How To Tell When Smoked Sausage Is Done

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Smoking any type of meat can be fun to do, and it may take some planning, and if more experience is required a quick read of a blog is necessary. It can be good to ask questions and to know details about what you are smoking. This post in particular will be answering the best way to tell when smoked sausage is ready to be eaten.

Smoked sausage is fully cooked when the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit. This will take multiple hours dependent upon link thickness and cooking time. Cooking it at 250 degrees Fahrenheit will usually take 3-4 hours if the lid is kept on the smoker.

But what makes these numbers prominent in the answer, and why do they matter. Keep reading to know exactly why it’s best to follow these guidelines.

What Goes In Sausage

When it comes to sausage, in my mind it is different than most meats. It has a casing which is cooked with the meat. I was not totally sure what meat was used in it. I just knew that it was delicious. So I did some research into what goes into sausage itself, which will help explain its criteria for being fully cooked.


All Sausage consists of some type of ground meat since it needs to be mixed with other flavors. Also, it needs to be maneuvered into the casing that most sausages use. The ground meat is the best way to accomplish this and the meat cooks better inside the casing.

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The typical sausage is made from ground pork. That is the traditional meat to use. The pork is most often used from the shoulder, butt, or loin of the pig. These areas have the most muscle or meat to use in the ground pork. This gives plenty of meat to use to make lots of links.

Some other atypical meats that are used for pork is beef being the next. It is a substitute, but not very common. Poultry is also used in sausages, such as turkey or chicken. These are a little more common, but still not used as much as pork when it comes to sausage.

Why 160?

Knowing what your sausage is made of will help you understand why you should make sure it gets heated to 160 degrees. On top of that, the USDA suggests this specific temperature.

The USDA recommends cooking ground pork sausage to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit/71 degrees Celsius. 


But that is not the only reason to follow such a guideline. If recommendations were blindly followed with no reasoning behind them there might be a slight problem with trust issues. But looking at it with factual ideologies can help shed some more light on the subject.

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When ground meat is mixed it interacts with many different surfaces. Meat is cooked to make sure that the bacteria on the meat is killed and it is safe to eat. That is how steaks can still have pink on the inside. The bacteria isn’t there and the surface of the meat is seared. But for ground meat, this isn’t the case and the bacteria can become a problem if the sausage isn’t properly cooked.

Cooking it to a normal internal temperature of 145 may leave some bacteria still alive and ready to cause damage. this is due to the composition of ground beef and it needs a thorough cooking process to be safe.

Other Ingredients

There are other ingredients added to sausage in addition to the meat. This is to give the sausage additional flavor as it cooks, letting the ingredients become part of the whole experience. These are just some common ingredients that can be added to liven up the sausages that you are smoking.

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Salt is a big ingredient in a lot of things. Salt, though impossible to describe is a major ingredient and enhances the flavors of so much of what we eat. That is why salt is used in sausages, it brings to life the other ingredients that are added. It can be something that acts as a strong base for the rest of the recipe.

Some additional ingredients that can add to your sausage links are breadcrumbs and grains. These give a little more substance to the sausages and allows for new flavors to be a part of the links.

Some other ingredients that are not so common, but are used depending on the type of sausage flavor you are going for is juices, such as apple juice. Also, syrups, especially maple syrup for breakfast sausages are really good. These less common ingredients are just some of many that can be used to enhance the flavor of your sausages.

Finally, the last thing is flavoring packets. These are becoming more widely used as the world looks toward the simple life. It is easy to add flavor packets to some ground pork and to add it into the mix. This could make your sausages have many different flavors that could be used and tried out.

The Casing

Many sausages require casings to hold them in their shape. These are typically edible and don’t have to be removed before eating cooked or smoked sausage. But some thicker sausage links have a tougher casing that should be removed before consumption. But casings are typically made of collagen or cellulose. These are edible proteins that are used in organisms. The casings allow for form to be held while cooking takes place.


Sausages are widely eaten among humans and have many different forms and flavors. But when it comes to smoking sausages, making sure that the sausage is 160 degrees Fahrenheit is highly important and it can be good to check this before eating them. Also, another interesting thing to note is that after the sausages are cooked and hot it is best to eat them quickly. Letting them cool will cause the casings to harden and shrivel, leaving a much less pleasurable texture behind. But whether you are smoking them for a meal or to be frozen for later, sausages are delicious meat that adds to a meal.

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