Cold smoking brats but not cooking to temp

  • Anyone smoke their brats for an hour or two but not bring them to the IT they need? it drops down to 30s in the evening now in PA, so i was considering cold smoking for 2-3 hours then vacuum sealing/freezing to be grilled later.


    Thanks in advance

  • Team Blue PK100 Power User

    spangler2k3 I do this with breakfast and chili dogs. I smoke for 2hours but I always thermal process in a water bath to cook through. From my experience I think…you’d be okay but make sure you grill them to 165F. I like to use the water bath, yes directly into the turkey fryer with water at 170F until the reach 153F then shower with cold water. I think it keeps them moist when you grill and you don’t need to kill them on the grill and break the skins if you’re not careful.

  • that makes sense… i have an immersion circulator i can use as well as a fryer… Thanks for the tip

  • Big Green Egg Team Blue Regular Contributors Cast Iron Power User

    Our deer sausage is cold smoked for two hours then vacuum packed. We put cure in it too. It is always cold as hell when we do it so I’m not worried. We actually had to put a small ceramic heater in the smoker as it was-27 F when we smoked ours this year. We cook until 165 when we either boil it or grill it.

  • Our venison country style is made with cure added, smoked to internal temperature of 125-130, wrapped & frozen for later cooking to finish temperature of 165 on either the stove or grill

  • Team Orange PK100 Sous Vide Power User

    If you add cure, then I don’t see why you aren’t fine and dandy from a safety standpoint. You just have to be a little more careful about defrosting.

    Obviously, cooking will take a little more care and time, as well, but that’s also nothing of great concern.

  • Regular Contributors Power User

    spangler2k3 said in Cold smoking brats but not cooking to temp:

    Anyone smoke their brats for an hour or two but not bring them to the IT they need? it drops down to 30s in the evening now in PA, so i was considering cold smoking for 2-3 hours then vacuum sealing/freezing to be grilled later.


    Thanks in advance

    The original poster makes no mention of whether he is adding cure to his brats, or not.

    I think it is important to clarify that from a food-safety standpoint, it is considered NOT OK to do this with fresh, uncured sausage since the uncured product is in the danger zone where botulism could grow. It could be unsafe to eat even if fully cooked at a later date.

  • I’ve been making polish sausage for years by just smoking them for an hour or two at a low temp for flavor and then vacuum package and freeze for later grilling or frying. I have never used any cure in this process but am wondering if this is risky now. If I do use cure, would I have to fully smoke/cook them or can I just smoke them enough for flavor? Thanks for any help

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    Boblhc I would recommend you add cure for safety and for flavor preservation. However, since you are treating them basically as a fresh product anyway it isn’t necessary. Just pay close attention to the IT of you sausages when you are cold smoking them. You don’t want to get them too far into the “danger zone” without fully cooking them.

  • Thanks Jonathan. I’ve never checked the sausage temp after smoking them but have a feeling they are above 155 degrees otherwise we’d be in trouble. In the future I will use cure and check the sausage temp after smoking. Thanks again.

  • In the future, if I use cure, is it necessary to smoke the sausage to an internal temp of 153? Or, can I smoke them to a lower temp (125-130) for an hour or so just for flavor and then freeze for later grilling to IT of 165.

  • Team Orange PK100 Sous Vide Power User

    Boblhc Just treat them like they are not fully cooked when it comes to handling and storing. Obviously, it’s safer to cook them completely, but you will be fine if you handle and store properly.

    Just FYI, I’ve always cooked completely (via smoking and water bath), and that sausage comes out wonderfully on a grill on in a skillet. The beauty of doing things that way is that all I’m worried about is heating it back up and getting it good and browned on the outside. I don’t need to take temps. The final product is terrific, and I don’t know what partial cooking really would do to make it better.

  • Regular Contributors Team Grey Sous Vide Canning Dry Cured Sausage Masterbuilt Power User Meat Hack Winner Veteran

    I agree with TexLaw, fully cooked means no worries
    Kind of like boiling brats before grilling, just have to sear the outside since the center is already cooked and safe

  • Thank you both for the information. If I fully cook them in a water bath after smoking, why do I need to use a pink cure? Also, if I use a water bath to fully cook, what temp do I heat the water to or do I just bring it to a boil? Is it necessary to cool the sausages after the water bath? Thanks in advance.

  • Regular Contributors Team Grey Sous Vide Canning Dry Cured Sausage Masterbuilt Power User Meat Hack Winner Veteran

    Boblhc Actually I should have said poach the brats
    Water at 170F internal pull at 160F
    I would cool but don’t know if that is necessary I wouldn’t think it would be critical for brats
    Pink cure is advisable for long cool smokes

  • Team Blue Masterbuilt Yearling Sous Vide Canning Power User Regular Contributors Military Veterans

    Boblhc When i poach i do 170* for the water and links to 160-165* Cold water or ice bath to stop the cooking. We’ve had this debate before ref Cure#1. IMO, if you plan to eat within a few days and not smoke… not needed. Cure#1 inhibits the growth of pathogens and helps with the meat being pink instead of gray. I batch apx 100 links at a time. Freeze most in 2lbs vacpacs. I use cure1 in everything. Even if i flash grill, they just look better. Most commercial meat products use it for longer shelf life against spoilage thru end distro, and color. Comp for the salt in the batch. I am happy with my end product. Now watch me get beat up Bob. 😎 I can still remember watching the Butchers, 50’s meat market mix it in the day old ground beef for a nice bright red color again. Meat Science… 😊

  • Thank you. I really appreciate all the help.

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