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Smoked Polish Kielbasa

When was the last time you had smoked Polish kielbasa? Growing up in a Mexican/Cajun household this wasn’t a sausage that we ate much of. It wasn’t till college when I had the opportunity to have dinner with a Polish mate of mine and his family. They served a dish called Kapusniak.

Kapusniak is a Polish Cabbage soup that utilizes smoked kielbasa. One bite and I immediately fell in love with this sausage. The soup itself was delicious but the smoked kielbasa in this soup was incredible. Seasoned very simply with a smoky juicy bite and an incredible texture. It was delectable.

I love making this sausage at home. It’s a family favorite and it’s a great sausage for all occasions. I hope you get a chance to enjoy this classic Polish 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)
  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 (Optional)
    -Start at 110F – 120 for 1.5 hours, with your baffles opened (this dries the sausage)
    -Increase the temp to 125F for 1 hour and begin to add your favorite smoke
    -Increase to 135F for 1 hour
    -Increase to 155F for 1.5 hours
    -Increase to 175F till the internal temp reaches 145F

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

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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This recipe has been adapted from the book Great Sausage Recipes and Meat Curing by Rytek Kutas pg. 207

Print Recipe
4.49 from 37 votes

Polish Keilbasa

A Delicious smoked sausage that goes great with everything!
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 and clean and rehydrate your casings
  • Grind your very chilled meat on a course plate (10mm) then grind your very chilled fat on a 3mm plate (or the smallest one you have)
  • Add all of the seasonings and any liquid 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.
  • Stuff your mince meat into the casings, link, and prick out any air pockets. Refrigerate overnight

Smoking Schedule

  • The next day set your smoker to 115F with the baffles open for 1 hour. This will dry out your sausage.
    Next raise the temperature to 125F for 1 hour and begin to apply smoke.
    Raise to 135F for 1 hour, then raise to 155F for 2 hours, then raise to 175F till the internal temp reaches 145F
  • Once cooked submerge in ice cold water then allow to bloom for several hours at room temperature. Enjoy!

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36 thoughts on “Smoked Polish Kielbasa”

    1. I like to use the ham but if you have fatty pork shoulder that works as well. It’s actually cheaper for me to get ham than it is for me to get shoulder so I use ham with added backfat in a lot of my recipes. But any 70/30 ratio lean to fat works for this recipe. Milk powder acts as a binder in fresh/smoked sausages. It improves the texture and has really good water holding capacities so it makes the sausage juicer..

        1. this recipe has 5.25 grams more cure, in ten pounds of minced then two other popular chefs call for. why? why not use fresh garlic?

  1. 4 stars
    For a juicier kielbasa, try using the USDA pasteurization tables to smoke to a lower temperature and still be safe for consumption…
    I prefer ~136F for a 1-1.5 hour hold time just to be on the safe side…

    The pasteurization times for beef, lamb and pork are listed in Table C.1.
    Temperature… ……. Time…. ……. Temperature… …….. Time
    °F (°C) (Minutes) °F (°C) (Seconds)
    130 (54.4)……….. 112 min
    131 (55.0) ……… 89 min………..
    132 (55.6)………. 71 min…………
    133 (56.1)……………… 56 min…………
    134 (56.7)……………… 45 min………..
    135 (57.2)……………… 36 min…………
    136 (57.8)……………… 28 min………..
    137 (58.4)…………….. 23 min…………
    138 (58.9)……………… 18 min………..
    139 (59.5)……………… 15 min ………..
    140 (60.0)……………….. 12 min…………
    141 (60.6)……………… 9 min…………..
    142 (61.1)……………… 8 min………….
    143 (61.7)……………… 6 min
    144 (62.2)……………… 5 min
    145 (62.8)……………… 4 min
    Table C.1: Pasteurization times for beef, corned beef, lamb, pork and cured pork (FDA, 2009, 3-401.11.B.2).

  2. I use the standard Official Polish Government recipe for Kielbasa (and everyone that tries it tells me don’t change anything because they know I like to tinker). You’re recipe is close with almost everything, but you are somewhat low on the salt (not too bad of a thing for health reasons), but you’re almost triple on the sugar content. I’m sure it’s good, but probably too sweet for me. Powder-milk? It’s not necessary, just use more ice-water (about a cup per 10#) and you won’t have any binding issues. Keep up the great work, it’s a good channel that I enjoy.

  3. Interesting comment especially considering the only difference between this recipe and the great sausage maker Rytek Kutas’s polish recipe is this one has white pepper instead of black pepper.

    1. Yeah. Not sure what type of Polish sausage he is used to.. Rytek’s recipe is great. This recipe is very similar with what seems to be slight modifications. As I look at both recipes sided by side Rytek’s recipe calls for more salt, less sugar, no cure, no powder milk, less marjoram, coarse black pepper (not fine white pepper), and he calls for fresh garlic rather than garlic powder. His is great too😁

    1. When you cook a sausage low and slow like we do here you can technically finish it at a much lower temp, which produces a better sausage. It’s all about pasteurization. When you hit 145f let it hang there for 30 minutes before you remove them from the smoker. It’s amazing..

  4. Do you use a water pan when smoking your kielbasa? I was thinking this might get me past the dreaded stall when smoking. Thank you.

  5. Jason Christensen

    I am looking to make this, but want to add a spicy kick. Was thinking of adding cayenne pepper powder. I don’t want to change the taste too much, just add a kick. Any thoughts on making it spicy?

  6. If the sausage has cure, what is the reason for pasteurizing and hitting the 145F temp?
    Could one alternatively cold smoke the kielbasa below 90F to add smoke flavor then throw it on a pit or in a pan when ready to eat?

    Love your channel and thanks for the content!

  7. 5 stars
    Thank you for this recipe. I subbed evaporated milk for the milk powder/water hoping the heat treated milk proteins would hold the moisture. Cold smoked 5 hours with a pellet smoker and then 275 in a home oven until 145 ( I don’t have a dedicated smoker, yet). The results were very, very good. Better than anything I have purchased in the store. I’m learning so much from what you have posted on this site and making it work with the equipment I have. Thank you.

      1. 4 stars
        i ask because i am getting a bad smoke flavor every time. i use the bella cold smoker and a smokin it 3D. Any tips would be great appreciated. i am using cherry chips and pellets mixed. mostly pellets.

        thanks in advance and for you channel!

        1. Lots to consider when using a cold smoke generator. The Bella’s Generator can put off A LOT of smoke. What level is your air pump on while you are smoking and for how long are you running the cold smoker. Im assuming you are using it on cooked sausages, is that right?

          1. 5 stars
            The problem might be such a long-term smoke using all cherry. I find it can be fairly acrid if I put too much cherry on. I either limit cherry to a half hour or so on a long smoke, or mix it 20/80 with hickory or oak, or do a 20/30/50 blend with cherry/apple/oak (or hickory).

            I find the same problem with long smokes using mesquite, and treat it the same way.

            P.S. if you ever get the chance to get some pear wood chunks or chips, grab it. For smoked pork, poultry and lamb it’s the sweetest, cleanest smoke I’ve ever found. I had a big supply that lasted me several years and was sad to see the last of it get used.

  8. essentially i am following your video, with your cook times. i start the smoke than lower the pump to have. same cook schedule. i am using cherry wood. the sausage is raw and cured until i start drying and smoking. it is cooked after the process in the video.

  9. 5 stars
    Eric, this is a very tasty recipe and everyone loves the flavor. My only change was that I soaked equal portions of dark brown and yellow mustard seeds for several hours in what would be my ice water ingredient, which added a bit of a spicy kick. I don’t know if mustard seed “belongs” in kielbasa or not (noting some of the traditionalists posting above). :-)

    Unfortunately (my fault, not the recipe’s) the casings were tough as nails. They were a little tough with the last batch of sausage, but worse this time (and I have been following your bicarb soak recommendation). I guess they were just too old – not sure how long they should last in the fridge, still in salt pack, but this was the end of a package that I opened ~ 14 months ago.

    1. I currently use casings that are 3 years old. I think it comes down to where the casing comes from (part of the animal). If the casing is translucent then you are almost 100% guaranteed to have a snappy casing. If the casing is opaque, then it will likely be a bit chewy and tough.

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