Delicious Swedish potato sausage slow-smoked over wood fire and coals. Made with freshly ground pork and beef, this classic holiday sausage recipe is loaded with savory meaty flavors and seasoning.
Swedish potato sausage is a unique spin on the pork and beef classic. While traditional recipes often call for boiling or oven-baking the sausage, this barbecue recipe slow cooks it over fire and coals on the smoker or charcoal grill.
The final result is a beautifully seasoned homemade sausage that’s loaded with ground pork shoulder, beef chuck, potatoes, onions, and delicious spices. It’s one of our favorite smoked sausage recipes, and it’s easy to see why.
Discover how to make the best smoked Swedish potato sausage from scratch, including how to stuff each link, what wood to use, and how to get the best results. Let’s get smoking.
What is Swedish Potato Sausage?
Swedish potato sausage is a traditional sausage typically made with ground beef and pork, mixed with potato and onions, and stuffed into casings. It can be boiled or oven-baked, or even barbecue smoked.
Typically enjoyed around the holidays, such as Christmas, it’s also enjoyed in North America in areas with strong Swedish or Scandinavian populations, such as Minnesota (hence the name ‘Minnesota potato sausage’).
Varieties of potato sausage can differ within the Swedish community. While some traditional recipes call for allspice and nutmeg seasoning, the Värmland region of Sweden has sausage with more potato and less spice (called värmlandskorv or potatiskorv in North America). Värmlandskorv relies on onion and simple salt and black pepper for its seasoning, resulting in a more savory and meat-and-potatoes flavor.
- Natural Hog Casings: While I prefer beef casings for barbecue, hog casings tend to be much easier to find in stores or online. You will need to allow time for soaking the casings ahead of time (more on this below).
- Ground Beef: Chuck is preferable due to its rich fat content and tender meat texture. However, if your local store or butcher doesn’t sell ground beef by specific cuts, good quality ground beef that blends different cuts is also fine.
- Ground Pork: Pork butt or shoulder is ideal given its rich fat content but, just like with ground beef, not all sellers will sell it by specific cut. Again, if the meat is from a good butcher then ground pork from the entire hog will work great.
- Potatoes: Almost any type of boiling potato will work here, especially Yukon gold, Idaho, or russet. They will need to be peeled and washed before soaking.
Soaking Sausage Casings
Natural sausage casings need to be soaked for at least two hours (I prefer overnight) prior to use in order to make them more pliable and flexible when you come to stuffing them. Only use cold water and avoid hot water at all costs. Hot or warm water can weaken the casings.
After opening, they will also need to be rinsed and refrigerated to wash off the brine and eliminate the natural odor that accompanies natural casings.
Beef casings are more reliable for barbecue smoking, although hog casings also fair well and are easier to find. Fibrous casings are non-edible, so avoid using these.
- To prepare your casings, carefully place them in a large bowl. Gently run cool water over them, carefully so as to not tangle or rip them.
- Soak the casings in fresh cool water for at least two hours
- Rinse each casing once more, also flushing water through the inside of each casing to remove any remaining brine salt
- In a fresh bowl, place each casing with the end hanging off the end of the bowl (this will help you find the opening for each casing quickly)
- Potatoes can turn black if left exposed for too long after soaking. To prevent this, avoid delays when stuffing the casings. Also, try adding ascorbic acid to the water when soaking your potatoes.
- Avoid overfilling the casings when stuffing. The sausages will plump when cooking, so overfilling may lead to them bursting. Aim to leave about 1 inch of unstuffed casing at each end.
- To add a beautiful golden-brown finish to your potato sausage, sear the cooked sausages on your grill over high heat or in a large skillet in butter.