Do You Need To Cook Summer Sausage? The Ultimate Guide 2023

Summer sausage is among the most delicious delicacies for holidays. It’s simple to prepare, has a prolonged lifespan, and is, above all, tasty!

This sausage is often processed and smoked, which preserves the meat and slows bacterial development.

Do you need to cook summer sausage? You don’t need to cook and prepare it if you’ve purchased it from the supermarket or butcher’s stores.

However, it’s a different story if it’s homemade summer sausage. It means you may need to process your food before consumption. 

This post by Health’s Kitchen will cover summer sausage preparation and smoking in greater depth.

Let’s scroll down to discover more!

What Is Summer Sausage?

Summer sausage is a sort of cured sausage traditionally produced with whatever flesh is available in the market.

The term “summer sausage” precise origin is unknown. Many people believed it came from Germany, with a long tradition of making sausages.

People often make this sausage at the end of the autumn and early winter. The meat can dry out throughout the winter months without becoming rancid.

Because uncured meat spoils quickly, sausages and various dry meats are created to keep all year round and make economical use of cattle.

No matter what the weather is like, the curing procedure preserves the meat from deteriorating.

Pork, venison, and beef are perhaps the most common meats used, while turkey, chicken, and lamb summer sausage are also available.

The meats may be blended to create a unique flavor.

The flesh is crushed, marinated, and cured before being put into the animal’s intensively cleaned intestines if preferred.

Synthetic or fiber casings are common in modern summer sausages. While you need to discard some types before eating, some are safe to eat.

Summer sausage is often made from lean beef or pig and fatty hog scraps; meat pieces blend between fat and muscle.

 The fat content of the sausage should be from 20 to 30%, and combining fat and lean slices provides the most accuracy.

Although people make it in the wintertime, they consume it in the summer. Perhaps it’s how this sausage got its name.

Do You Need To Cook Summer Sausage 

The answer is no. If it’s a store-bought product, you can use it without cooking. For homemade types, you may want to cook them for better flavor. 

Summer sausages are smoked after being cured, left to dry, and smoked.

The method removes most moisture from the flesh, rendering it unfit for bacterial development.

A long time ago, sausages were still typical when refrigeration wasn’t available. 

Because there was no fridge, people had to find ways to store and use meat like pork or beef reasonably. 

Summer sausage is a great way to keep leftover pork fresh for months if properly cooked.

Modern sausage is made the same way, with additional curing chemicals and flavor additives added to save the lengthy smoking process and make it safe to eat.

You won’t have to prepare a proper summer sausage if you purchase it from the supermarket.

You can cut it up and eat directly or use it as a meat replacement or substitute in other recipes.

Homemade sausage is also prepared and smoked similarly, so it doesn’t require cooking.

However, homemade types can be better when grilled or combined with other recipes because of the differences in preparation techniques.

Summer sausage imparts much of its taste to the remainder of the meal when served with other dishes.

What Temperature Should You Smoke Summer Sausage?

After you have cured the summer sausages and filled the casings, you may smoke them to kill bacteria and enhance flavor.

The temperature may vary depending on how you plan to make your sausages as long as the products are safe for consumption. 

For instance, when cooking them in an oven, you should preheat them at 185°F or more like 225°F or 250°F.

Take cured sausages out of the fridge and leave them at room temperature.

After the sausages are in the oven, use an inner meat thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature. 

It would be best if you aimed for a temperature of 165°F. Take the sausages out from the oven after they have finished baking and allow them to cool to room temperature.

However, if you cook sausages with a smoker, it’s best to set the temperature at 145°F while remembering to open the dampers.

After the smoker gets heated, put room temperature summer sausages in the smoker and wait around one hour for them to dry.

Turn the temperature to 180°F after one hour, add more wood pellets, and wait another two or three hours for the sausages to smoke.

After that, pour water into the smoker to complete the process. Turn the temperature to 190°F until the inner heat is approximately 160°F.

Allow for cooling after taking the sausages out from the smoker. Store the sausages in the freezer or fridge once they’ve cooled.

How Long Should You Smoke Summer Sausage? 

The time required for summer sausages to smoke is determined by several factors, like the meat, casings, spices, and the curing procedure.

It would help if you put your summer sausages in the smoker, or you can leave them at room temperature. 

If you place them right after taking them out from the fridge, you may need more time for this process. 

If you smoke the sausages in an oven, the procedure will take many hours. Time, on the other hand, is not the best predictor of completion.

It’s best to ensure your food is fully cooked, and it’s better to use an inner meat thermometer. 

Oven-baked summer sausages should be cooked to a temperature of roughly 165°F. The time it takes to bake the food depends on how hot the oven is. 

Yet, higher temperatures will not necessarily result in higher-quality dishes.

If you bake your food at 220°F, the cooking time should be four or six hours. It’s up to your oven type. 

Nevertheless, your sausages may need much time to dry and completely smoke if the oven is at 185°F.

How To Cook Summer Sausage? 

As mentioned above, you don’t need to cook summer sausage. However, if you want a stronger taste and flavor, here is what you should do: 

On The Stove

Are you looking for a healthy way to prepare food without using oil? It’s best to bake it on the stove. 

Cooking sausages may be difficult since you must guarantee when you remove them from the stove. Here’s how to prepare them perfectly:

  • Place the food in a saucepan, pot, or skillet.
  • Pour the cold water so that it can cover your sausages and cook over medium heat.
  • Cover the saucepan after the water has reached a simmer.
  • Wait another 8 to 10 minutes for them to cook more thoroughly so it’s safe to eat.
  • Open the cover and cook until all the liquid has evaporated.

In The Oven

You can also cook summer sausages in the oven. This way is much simpler than the above. 

Follow the steps below:

  • Preheat the oven to 375 ℉.
  • Arrange the food on a baking sheet.
  • Bake for approximately 15 minutes in the oven. Remember that you need to adjust the time depending on your oven type. 
  • To ensure a consistent flavor, flip them halfway through baking.
  • Drizzle the flesh with butter or oil to keep it from drying out.

In A Pan

It’s quick and easy to fry summer sausages in a pan, but there are a few points.

  • It’s always best to use a non-stick pan rather than a regular type. 
  • Ensure you don’t fry them at too high a temperature as the fat will dry off. Consider using low or medium heat. 
  • After you heat the sausages, they will release the fat. You can use this fat to fry your sausages.
  • The frying time should be from 15 to 18 minutes. The outcome should be completely crispy.
  • To make sure they’re uniformly cooked, flip them regularly.

Moreover, before frying, always check the casings of the sausages. They may be made of materials like collagen, animal intestines, or even plastic. 

While all casings may be safe to consume, there are certain types you shouldn’t eat.

Furthermore, some materials may not respond well to extreme temps, putting the quality in danger.

For example, removing collagen casings is better because they’re thick and challenging to chew.

How To Make Summer Sausage At Home? 

Do you want to make summer sausages at home? The following guides below will be helpful. Keep reading!



  • Ground beef (ground chuck): 2 lbs
  • Liquid smoke: 1/2 teaspoon
  • Onion powder: 1/2 teaspoon
  • Coarse black pepper: 1/2 teaspoon
  • Garlic powder: 1/2 teaspoon
  • Mustard seeds: 1/2 teaspoon
  • Quick curing salt: 1/2 teaspoon
  • Water: 1 cup


  • Plastic wrap
  • Aluminum foil
  • Toothpick
  • A broiler pan

Step-By-Step Instructions

Step 1: Cure The Meat

Measure the seasonings and pour them into a big nonmetal bowl. Pour water (1 cup) into the bowl and whisk the spice mixture thoroughly. 

If your ground beef is frozen, it’s better to thaw it first. After that, add it to the bowl. 

Mix the spices and meat thoroughly with your hands. Avoid over-mixing the beef as it may make your meat tough. 

Cover the bowl with its lid. Otherwise, you can use plastic wrap. After that, refrigerate the beef for 24 hours.

Step 2: Form The Sausages

Take the meat out of the fridge and stir it well. Divide it into four equal-sized pieces.

Form the meat in a ball shape and then roll it until it has a form of a log with 1.5 inches to 2 inches thick. Repeat with the remaining three meat parts. 

Use aluminum foil to wrap around each meat log separately. Punch little holes in each log’s side using a toothpick.

Step 3: Cook The Sausages

Place 4 logs in a broiler pan while ensuring the holes face down. The holes allow the water to escape quickly during baking.

Preheat the oven. Place the broiler pan in the oven and set the temperature at 325°F for 1 hour and 30 minutes.

After baking, take the sausage logs out of the oven and allow enough time for them to cool. 

After the rolls have completely cooled, take off the aluminum foil. After that, use plastic wrap to cover each meat log.  

Put the sausage rolls in the fridge. This way, your food can last longer, around three months. 

How To Store Summer Sausage? 

The best method to preserve summer sausage, like most foods, is in the refrigerator.

If you are not ready to consume your sausages, you can keep them in the fridge for about three months. 

If frozen, they can last for up to 10 months. However, their texture and flavor may change a bit. 

To store summer sausages, you can apply the method below:

  • Use freezer paper to wrap your food thoroughly. 
  • Ensure that the paper’s glossy side is facing up.
  • Place the meat in the freezer sheet’s center.
  • Fold the freezer sheets over the sausage and seal the edges.
  • Seal the sides of your packaging using freezer tape.
  • Be sure to label the package correctly.
  • Your food will be in good condition for around ten months.


Can You Freeze Summer Sausage?

The short answer is yes! Before freezing it, remember to wrap it in freezer paper to keep the flavor and texture. 

How Long Do You Keep Summer Sausage On The Hook?

No more than three hours. Otherwise, the meat and the casing will get dry. 

Can You Eat Summer Sausage Casing?

Yes! Most of the casings are edible. 

How To Cool Down Summer Sausage?

After smoking, you can cool down your food by immersing it in an ice bath. 

Final Thoughts 

This article has eventually got to the bottom of your question: Do you need to cook summer sausage? 

Again, you can eat this sausage immediately after purchasing it from stores. If you want to get more flavor, you can cook it. 

Hopefully, this post will be helpful for you. Thanks for reading!

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