Smoking store bought sausage question..

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Original poster
Jan 28, 2017
Upstate SC
Hello all,

    I've smoked sausages twice now, with very different results, and only one real difference in method, which leads me to question if this is a regular occurrence, or just a fluke that happened to me.

   Several weeks ago, I smoked some store bought, Italian sausages.  I'd searched around and found the ideal internal temp to be about 165, to ensure the ground meat was cooked.  I was using a 30" electric smoker, with soaked applewood chips.  The only thing I neglected, in my excitement to be smoking sausage, was I didn't add anything to the water pan in the bottom.  Sausages came out absolutely fantastic, and we were all fighting over the leftovers, until my wife decided to put them into an quiche, which satisfied the whole family.

 Follow up to last week, when I had friends coming up, and smoked store bought Italian sausages again, along with some similar store bought bratwurst.  This time, I was using soaked pecan wood, and remembered to add liquid to my water pan, using a beer, as I thought this would add a nice flavor to the brats.

  Last weeks sausages came out tasting really good, but the casings on the sausages were a whole different story.  They were thick, tough, and a little rubbery.    I'm trying to figure out if that's because of the liquid in the pan, keeping the moisture level up, and thereby keeping the casings moist, instead of letting them dry out.

   I'm inferring that this is the reason, as both the Italian sausages and the bratwurst had the same thick rubbery skin, whereas the Italian sausages cooked without liquid in the pan did not have thick, rubbery casings.

   I don't know if this is because of whatever the store bought casings are made of, or if I just got a bad batch of both.  Should sausages be cooked without water in the pan to ensure a thin casing that will snap when bitten or cut?

   Thanks in advance for any tips and advice!

I run a dry smoker no matter what I'm smoking.

Try it again without anything in your water pan and see what happens.

FYI if you do use liquid you won't gain any flavor by using beer, juice rather than water.
Casey When smoking with the water pan filled with liquid,you are more or less Steaming the sausage.Smoke does not adhere to wet meat,as well as it does dry.If you read up in sausage you will see most folks give an hour of low heat to dry the casings more,( I Would Not Advise You To Do This)

The sausages you are buying may not contain cure #1 smoking them at a low temp could get someone ill.

You can Hot Smoke at Temps above 225* F and it will be safe!

Last edited:
Dry pans here too, actually, filled with fire brick and covered with foil.

Like dirtsailor said, try it again dry and I'll bet that you'll get the results you want.

Also, no need to soak your chips, that too adds moisture to the inside of the smoker. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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