Smoking cured meats and sausages at home is one of the many joys of owning a smoker. While smoked meat like brisket, pulled pork, or ribs almost always steal the show, a properly smoked bologna, smoked sausage is a thing of true beauty.
Smoking bologna from scratch at home is quite the undertaking, but this recipe for Smoked Beef Bologna cuts out a lot of that work by starting with a quality piece of all pre-cooked beef bologna. Then you use your smoker to add an entirely new dimension to the sausage with a delicious hot mustard rub and honey glaze!
Making Smoked Beef Bologna
Making this smoked bologna recipe is super simple, as long as you can find a large chunk of all beef bologna. The best place to start the search for your bologna is the deli counter at your local specialty supermarket.
If you have access to a high-quality butcher, start there, but your local supermarket should have great beef bologna for you to use as well.
Preheat your smoker.
With the beef bologna acquired, it's time to get down to cooking. To begin, you'll want to preheat your smoker so it's ready to go.
Depending on your smoker type, get the charcoal or burner lit and set the temperature range to 225°f.
Once the smoker is up to temp, you can add your wood chips or chunks, but for now, just let the smoker get to temperature.
Gather the ingredients for your Barbecue Rub.
This recipe calls for a two-part rub/marinade. A mustard rub is applied before the smoking process begins, and a second honey glaze will be brushed onto the bologna at the end of the cook.
Once you've got all the ingredients together, mix together the brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, ground mustard, ancho chili powder, smoked paprika, salt, and black pepper together in a small bowl.
Set the rub aside and then begin to prepare the actual bologna itself.
Scoring and Rubbing the Bologna.
The trick to preparing this bologna is to remove the outer meat casing and then score in a square pattern to increase the surface area of the bologna.
By scoring down into the bologna about a ¼ inch, you create more surface area for the rub and glaze to penetrate and the smoke from your smoker.
The diamond pattern also creates a beautiful finished texture for the honey glaze to adhere to.
To score the bologna meat, use a knife to cut 2 inch wide slits around the bologna and along its length. Make sure not to cut down into the bologna more than ¼-1/2 an inch, as this can compromise the integrity of the bologna, and it may break into pieces.
If you score too deeply, don't worry too much, the bologna will still be super tasty; it might be a little fragile when moving it.
Rub the Bologna!
With the bologna scored and the smoker ready to go, the last step before you can get down to smoking some bologna is to apply the barbecue rub.
Slather the yellow mustard all over the scored bologna, making sure to press it into the score marks, covering the entire surface evenly.
Once the mustard is applied, sprinkle the spice rub evenly over the entirety of the bologna, don't forget to rub the ends and the top and bottom.
Smoke that Bologna!
All that's left to do is load that whole bologna into your preheated smoker and add some wood chunks or chips, depending on your smoker type. If you are using a stick burner or pellet smoker, this is probably not necessary.
The key to a perfectly smoked bologna is temperature control. You don't want your smoker to go much above 225°f when you smoke bologna.
The bologna you're using for this recipe is already fully cooked, so this smoking process is more of a "value-added" process than an actual cooking necessity. It's unnecessary to shoot for a higher temperature range because you'll be adding flavor hear rather than cooking to a specific internal temp.
Because bologna is an emulsified sausage, it can be protein to render, especially if the temperature gets too high. This will result in an unpleasant gritty texture and a substantial loss in the weight and volume of your bologna.
A pit-style thermometer with internal meat probes and an ambient temperature sensor is one of the best ways to ensure that your smoker stays at the correct temperature. It also allows you to track the progress of your proteins, so you know the exact moment they reach the perfect temperature.
Applying the Honey Glaze.
After the bologna has been smoking for 2 hours, it's time to make and apply the spicy honey glaze.
For the glaze, you will mix together brown sugar, hot honey, melted butter, and garlic powder.
Once the glaze is ready to go, it's time to mop it on. A barbecue mop is best, but a pastry brush will work in a pinch.
Before applying the glaze, you can place the bologna into a metal pan to collect any glaze/juices that run off the bologna as it cooks. This isn't strictly necessary, but by this point, the bologna has acquired almost all the smoky flavor it's likely to get, and the pan will make it easier to transport when it's finished cooking.
After applying, the glaze, button up your smoker and allow it to continue to cook at 225°f for another 30 minutes.
Cool, Slice, and Serve!
Once the glaze is shiny and beautiful, it's time to pull the Bologna from the smoker and allow it to rest for a few minutes before serving.
Cut the bologna into thick slices, about 1" to 1.5" inches thick, and serve on a toasted roll or white bread!
You can absolutely enjoy this smoked bologna while still hot or warm, but given the size, you're probably going to end up with some leftovers.
Keep the remainder of your bologna whole and wrap it tightly before refrigerating. As you use up the rest of the bologna, cut as much as you need for a serving, and keep the bologna whole and wrapped tightly to preserve its texture and flavor.
Smoked Bologna With A Hot Honey Glaze
- 3-5 lbs chunk of all beef bologna
For the rub:
- ¼ cup mustard
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp ground mustard seed
- 1 tsp ancho chili powder
- 1 tsp spanish smoked paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp fresh cracked pepper
Hot Honey Glaze:
- 2 tbsp butter melted
- 2 tbsp hot honey
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- Preheat the smoker to 225 degrees.
- Prepare the bologna by removing any packaging or casing.
- Score the meat by slicing about ½ inch deep horizontally and again vertically.
- In a medium bowl combine the brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, ground mustard, ancho chili powder, paprika, salt and pepper.
- Whisk until well combined, set aside.
- Spread the mustard over the scored bologna making sure to get in between all the cuts.
- Then add the homemade rub to the bologna and rub it down making sure to get in between all the cuts again.
- Place the bologna onto the preheated smoker.
- Close the lid and let smoke for two and a half hours.
For the hot honey glaze:
- In a small bowl combine the melted butter, hot honey, brown sugar, and garlic powder and whisk until combined.
- Bush the bologna with the glaze after the two and a half hours is up (can add pan or foil under meat to catch drippings).
- Close the lid and let smoke for another thirty minutes.
- Remove from the smoker and slice and serve hot or cold as desired.