks!

The ingredients include extra virgin olive oil, onion, potato, celery, carrot, garlic clove, salt, pepper, canned black-eyed peas, chicken broth, smoked sausage, and sauerkraut.

#2. Instant Pot Sausage Cacciatore

One great way to cook smoked sausage is using your instapot. There are tons of incredible smoked sausage recipes for the instapot, and one of my favorites is Sausage Cacciatore.

This recipe combines savory ingredients like peppers, onions, and sausage along with fluffy pasta to create an unbelievably delicious meal that takes next to no time to prepare and cook.

Ingredients include green peppers, onions, diced tomatoes, smoked sausage, celery, mushrooms, diced stewed tomatoes, pasta, salt, olive oil, and your favorite Italian seasoning.

#3. One-Pot Sausage and Shrimp Jambalaya

If there’s one dish smoked sausage brings to life, it must be jambalaya. And even if you’re using other meats like chicken or shrimp, adding smoked sausage is still a must for this dish!

This recipe includes olive oil, smoked sausage (andouille or cajun or similar sausages), onion, bell pepper, celery, chicken broth, garlic, crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, creole seasoning, converted or parboiled rice, green onions, and shrimp.

#4. Italian Sausage and Peppers Recipe

Smoked sausage can also make for some amazing sandwiches, especially subs. There’s something about biting into a golden toasted sausage sandwich with onions, peppers, and cheese that can send your taste buds into orbit!

The ingredients you’ll need for this meal include sub rolls, butter, smoked or Italian smoked sausage, sweet bell peppers, onion, tomato paste, Mozzarella or Italian blend cheese, and black olives.

#5. Louisiana Red Beans and Rice

Another New Orleans classic dish that really shines when you add smoked sausage is Red Beans and Rice.

This classic Cajun dish is one family throughout Louisiana make with pride, but even the most partisan critic would agree that this recipe is among the very best you’ll find! And by the way, red beans and kidney beans are two different beans.

The ingredients you’ll need include dry red beans, cooking oil, smoked andouille sausage, yellow onion, bell pepper, celery, garlic smoked paprika, dried oregano, thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, freshly cracked black pepper,

bay leaves, water, parsley, salt, long grain rice, and green onions.

#6. Creamy Sausage Pasta

Pasta and savory smoked sausage go hand in hand and make for some quick, filling, and delicious meals.

This recipe is perfect for working parents who want to put together an excellent home-cooked meal during the week but don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen doing it. Plus, this recipe makes for some incredible leftovers.

You’ll need the following ingredients: onion, olive oil, smoked sausage, minced garlic, bow tie pasta, diced tomatoes, chicken stock, heavy cream, cracked pepper, salt, cheddar cheese, and green onions.

#7. Smoked Sausage and Zucchini Skillet

Smoked sausage can also spice up a healthy meal and is a great way to get your family to eat more veggies.

This recipe for smoked sausage and zucchini skillet is the perfect example of how you can still enjoy healthy foods without sacrificing incredible flavor. Plus, you can serve this dish over brown rice or pasta.

Ingredients for this recipe include olive oil, garlic cloves, onion, smoked sausage, zucchini, yellow squash, cherry or grape tomatoes, dried oregano, red pepper flakes, and salt.

#8. Barbecue Smoked Sausage Bites

The hearty, delicious taste of barbecued smoked sausage makes the grill arguably one of, if not the best, way to cook it.

The smell of sausage on the grill is unmistakable and truly captures the spirit of the backyard bbq. Best of all, it takes next to no time since it’s already “cooked.”

The barbecue sauce cooks into the sausage perfectly to give it even more of a sweet, smokey flavor. These bites make for amazing appetizers or as part of the main course with veggies and mashed potatoes!

For this recipe, you’ll only need smoked sausage and your favorite barbecue sauce (I used Sweet Baby Rays).

#9. Sheet Pan Smoked Sausage and Vegetables

Here’s another recipe that combines delicious, juicy bites of smoked sausage with savory veggies for a very healthy and satisfying meal. Sheet pan dinners are simple, fast, and convenient when you don’t have much time to put a meal together.

And the great thing about these recipes is that you can use just about any veggie you want, although this combination is sensational!

For this recipe, you’ll need the following ingredients: smoked sausage, extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, white wine vinegar, smoked paprika, garlic powder, dried oregano, fresh parsley, salt, pepper, and zest of lemon.

#10. Penne Arrabiata Smoked Sausage

If you’ve never tried delicious arrabbiata sauce, you’re in for a treat. The Arrabbiata sauce is mixed with smoked sausage and penne pasta, making this meal a weekday meal you’ll want to serve again and again.

Ingredients for this dish include penne, smoked sausage, parmesan, chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, garlic, olive oil, fresh parsley, sugar, chili flakes, salt, and pepper.

#11. Easy Stuffed Bell Peppers

Stuffed bell peppers are, without a doubt, one of my favorite foods of all time. My aunt used to make some of the best stuffed peppers in town, and I loved how the melty cheese, meat, and pepper all came together for an intoxicating flavor.

This recipe calls for bell peppers, smoked sausage, mozzarella cheese, cream cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, salt, and pepper.

#12. Sausage Kale and Potato Soup

Here’s yet another example of sausage lending its incredible powers of flavor to a healthy dish. In this recipe for Sausage, Kale, and Potato soup, the smoked sausage also lends its flavor to create a hearty broth.

The ingredients for this dish include avocado oil, smoked kielbasa sausage, yellow onion, garlic, red potatoes, kale, a can of coconut milk, chicken broth, salt, and red pepper flakes.

#13. Sausage Kielbasa Green Beans

Greenbeans are one of those veggies you can season to taste incredible, and when combined with smoked sausage, you’ve got yourself one incredible tag team! This makes for a fantastic main or side dish over rice.

The ingredients needed for this recipe include smoked kielbasa sausage, canned green beans, red onion, butter, black pepper, and water.

#14. Broccoli Sausage Cauliflower Casserole

Try this recipe for Cheesy Broccoli, Sausage, and Cauliflower Casserole for a creamy, delicious, low-carb meal loaded with veggies. Those juicy bites of smoked sausage really compliment the cheesy cauliflower and broccoli florets. Expect cleaned plates all around!

This recipe includes broccoli florets, cauliflower florets, vegetable oil, yellow onion, garlic cloves, smoked sausage, cream cheese, mayonnaise, shredded Mexican cheese blend, dijon mustard, salt, and pepper.

#15. Crock Pot Sausage-Beef Chili

This Mexican-inspired chili is an excellent option for potluck dinners and family gatherings and is sure to leave everyone full and very happy. It’s the perfect meal for those cold winter nights.

The ingredients needed to make this recipe include ground beef, chopped onion, smoked sausage, red bell pepper, garlic cloves, mild green chili peppers, jalapeno peppers, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, black beans, grill seasoning, chili powder, cumin, black pepper, kosher salt, and cilantro.

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