Do You Need to Cook Summer Sausage to Enjoy Its Glorious Flavor?

Summer sausage is satisfactorily savory. It actually makes my breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even midnight snack! However, whenever I opt for summer sausage, I consider one question. Shall I eat it raw or cook it?

So, do you need to cook summer sausage?

No, summer sausages don’t require cooking. You can eat them right from the package. The alluring sausage is cured, dried, and smoked, eliminating the chance of harmful bacterial growth. As a result, they are perfectly edible as raw. You can also cook them, but remove the casing before cooking.

The smoky, flavorful summer sausage pair perfectly with any dish, making them super yummy and finger-licking. Moreover, you can store and relish them for a long time.

If you want to know more about summer sausage, stay with us.

Do You Need To Cook Summer Sausage

Do You Need To Cook Summer Sausage

Summer sausage is a great snack to have on hand when you’re looking for something satisfying and easy to eat.

But, do you need to cook this smoky sausage? No, you don’t need to cook summer sausage to enjoy its flavor.

Summer sausage is not the hot-off-the-press story; it’s an old traditional way of curing meat. With no refrigerator and freezer, the smoking and curing let them store and relish the sausages for many months.

Now how do they remain fresh for longer?

Summer sausages are cured meat smoked and dried, removing all the moisture. As a result, there remains no possibility for bacterial growth in the meat.

Many people believe that cooking summer sausage diminishes its flavor. Summer sausage is a type of cured meat that is typically enjoyed as-is, without any cooking required.

However, it’s not written in the scripture that you can’t cook summer sausage. Indeed, you can add this sausage in various dishes.

But one note: if you decide to cook summer sausage, remember that it doesn’t need to be cooked for long. Overcooking summer sausage can make it dry and tough.

So plan what you’d be doing and get ready to be lost in its flavorful paradise.

How To Smoke Your Summer Sausage (Step-By-Step Guide)

How To Smoke Your Summer Sausage (Step-By-Step Guide)

Smoking is a great option if you want to enjoy the flavor of summer sausage without cooking it. Smoking summer sausage is a simple process that requires no special equipment.

Equipment You Will Need:

The ingredients you need: 

IngredientsAmount
Ground Beef2 lbs
Water1 cup
Salt3-4 tsp
White Sugar1 tsp
Black Pepper2 tsp
Garlic Powder1 tsp
Mustard Seeds½ tsp
Curing Salt2 tsp
White pepper1 tsp (optional)
Paprika1 tbsp

1. Grind The Meat

Start by grinding the meat you will use for your summer sausage. You can use a variety of meats, but pork and beef are the most common. You may want to add some fat to the mix if you use leaner meat. That will help to keep the sausage moist during the smoking process.

2. Mix The Spices

Curing salt, black pepper, coriander, and garlic powder are the most common spices used in summer sausage. However, you can use any combination of spices that you like.

So, mix the spices that you will be using. Curing salt, black pepper, brown sugar, and garlic powder are essential for flavor. You can also add other spices to taste, such as paprika or cayenne pepper.

Once the spices are mixed, regrind the meat. It will help to distribute the spices evenly throughout the sausage.

3. Stuff The Sausage

Stuffing the sausage is a great way to add flavor and spice to your meal. Once the meat is ground and the spices are mixed, it’s time to stuff the sausage. If you have a sausage stuffer, this will make the process easier.

Otherwise, you can simply use your hands to form the sausage into shape.

4. Time To Cure

Now, it’s time to let the sausage cure. It is an important step, as it helps to prevent bacteria from growing. Place the sausage in a cool, dry place and let it cure for 24-48 hours.

5. Prepare The Smoker

When the sausage is done curing, it’s time to prepare the smoker. If you are using a grill, you will need to soak wood chips in water for 30 minutes. It will help to prevent them from burning.

Preheat your smoker and get those sausages smoking nicely if you use a smoker. After preheating your smoker or grill at 120 degrees Fahrenheit (or 54 Celsius) for one hour with the damper wide open, it’s time to close the damper halfway and let the sausages cook for another 5-6 hours.

6. Smoking The Sausage

Now that the sausage is prepared, it’s time to start smoking. If you are using a smoker, set it up according to the manufacturer’s instructions. For best results, use hickory or mesquite wood chips.

Place the sausage in the smoker and let it cook for 3-4 hours. The exact time will depend on the size and thickness of the sausage.

Once the sausage is cooked, remove it from the smoker and let it cool. If you want to stop cooking, place the sausage in a cool water bath. It will help to prevent it from drying out. Summer sausage can be eaten immediately or stored in the fridge for later.

7. Enjoy

Once the sausage is smoked, it’s time to enjoy it. Of course, it can also be cooked if you prefer.

How To Maintain The Perfect Temperature?

If you’re smoking summer sausage, it’s important to maintain a temperature of 200 degrees Fahrenheit. This low temperature helps preserve the sausage’s flavor while ensuring it is cooked.

Here are a few tips for maintaining the perfect temperature.

  • Use a digital thermometer to monitor the smoker’s or grill’s temperature.
  • Place the sausage on the upper rack of the smoker or grill, as this will help prevent it from drying out.
  • If you use a charcoal grill, add more coals to maintain the temperature.
  • If you use a gas grill, adjust the vents to maintain the temperature.
  • Add more wood chips as needed to keep the smoke going.

With these tips, you’ll easily maintain the perfect temperature for smoking summer sausage.

How Long Should You Smoke The Sausages?

How Long Should You Smoke The Sausages

At some point, we have all asked ourselves this question. How long should I smoke the sausages? But, as mentioned earlier, Summer sausage isn’t always necessary to cook.

Sometimes, it depends on many factors: the type of sausage, the size of the sausage, and your preferred level of doneness.

Type of Sausage

The type of sausage you are smoking will greatly impact how long it needs to be smoked. For example, fresh sausages (such as bratwurst) will only need to be smoked for 1-2 hours, whereas cured sausages (such as salami) can be smoked for 3-4 hours. 

The type of sausage you are smoking will also impact the internal temperature that you should aim for. If you are using fresh sausages, you should cook them to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Cured sausages, on the other hand, can be cooked to an internal temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

Size of Sausage

The size of the sausage will also impact how long it needs to be smoked. For example, smaller sausages (such as hot dogs) can be smoked for 2-3 hours, whereas larger sausages (such as kielbasa) will need to be smoked for 3-4 hours.

Preferred Level of Doneness

Your preferred level of doneness will also influence how long you should smoke your sausages. If you like your sausages to be on the rare side, they will only need to be smoked for 2-3 hours. However, they will need to be smoked for 3-4 hours if you prefer them to be more well done.

Generally, it is best to smoke sausages for 3-4 hours. This will ensure that the sausage is cooked through without drying out.

If you use a charcoal grill, you will need to add a gas grill’s temperature and adjust the vents as needed to maintain the temperature. Add more wood chips as needed to keep the smoke going.

Storing Summer Sausage

Once the summer sausage is cooked, it can be eaten immediately or stored in the fridge for later.

If you want to stop cooking, you can place the sausage in a cool water bath. It will help to prevent it from drying out. Summer sausage can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

FAQ’s:

  • Can you eat summer sausage cold?

Yes, you can eat summer sausage cold. Many people prefer to eat it cold. If you want to eat it cold, simply store it in the fridge until you’re ready to eat it. 

  • Is summer sausage good heated up?

Yes, summer sausage is just as good heated up. However, if you want to heat it, you can do so in the microwave or stovetop.

  • Does Hickory Farms summer sausage need to be cooked?

Hickory Farms makes some of the best summer sausages around. They use a special curing process that keeps them safe and stable, even when exposed to high temperatures for long periods during the grilling season.

So, no, their summer sausage does not need to be cooked.

Take Away

Summer sausage is a great addition to any barbecue or picnic. It is easy to make and can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. With its savory flavor and versatility, summer sausage is a must-have for any sausage lover.

Do you need to cook summer sausage?

No, you don’t need to cook summer sausage. It is already cooked and safe to eat. However, some people prefer to heat it before eating. You can do this by microwaving it or heating it on the stovetop.

Whether or not you choose to cook summer sausage is entirely up to you. Some people prefer to cook it, while others enjoy the flavor and texture of uncooked summer sausage.

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Jamie Guerin

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