Smoking cured sausage to IT 152F within 4h without rendering fat (?)

Started by dikkiedik, February 19, 2024, 05:37:07 PM

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Hi there BBQ enthusiasts.

I would like to ask some clarification regarding a few issues that popped up in my quest to learn how to 'warm' smoke, i.e. not 'cold' or 'hot', cured sausage.

I am aware there's a lot that has been asked already and I have diligently written notes and experimented, I however still seem to miss a few simple pieces of the puzzle.


These months I have started smoking cured sausage (various meats like beef/pork/duck/venison/turkey) using prague powder #1 on a medium-ish 60 gallon offset smoker.

My question is: How do I get the heat needed to get to 152F internal WITHOUT having to go so hot that I render the fat?

My current proces:

I cure two days before, grind and case one day before, the links take a nap in the fridge overnight, the next day 30min before going on the smoker I take them out and fan them to get them a bit drier.

The smoker set at 140F-150F initially, on they go! I need to get to 140F internal within 4 hours if I understand correctly. That means within 3.5 hours on the smoker when you substract the time they were drying before.

I normally get to the 140F internal within time, all good! BUT getting to 152F internal off course requires more heat. I read that the internal temperature of the meat trails the smoker by around 15F AND that I should not really cross 170F smoker temperature to not render the fat. If my internal temperature trails 170F by 15F that should theoretically (over time) get my internal to 170 -15 = 155F. Sounds doable, but ....

My links almost stall around 140F-ish even if I smoke an extra 2 hours or so. I have read people that say you just have to 'dig in and give it lots of time', but I have seen several recipes and watched a lot of videos (some of them from Leroy ad Lewis BBQ, chuds BBQ, etc) where they smoke to completion WITHIN 4 hours.

How is this achieved??? I would like a link that is safe, can be stored, later heated up without people having to reach a 'minimal temperature' before being eaten, as I can't control that variable if I am not the one cooking.

Am I missing something obvious here?

What would the alternatives be? Smoke at 150-160F till you hit 140F internal, pull them while they are still plump, cool them rapidly, rest and bag them, and rely on heating to a minimal temperature when cooking with them in the future? That also means they can't bloom at room temperature after the smoking session as I understand it.

I hope I expressed myself clearly here. Any questions please let me know :).

👉 EDIT: I just bumped into the concept of pasteurization tables, which seems to add a whole dimension to thinks. It states that if you stay at 140F for at least 9 minutes you are still going to be safe with 'non-intact' i.e ground meats. Is that correct? That would solve the issue immediately.


One last thought. Prior to smoking I fan the links at room temperature for half an our but don't dare to do it for too long as is eats away from my '4-hour to 140F' window. Is this correct or am I overthinking this? Resting in the fridge they stay a tad softish.

Like I said, questions of someone who is really eager to learn but who seems to miss a little part of the puzzle.

Any suggestions, advice or remarks would be really appreciated.

Thanks a million!

Keep that 🔥 up :)


Habanero Smoker

Hi Dikkie,

Welcome to the forum.

There are different definitions of smoking between the traditional "smokehouse" and barbecue. For the traditional "smokehouse" type of smoking; cold smoke is below the temperature of 90F, and hot smoking is between 100F to 180F. When you get into barbecue, hot smoking starts at 200F to 325F - and those are the usual temperatures that are used. I'm not familiar with the  Leroy ad Lewis BBQ, and Chuds BBQ techniques, so I don't have any reference as to what temperatures they use. So they may be using higher temperatures, and you are going to get a different texture.

Since your sausage is cured, the reference of getting your sausage up to 140F within 4 hours is not necessary. I've seen that information posted on various forums - can you post a link that documents this 4 hour rule.

Having said that, when I make and smoke sausage, I use a gradual increase in temperature. After loading the sausage in a 130F preheat Bradley, I will air dry (no smoke) for about 1 -2 hours. This is to dry the casings. Your step of air drying for 30 minutes takes the place of this step. Next, I will bump the temperature up to 145F, and apply my smoke. In my Bradley this will be 2 - 3 hours of smoke. Then bump up the temperature to 170F, and continue to cook until an IT of 155F. Since you are doing this in your offset, you can start at 140F - 145F for a few hours to get some smoke, then bump it up to 170F. Keep an eye on the sausage and cook as long as needed. Although the is an initial trail of temperatures (I've seen up to 25F degrees), this trail decreases over time. Your stall at 140F shouldn't be that long. It may be that you are using too much water in your sausage. See if you can cut back on the amount of water.

Many members will remove the sausage from the smoker when the sausage reaches a certain temperature (I can't recall that temperature at this time, but I believe it is at the 140F mark; but color plays a factor in this also), and place them in a 160F water bath, and cook them until they reach 155F. Then chill quickly in an ice bath. Others will bump the temperature to 175F – 180F, but you need to keep an eye on the sausage, and have an ice bath ready.

As for pasteurization, I believe that the 155F internal temperature take that into account; instead of cooking until the sausage reaches a temperature of 160F.

Smoke Sausage

The whole article is very useful. You may want to grind and mix your sausage as it is described in the article. Using their method; you can stuff, and start smoking immediately after grinding. In  this article, the procedure for Polish sausage is confusing; and it does not look like that is a fully cooked sausage.



Thanks for the detailed answer. It's true that gathering info (especially when the internet is involved) for a beginner can be a bit daunting.

Regarding getting up to 140F within 4 hours, it's just like you mentioned, I have seen it posted several times. I remember someone doing a video somewhere with uncured sausage who also mentions the rule while using a time limit of 2 hours to get to 140F for the uncured sausages he is putting in. I forgot the name of the video though.

Is there any important time limit to adhere to then with the cured sausages? I assume it's not indefinite :). If this is more flexible I can also dry the links a little longer before smoking which in my eyes would also be good.

I am first going to read the linked article to get more up to speed. 

Thanks for the tips! I really appreciate it.

Habanero Smoker

I hesitate to give a time frame, because it depends on several factors. Sausage with nitrites added, and with the additional salt in the recipe, you would not have any worries of harmful bacteria during a long smoke. With fresh sauage (uncured) that rule makes better sense. But as a precaution, the USDA states not to smoke fresh sausage below a temperature of 200F.  Depending on the casing size, and other factors; it has taken me up to eight hours to fully smoke a batch of sausage in my Bradley. With your offset, you should be able to fully smoke your sausage in a much shorter time.

If you are just starting out with sausage making, it is best to learn the basics from a site that is geared towards curing and smoking. Then come back here to see how others apply those techniques to the type of equipment they are using to smoke their sausages. If you go to this forum's sausage making section, you will find recipes and different techniques there, that members have posted.

I was going to post a link to the site I have used in the past, but they no longer have an English site. If I learn of another site, I'll post a link.



Thanks for the reply. Good advice.

Just curious, the other site you mentioned, which language is it in? I speak several so maybe it will still be of use to me :)

Habanero Smoker

It polish. I've posted the link below. When I was searching for the English version, I saw a post on Reddit that the English version is occassionally back on line. I haven't tried google's translator, that may help.

Wedliny Domowe

Its the forum of this website. This website is very useful for sausage making and curing meats. The only flaw is that you may have to dig around to find an answer to a specific question.
Meats and Sausages




The smoker temperature can be increased slightly 150-160F to reach 152F internal temp without rendering fat. You should focus on reaching a safe internal temperature 152F over following a strict 4-hour timeframe.


Holding your sausage at 140F for 9 minutes ensures safety even with ground meats, eliminating the need for high heat that renders fat. If you still want 152F internal, gradually increase smoker temperature to 160F after reaching 140F to balance smoke flavor and minimize fat rendering.


Preheat your smoker to a low temperature initially (around 130°F) to dry the surface of the sausages. This helps in forming a pellicle, which allows smoke to adhere better to the sausages.
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