How long does Smoked Sausage last in the Fridge?

Whosoever came up with the idea of smoking sausages did a great job!

Smoking sausages is one of the most delicious ways to enjoy sausages. Smoked sausages are an essential addition to an excellent BBQ night.

However, many have difficulty determining how long smoked sausage lasts in the fridge. Smoked sausages do not last too long in the fridge. Smoked sausages last in the fridge for a week to two months, depending on whether they are opened or unopened.

Here is a detailed explanation of how this works.

How long does smoked sausage last in the fridge?

Smoked sausage can last between a few days to two months. Here’s what we mean.

Unopened smoked sausage can last for one to two months in the fridge.

On the other hand, uncooked, opened smoked sausage lasts up to a week in the fridge.

However, the situation is dicey if you store leftover cooked smoked sausage. This is because an opened pack or some leftover smoked sausage can last for about three to four days in the fridge.

You should consider the freezer if you want a longer-term storage option.

In the freezer, fresh smoked sausage can last for a very long time, but it is nevertheless recommended that you use them within a 4-month window as the overall quality and flavor is still intact during this period. When storing smoked sausage in the freezer, you should do so in airtight bags to prevent freezer burn.  

How to correctly store smoked sausages

You’ll need an airtight freezer-safe container and freezer or masking tape.

Guide:

  1. If opened, place the sausages into the container and seal tightly with the corresponding lid. If unopened, do not take out the sausages in the original packaging. Airtight-sealing the sausages prevents them from freezer burn and moisture loss.
  2. Write the expiry date of the sausage on the freezer or masking tape and attach it to the container for easy reference. Then, place the sausage container into the fridge or freezer for storage.
  3. Smoked sausages last up to a week in the fridge and two months in the freezer (at zero degrees Fahrenheit).

Does smoked sausage go bad?

Smoked sausages go bad like every other perishable food.

Every type of smoked sausage is not cured the same way. Similarly, this can affect its taste and, ultimately, its shelf life. Therefore, the curing and smoking process involved determines how long smoked sausage will last.

There are three ways to cure smoked sausages; smoke-cooked, wet-cured smoked, and dry-cured smoked.

Smoke-cooked

Smoke cooking is a technique that involves cooking sausage in a smoke chamber under low heat.

The main goal of this process is to give the sausage a smokey flavor. However, because it is only smoked, not cured, the sausage has a limited shelf life.

Smoke-cooked sausages can last two hours at room temperature and two days in the refrigerator.

Dry-cured and smoked

This curing process is in two stages;

  1. The sausage is cured using salt and then smoke-cooked.
  2. Afterward, the sausage is dried in a temperature-controlled drying environment.

The drying aspect of this process is the essential part. Drying sausage helps ward off the build-up of harmful bacteria.

Dry-cured, smoked sausages last very long. Unopened, dry-cured smoked sausages can be stored at room temperature for up to six weeks and in the fridge for up to 2 months.

An opened pack of dry-cured smoked sausages will last up to three weeks in the fridge. 

Wet-cured and smoked

Wet-curing does a fantastic job at inhibiting bacteria growth and oxidation on the surface of the sausage. However, it doesn’t do much to prevent bacteria from developing inside the sausage.

Many argue that wet-curing is more accessible and better than dry-curing, but wet-curing has its perks. For one, wet-curing is best for small cuts of meat like sausages because the smaller surface area of small cuts of meat allows them to be submerged in a saltwater brine for a shorter period.

Unopened, Wet-cured smoked sausages can last up to two weeks in the fridge and up to a year in the freezer.

Once opened, wet-cured smoked sausage can last up to a week in the fridge as long as they are stored appropriately.

Storing smoked sausages doesn’t have to be a hassle. You’ll find a detailed guide on storing smoked sausages later in this article.

Certain things in your control may offset the spoilage of smoked sausages, and we thought to outline them so you can keep your smoked sausages from going bad.

  • Letting fresh smoked sausages sit at room temperature for more than two hours is problematic because it can lead to bacterial growth.
  • Leaving opened packs of smoked sausages in the fridge for up to two weeks.
  • Allowing smoked sausages to sit in the freezer for over two months. The issue with this is that the sausages lose their overall quality after the two-month timeline.
  • Storing smoked sausages in non-airtight containers can lead to bacterial growth.
  • Storing smoked sausages in temperatures higher than 40 degrees Celsius.

How do you know when sausages are bad?

Now that you know what to do to prevent smoked sausages from spoiling, you should also be able to identify spoiled smoked sausages when you see them.

Here are the telltale signs of a spoiling/spoilt sausage:

Rotten smell

The most in-your-face sign of spoiled sausage is a foul, rotten smell. Unfortunately, the smell can be so bad that you may not necessarily need to take a sniff before it hits you.

You should avoid any sausage that smells off, even if it’s just a little.

Color changes

Another apparent sign of a rotten sausage is a color change. Fresh sausage has a pale uniform color. When sausages begin to change color, then there’s a problem.

Mold growth

Mold patches on sausages are bad news. If you eyeball sausages only to find that they have developed mold, you shouldn’t eat them.

Change in texture

When sausages begin to go bad, their texture becomes sticky or slimy. Sausages with a sticky or slimy film should be avoided. Even if you did try to eat the sausages, they wouldn’t take their best.

Check the best-by/use-by/expiration date

The expiration, best-by, or use-by date on the packaging shows the exact date they will likely lose their overall substance and quality. If the expiry date has been exceeded, we recommend that you do not eat it.

If you notice any or all of these characteristics in your sausages, please throw them away. Do not try to salvage the sausages.

What affects the shelf life of smoked sausage?

The shelf life of smoked sausage depends on the procedure used to smoke it.

Sausages can be smoke-cooked, dry-cured and smoked, or wet-cured and smoked.

Smoke-cooked

Smoke-cooked sausages are cooked under low heat in a smoke chamber. Smoked-cooked sausages are not as shelf-stable as dry-cured and wet-cured smoked sausages.

On average, smoke-cooked sausages can last for two days in the fridge and two hours at room temperature.

Dry-cured and smoked

When sausages are smoked this way, they are first cured with salt and smoked in a temperature-moderated drying setting and then dried.

 The curing process helps to inhibit the growth of bacteria significantly. Additionally, when unopened, dry-cured smoked sausages can last for up to six weeks at room temperature and two months in the fridge. Meanwhile, an opened pack of dry-cured smoked sausages will last in the fridge for up to three weeks.

Wet-cured and smoked

The primary goal of wet-curing is to reduce the chances of bacterial growth on the surface of the meat. However, this curing process may not inhibit bacterial growth within the sausage.

An unopened package of wet-cured smoked sausages can last up to two weeks in the fridge and about a year in the freezer.

Opened, wet-cured smoked sausage can last up to a week in the fridge if stored correctly.

Can you defrost smoked sausages out of the fridge overnight?

You shouldn’t defrost smoked sausages outside of the fridge overnight. It is unsafe, and we do not recommend it.

This is because, at room temperature, bacteria are prone to multiply more rapidly than at cool temperatures. If you want to thaw your sausages, do so in the fridge.

Is smoked sausage cooked?

Often, smoked sausages come almost fully cooked, meaning you may only need to reheat them before eating them. However, you do not need to reheat cured smoked sausages. Check the packaging to be sure of what you’re working with.

If the packaging indicates that the smoked sausages have been fully-cooked or cured, they are safe to eat out of the packaging.

Nevertheless, if the packaging indicates that the smoked sausages are not fully-cooked, you should cook them till their internal temperature reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit.