Smoked Summer Sausage


This smoked summer sausage makes for a delicious appetizer, snack, or side anytime you’re craving some tasty smoked meat. It pairs beautifully with cheese, nuts, and fruit on a charcuterie board for a perfect party platter.

Slice of smoked summer sausage on cheese and crackers with text overlay - Smoked Summer Sausage.

Smoked Summer Sausage

Summer sausage is a snack board staple when we’ve got friends or family around who like to munch while they visit. Smoky, savory, perfectly spiced beef is so good sliced thin and served with yummy mustard, cheese, and crackers.

This recipe for smoked summer sausage is made with ground beef and a happy little combo of salt, pepper, and seasonings to give the meat a fantastic flavor. Once smoked, it’s delicious on a charcuterie board or sliced up for a quick snack whenever you need a little BBQ meat treat.

Ingredients for smoked summer sausage in a glass mixing bowl.

Ingredients for Smoked Summer Sausage

The ingredients for this smoked summer sausage are fairly simple, and you’ll likely find most of these in your pantry. Here’s what you’ll need to make this sausage.

  • 1 pound 85/15 ground beef
  • 1 Tablespoon Morton’s Tenderquick
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon granulated onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole mustard seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole celery seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Summer sausage being rolled in plastic wrap.

Summer sausage loaf being rolled up on a work surface.

How to Smoke Summer Sausage

Let’s make ourselves some delicious summer sausage, shall we? Here’s how to smoke summer sausage.

  1. Make the sausage. Combine all ingredients for the summer sausage in a mixing bowl. Massage the meat well to thoroughly mix the seasoning into the meat.
  2. Form the loaf. Dump the meat out on two large sheets of plastic wrap. Roll the meat into a long cylinder shape (about 2 inches in diameter). Press all the air out of the meat and roll it tightly. Twist the ends of the plastic and place the whole thing in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight.
  3. Smoke. Preheat the smoker to 180 degrees F. Remove the sausage from the plastic wrap and place it directly on the grill grates of the preheated smoker. Close the lid and smoke for 6-8 hours. Remove the sausage when it reaches 160 degrees F.
  4. Rest. Rest the sausage for 1 hour.
  5. Store and enjoy. This sausage can be enjoyed right after the rest time, or you can store it in the refrigerator for 2 weeks until ready to use.
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Smoked summer sausage sliced on a wooden cutting board.

How Long to Smoke Summer Sausage

With your smoker preheated to 180 degrees F, it takes 6-8 hours to smoke summer sausage.

This is a fairly wide span of time, and for a good reason. Summer sausage needs to be cooked to a temperature of 160 degrees F, and it may take anywhere from 6 to 8 hours to reach this temperature. Instead of watching the clock, invest in a reliable meat thermometer, and smoke the meat until it hits that final target temperature.

Summer sausage loaf on the grill grates of a smoker.

Tips for Smoking Summer Sausage

Don’t let smoking your own cured meat scare you away from the process. It’s pretty straightforward and easy. Here are some tips for smoking summer sausage.

  • Use a different meat base. This summer sausage base is SUPER versatile. Swap the ground beef for your favorite game meat to use that venison, elk, or buffalo grind.
  • Try a jerky cannon. Want to make snack sticks instead of one large sausage? Easy! Use a jerky cannon to press your sticks and smoke for 2-3 hours instead of the 6-8 needed for the larger sausage.
  • Plan ahead. Morton’s Tenderquick cure isn’t always readily available at grocery stores, but a curing agent is requisite for this sausage to prevent spoilage during the cooking time and to help you achieve that signature pink color. It is easy to order online and have delivered so you can get the results you want. There are other types of curing agents, but Tenderquick is particularly great at these dry mixed/quick cured sausages.

Sliced smoked summer sausage on a cutting board with crackers, grapes, and fruit.

More Sausage Recipes

Looking for more sausage recipes to try out on your smoker or grill? These are a few of my favorites to try out today.

  • Shrimp and Sausage Kabobs
  • Smoked Sausage Stuffing
  • Italian Sausage and Tortellini Skewers
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Smoked Summer Sausage Recipe

This recipe was created for you, backyard griller! Here at Hey Grill Hey, we’re in the business of helping you make better BBQ, feed the people you love, and become a backyard BBQ hero. You can find more of my smoking and grilling recipes here on my website (browse the Homepage for inspiration) on Instagram, YouTube, or our Facebook Page.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>