But wait, there are a few more steps if you need to smoke your meat. Smoking a sausage will add an extra depth of flavor, while also preserving the sausage so that it will last longer.
After making the sausage, you'll want to place it on drying racks in the refrigerator overnight. This will dry the skin out, which will make the sausage surface more tactile, which causes the smoke to adhere to the sausage during the smoking process.
Make sure you place each drying rack over a cookie sheet to catch any sausage drippings.
Different woods add different aromas to your sausage during the smoking process. In each of the meat projects, we've added a wood that we recommend smoking with - pecan wood for the Andouille, apple wood for the Bacon, alder wood for the Hot Dogs, mesquite wood for the Kielbasa, oak wood for the Linguiça, and either oak or mesquite for the Pastrami.
There's usually a historical signifance behind the type of wood used to smoke each meat, but you're welcome to change it up and try smoking your meats with different woods.
You can either cold smoke your meat at a temperature of under 100°F / 37°C or hot smoke your sausage at a temperature of over 150°F / 65°C. All of our meat projects call for hot smoking the meat at around a temperature of 180°F / 82°C until the meat reaches an internal temperature of at least 145°F / 62°C, which is the temperature at which Clostridium botulinum will be killed.
We typically rotate the meats during the smoking process to make sure each meat is cooked and smoked evenly. You might find that your smoker is good enough that you don't need to rotate your meat.
After smoking sausages, it's important to put your sausage in an ice bath right after removing it from the smoker. Meat continues to increase in temperature even after removing it from the heat, until it cools properly. Dropping your sausage in an ice bath will stop the cooking process immediately, and will make sure that your sausage doesn't dry out.
The easiest way to do this is to sanitize your sink, place a stopper in the drain, empty a 5 pound bag of ice into the sink and fill it with water. Place the sausages in the ice bath. 10 minutes later, take them out and pat them dry with a paper towel.