Smoked Country Sausage


The other day was my birthday and I decided I wanted some smoked country sausage. So I mixed and smoked up a batch on the MAK 1 Star.

Country Sausage (fairly common around these parts) is a simple, mild sausage seasoned primarily with Salt & Pepper. It can be made into patties and fried up, or with the addition of some Cure#1 it can be stuffed and smoked. I like a mix of red & black pepper, and when I stuff it into casings I also like to add a little whole mustard seeds.

What I really like about this sausage is that because the flavor is uncomplicated, when smoked, it allows the smoke to shine as a primary flavor ingredient.

Here's the basic recipe:

Country Sausage
(for breakfast Patties)
1 lb ground pork (or other meat if preferred)
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Black pepper (or a mix of red pepper flakes & black pepper)
1 fl. oz water

Mix the seasonings with the water until salt is dissolved. Mix with the ground meat. Form into patties and fry as you would normally.

Smoked Country Sausage
5 lbs ground pork (or other meat if preferred)
4 tsp Salt
1 tsp Cure #1 (6.25% Sodium Nitrite)
2 1/2 tsp Black Pepper (or 1 1/4 tsp each red Pepper Flakes & Black Pepper)
1 1/4 tsp Mustard Seeds (optional)
5 fl. oz Water

Mix the seasonings & curing salt with the water until salts are dissolved. Thoroughly mix with the ground meat. Stuff into casings and smoke as you normally would to an Internal temp of 150° - 154°.

Here are the natural hog casings soaking, seasonings gathered and mixed with the water.

The sausage thoroughly mixed and stuffed.

I did a short cold-smoke for about an hour with some Cherry wood pellets (using the smoking wedgie - back right corner), then turned the MAK on and hot-smoked (cherry/oak mix) to an average internal temp of 152° (Smoke mode on the MAK). I always love the color difference of before & after the smoke!

As soon as it comes off the smoker it goes into a cold water bath for a quick cool down to around 100°-110°. This prevents any further fat loss, and keeps the sausages nice and plump! Then remove them from the water to finish cooling to room temperature (this is really all the blooming that regular smoked sausages need). Once the sausages have cooled to room temp they can be put in the fridge to finish cooling and allow the fat to congeal for good marbling.


Thanks for looking!



First, yes, if you are going to cold smoke it then you SHOULD use cure #1 to stay safe and prevent possible botulism.

Second, the Cure #1 does other things besides just killing C. Bultulinum bacteria.

If you weren't cold smoking it, and only hot-smoking (temps of 165° - 185° - Smoke mode on a MAK), then you COULD get by without the Cure #1, BUT you wouldn't have the same uniform color, taste and texture that's typical with a cured & smoked sausage.

With the addition of Cure #1 you only need to take the sausage to a minimum 150° for it to be considered fully cooked (USDA standards).

So in a nutshell, for smoked sausages cure #1 gives a better, and safer final product.

I explain this in more detail and show a comparison of hot smoked sausages with and without the addition of cure #1 here: How to Hot Smoke Sausages on a Pellet Grill
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No problem! If I can learn it so can you! And it's a great (not to mention tasty) journey that I'm still on myself!


I'm cornfused. I thought you were not supposed to eat curing salt.

I'm not sure where you heard or read that, or exactly what you mean by "not suppose to eat...". :confused:

We're not talking about just eating Cure #1 in place of table salt; THAT you are NOT suppose to do (which is why it's dyed pink so it's not confused with regular table salt). We're talking about using it for its intended purpose and that is for curing sausages, hams, bacon and the like. Used properly for that purpose it's perfectly safe.

You actually face more of a health risk by not using it in certain foods (such as cold-smoke sausages) than you would by using it.

Cure #2 is the same way, but it's formulated specifically for dry-cured & fermented prducts such as salami, Lebanon Bologna, and the like.

More info here: Curing Salt, Nitrites/Nitrates & Botulism -

Edit: I just saw your post about your bacon dry rub cure spreadsheet. Seemingly dumb question, but since you asked about curing salt I'll ask anyway: Aren't you using Cure #1 in your bacon dry rub?
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