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Smoked Jalapeno Cheddar Sausage

Follow basic smoked sausage preparation practices when making this sausage.
  1. Clean and Sanitize all of your equipment.
  2. Keep your meat and grinder parts super cold (below 34F) at all times
  3. Any liquid that is added to the mince needs to be ice cold
  4. Mix your very chilled meat and seasonings till the mince becomes very tacky
  5. Stuff the mince into sausage casings and prick out any air pockets
  6. Refrigerate your sausage overnight to allow the cure to work
  7. The next day follow this smoking schedule
    -Dry your sausage at 90F – 100 for 1 hour, with your vents wide open
    -Increase the temp to 125F for 1 hour and begin to add your favorite smoke
    -Increase to 145F for 2 hour
    -Increase to 155F for 2 hours
    -Increase to 180F till the internal temp reaches 145F
  8. Once the internal temp has been reached place the sausages in an ice bath to cool down and let them bloom at room temperature for 3-4 hours
  9. If you don’t have a digital smoker just cook these sausages low and slow so as to not render out the fat.

Here are a few things you might find useful when making a smoked sausage

ThermoWorks Thermapen Mk4

Enjoy the video and the recipe. If you have any questions feel free to ask away. If you make this at home I’d love to hear about how it came out!!

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Print Recipe
4.56 from 38 votes

Smoked Jalapeno Cheddar Sausage

Cheesy, Spicy, Smoky
Prep Time1 day 30 minutes
Cook Time6 hours
How much do you want to make? 1000 grams



  • Clean your meat of any silver skin, sinew, arteries and cut into small strips or cubes. Place the meat and fat in the freezer for an hour or until the temp reaches 32f – 34F.
  • Prepare all of your seasonings. Clean and rehydrate your casings
  • Grind your very chilled meat and fat on a medium plate (6mm)
  • Add all of the seasonings, the cream, and the peppers to your mince meat then mix till it becomes very tacky. If you grab a small handful it will stick to your hand if you hold your hand upside down.
  • Once your meat has become tacky add the cheddar cheese and mix to incorporate the cheese.
  • Stuff your mince meat into the casings, link, and prick out any air pockets.
  • If you used Sodium Erythorbate in your recipe you can cook immediately. If you didn't then you need to let the sausages rest in your refrigerator overnight to allow the cure to work.

Smoking Schedule

  • Start by drying your sausage out and bringing them to room temp before smoking. I set my smoker to 100F with the door slightly open for 1 hour. This will dry out the sausage and get it ready for smoking
    Next raise the temperature to 125F for 1 hour and begin to apply smoke.
    Raise to 145F for 2 hours, then raise to 155F for 2 hours, then raise to 180F till the internal temp reaches 145F
    (If you don't have a digital smoker just cook these low and slow so as to not render out the fat)
  • Once cooked submerge in ice cold water then allow to bloom for several hours at room temperature. Enjoy!

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30 thoughts on “Smoked Jalapeno Cheddar Sausage”

  1. andrew james barnes

    4 stars
    It is my understanding that all ground meat should be cooked to 160 degrees yet you quote a pull temp of 145 degrees which I understand is the USDA recommendation for whole muscle. Could you shed some light on this? Thanks

    1. Under normal cooking conditions that is correct, BUT when a low and slow cooking method is applied like in this video the meat get’s pasteurized (safe to eat) at a lower temp. If you can hold the temp of the meat at 145f for 3 minutes it’s fully pasteurized. Think sous vide cooking. It’s how people can cook chicken to 140f and it be safe to consume. If you plan on cooking these sausages on a stovetop then I would recommend going to 155f but in a smoker low and slow 145 is perfect and the sausage comes out extremely juicy and totally cooked

    2. andrew james barnes

      4 stars
      Makes sense. Thanks for the reply. I have an old freezer I converted to a smoker but the temp varies so much that I often miss “done” temps cuz meat temp is varying along with Smoker temp which results in overcooked sausages. So I have been incorporating the Sous Vide cooking technique into my process. I smoke meat in smoker for a few hours then pull and put into a Sous vide water bath at 160* then hit my desired done temp of 150* for 30 minutes. Sausages and snack sticks are WAAAAAY more juicy this way.
      Anyway, Ima go pick some of my garden grown Holler-Peno’s and git your recipe made up….I’m a little worried about not using Hi-Temp cheese tho so we will see how it goes.

        1. andrew james barnes

          5 stars
          Well I made this sausage and was very happy with it. The texture and flavor were spot on and I will be making it again but I will say that I had fat rendering inside my smoker and again in my water bath…The water bath was cruising at 150 degrees. Smoker was running between 126 and 149 degrees…That’s just how that homemade converted freezer type smoker is and I need to fix that temp swing somehow. I pulled sausage from smoker when I had the color I wanted and put in bath for 1 hr until sausage temp was 145-146. There was a noticeable amount of rendered fat (oily) in the water so it continued to render as it cooked in water bath which I didn’t think was going to happen. I also put some sausages in a bag ( along with unbagged) and finished them in the bath as well and I can say the only difference was the color of the sausages. They both tasted the same.
          The bagged sausages mahogany color was more evident than the non-bagged sausages but that’s from the water washing it off I would guess. The bagged ones had quite a bit of melted fat in bag as well. I was surprised by the amount of rendered fat. The cheese held up okay which surprised me. Hell I didn’t want all that fat anyway. I made a 5lb batch following the recipe amounts as given by the recipe calculator. I used sirloin steak, pork backstrap (extremely lean) and pork back fat. Ground once thru a 3/16″ grinding plate. Maybe I ground the fat too fine?? Maybe what was rendering out was the fat closest to the casing?? Beats me but I love this sausage enuff to do it again in spite of the mess I created. I look forward to doing more of your sausage recipes. TIP: Be sure to look at your back fat carefully for the skin still being attached…Its like chewing on a shredded T-Shirt!!

          1. Nice!!! Yeah the fat will very quickly smear if not partially frozen. I think that making sure everything is around 32f and making sure the pieces of meat and fat are cut small (depending on your grinder) before grinding will certainly help.

        2. andrew james barnes

          5 stars
          Fat and meat were par froze. So cold that my hands hurt from mixing so I switched to a wooden spoon to finish mixing. The grinder head, mixing bowl and stuffer were all put in freezer prior to the main event. There was no smearing of the casing that I could detect. Maybe I added too much backfat but the recipe calculator for 5lb batch was 680.4 grams or @1.5lbs and frankly I added a bit less because I ran out of backfat after trimming off all the leftover skin from what the butcher did not remove.
          Bottom line is the sausage was juicy and snappy so next time Ima back off the fat a bit. it still renders fat when I heat it up in the skillet and is still juicy so I am happy. However now that I have made this sausage it is time to move on to another of your recipe’s. Thanks Eric.

  2. I followed the recipe to a “T” and smoked it in my egg at 125 degrees after drying for an hour … poured on the Hickory for an hour and moved my temp up to 145 and after another hour my coals caused the egg to start to climb to 160 even though I have the BBQ Guru Digi-Q 3 on there

    So I did my best to lower the temp for a 1/2 hour but at 170 I pulled the sausage and put in the oven at 170 which is as low as it goes and finished the cook to 145

    I could Sell This Sausage it is So Good!

    Thank You Very Much !

    This is what I have been trying to figure out for several years


    1. My biggest problem is getting the temp to stay low. None of my smokers go low enough to reliably set a temp below 160. I’ve been trying to just keep the door open. What usually happens is that the fat liquifies and collects in pockets, which looks awful. Any advice?

  3. 5 stars
    Wow, Just ate my first two. Followed recipe exactly with the exception of a quick blanch on the Jalapenos to tone them down a little. (okay, I’m a wimp when it comes to jalapeno heat and acid). Can’t believe they came out this good. Thanks so much Eric, under your tutelage I’m really having success with this sausage making adventure.

  4. 5 stars
    Eric, i am planning to make this recipe tonight and smoke them tomorrow. Any concerns or pointers on making a larger 15lb/6800Gram batch? Using your recipe calculator of course.

    Thanks Dennis

  5. I love how descriptive your recipe is. It’s the best one I’ve found so far. What ratio would you recommend if we wanted to use venison (shot and butchered ourselves) instead of the beef? For our breakfast sausage that we don’t smoke, we use a 70/30 ratio with the 30 being half pork fat and half pork trim. Would that work here as well?

    1. sure. What ever ratio you want to use works well. I would do the fat at 25% – 30% and the meat portion, I would divide up as you see fit. Makes for a really great sausage.

  6. 5 stars
    Another great recipe. I made my sausages from venison but otherwise followed the recipe. Based upon my personal preference the next time I make this recipe I will add a few more jalapeños. Thanks for posting and sharing these great recipes and techniques!

  7. Hey Eric, what size casing did you use here. Looks to be 32-34mm or is it larger. I do like spicey, so I was toying with adding some Cyanne pepper, Your thoughts? This looks like a great recipe; I can’t wait to try it. Love your videos, if you had a charcuterie school, I would have to attend.

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