With Fall in full swing, the time has come for smoking sausage!
Making a Sausage & Peppers Sandwich with Smoked Sausage
There’s nothing better than a smoked sausage and pepper sandwich to close your day as night starts to fall in early. This is simple smoked sausage sandwich where all the flavor comes from the wood.
Like all of your best-smoked work, choose your meat wisely. If you really want the best sausage and peppers sandwich you can make your own sausage at home, but finding the right sausage at the store can be done.
Selecting the sausage for Smoking
When making your decision, keep in mind many sausages are already pre-smoked. You can still make a great meal out of these, but most smoking aficionados agree raw sausage will smoke and taste better. We recommend selecting a raw sausage.
Visuals of raw VS pre-smoked sausage throughout the smoking process; the pre-smoked sausage is evident by its dark color tone. The pre-smoked sausage has already absorbed an enormous amount of smoke; leaving little room for additional smoky flavors.
Many believe pre-smoked sausages have already absorbed as much smoky flavor as they can, so they will not absorb much more while in your smoker. Raw sausage is the best, but pre-smoked sausage isn't a total fail either – try either or try both and decide what you like best.
We like to build our sandwich around a basic homemade sausage:
- 60% pork
- 40% beef
Since we don't use any type of curing agent, we need to ensure our meat doesn't stay in the danger zone (under 140 degrees) for longer than necessary to avoid harmful bacterias such as botulinum.
In effort to keep this sandwich simple you can go with a store-bought Italian sausage, and if you like a bit of spice, grab Hot Italian. See this article if you'd like to create your own "Italian" sausage creation. Once you have chosen the right sausage for you, treat it with care, if you prick the casing or over cook it, all that delicious juice will run out while it's cooking.
Smoking the Sausage / Making the Sandwich
-Sausage of choice
- Red & green peppers
- Apple juice
- Hoagie roll or baguette
- Prep your smoker and choose your wood. A lot of people use woods such as oak or fruit woods, but we prefer hickory for smoking our sausages; if I had to pick a runner up I'd go with apple for this sandwich.
- Once your smoker is warmed up to 180 - 200 degrees, throw the sausage in and give it a little spray with apple juice. Heating your smoker much hotter than 200 degrees will cause the juices to run out. The sausage needs to cook for about 1 hour, with a turn half way through.
- While it's cooking, chop the tops off of a handful of red and green peppers then, clear out the veins and the seeds. When you turn the sausages halfway through cooking, add the peppers to the smoker. Give them a light spray, inside and out, with apple juice as well.
- The sausages are fully cooked at 155 - 160 degrees, be vigilant, don’t over smoke them, at 170 degrees they will dry out. If you're not careful they may even begin to turn black.
A pro tip to smoking sausage properly, is the rinse cycle. Rinsing the sausage immediately after it leaves the smoker will prevent the casing from becoming shriveled. When it's removed from the smoker the internal temperature of the sausage should be 160 degrees, to rinse it properly, it needs to get down to 120 degrees quickly. When you take the sausage off the smoker set it in a bin of cold water, or place it under a faucet of cold running water. If you don’t want to rinse the sausage, then don't, rising doesn’t affect the taste just the appearance.
Finally, slice the peppers and sausage, throw them on a hoagie bun (or french baguette) and enjoy a delicious sausage and pepper sandwich.
Additional Sandwich Add-ons
- Onions - Whether you smoke or grill an onion then separate the rings to load them on the sandwich, or if you choose to saute an onion, you can't really go wrong when adding onion to sausage and peppers.
- Gardiniera Peppers - I'm a big fan of these things, homemade or store-brought in a jar, you can't go wrong. Adding them to your sandwich not only gives it a little heat, but the oil base soaks in well to the bread.
- Marinara Sauce - Try your favorite blend, heat it up and pour it on.
- Cheese - Top with melted mozzarella or parmesan, this works best when adding marinara.
What are some of your favorite ways to prepare a sausage & peppers sangwhich?