Red rice and smoked sausage is a staple dish in the southern United States. Charleston, South Carolina lays claim to the original recipe. Though, Savannah, Georgia also shares ownership of the recipe. It is safe to say this is a popular low-country, one-pot rice and sausage recipe.
The base of the recipe is normally white rice. It is commonly made with pre-cooked rice, to which aromatic vegetables, seasonings, smoked sausage, and tomatoes are added and all are cooked together.
You can also make this recipe with converted rice. Converted rice, also referred to as parboiled rice, is long grain brown rice that has been soaked, steamed, and dried. The process results in a healthier rice that actually tastes like white rice. This rice cooks quickly and evenly. You can also use leftover rice that you might have on-hand.
The sausage component is most often a well seasoned, smoked, pork product. You can certainly purchase prepared smoked sausage, such as andouille or kielbasa. However, this dish is excellent with homemade smoked sausage. Cooking sausage in your own backyard smoker is fairly easy and rewards you with a tasty protein to use in a variety of dishes.
Homemade hot smoked sausage does not have to be limited to pork. You can make lamb, poultry, and even beef sausages for smoking. There are a variety of hot peppers you can use for the seasoning component. We’ll leave it up to you to decide which type of sausage to use in this red hot sausage recipe.
Red Rice and Hot Smoked Sausage: A Step-by-Step Guide
This rice and smoked sausage recipe takes approximately 10 minutes to prepare and another 30 minutes to cook. It should easily serve 4 to 6 people. The red color comes from the tomatoes.
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 lbs smoked hot sausage*, sliced into 2” lengths
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 large green bell pepper, stem and seeds removed, diced
- 3 celery stalks, diced
- One 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes or tomato sauce
- 4 cups water or no-salt chicken broth
- 3 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups of converted rice
*Pro tip #1: Can’t stand the heat? Substitute a mild smoked sausage and add 1 teaspoon of Creole seasoning while sautéing the vegetables.
Step 1: In a large, heavy pot with a lid or a Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium/high heat. Add the sausage and cook until browned, approximately 5 minutes.
Step 2: Add the onions, green pepper, and celery to the pot. Stir and cook for approximately 3 minutes until the vegetables start to soften.
Step 3: Add the tomatoes, water, salt, pepper, and rice to the pot and stir well to combine. Bring the pot up to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer and cover the pot. Simmer for approximately 20 minutes until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed.
Pro tip #2: For perfectly cooked rice it is best not to peek under the lid while the dish is cooking. Doing so will release too much steam that the rice needs to cook thoroughly.
Step 4: Serve while hot in bowls. This dish goes really nicely with braised or sautéed greens and a moist southern style corn bread. (Recipes follow).
Braised Collard Greens
This is a take on a southern classic. We have left out the customary bacon or ham hock because the red hot smoked sausage of the red rice dish needs to shine. This will take approximately 5 to 10 minutes to prepare and 70 minutes total to cook. It will serve 4 people.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, cut in half and sliced thinly
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced very thinly
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1-1/2 pounds collard greens, 1 to 2 large bunches, washed and drained
- 1-1/4 cups water
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Juice of 1/4 of a lemon
Step 1: Slice the leaves off of the tough stems of the collard greens. Stack the leaves and slice crosswise into thin ribbons. Set aside on paper towels while you proceed to step 2.
Step 2: In a large pot with a lid, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and continue to sauté until the onions are tender but not browned.
Step 3: Add the collard greens, salt, and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cover the pot partially to allow a little steam to escape. Continue to cook for 1 hour until the greens are wilted and cooked through.
Pro tip #3: Keep a tea kettle with boiled water nearby. Add a little water from time to time, if needed, to prevent the greens from burning or sticking to the bottom of the pot.
Step 4: Squeeze the lemon juice over the greens and adjust the seasoning to your liking. Serve hot or warm with your red rice and smoked sausage.
Southern Style Cornbread
This recipe is so easy and the bread remains moist. It will take 5 minutes to prepare and 22 minutes to bake. It will serve 4 to 6 people. You can easily make this ahead of time.
- 1 cup fine yellow cornmeal
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/4 cup runny honey
- 1/3 cup melted butter, cooled to room temperature
Step 1: Preheat your oven to 400°F.
Step 2: In a large bowl, mix together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt to combine well.
Step 3: In another bowl, whisk the egg lightly. Add the milk and honey and whisk again. Pour in the melted butter and combine well. Add the wet ingredients to the bowl of dry ingredients and stir well to combine.
Step 4: Generously grease an 8×8 inch pan, baking dish, or cast iron skillet. Pour the batter into the pan. Place it in the oven and bake for 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Step 5: Serve with softened butter alongside your collard greens and red rice.
Summing it Up
If you happen to have smoked up some hot sausage recently and want to try your hand at one of the best South Carolina red rice recipes, this one should be on your list. It is not difficult and only requires one large pot and a good heat source.
Follow the pro tips for best results. The ingredient list includes a couple of options for you to adjust the flavor, heat level, and texture of the finished dish. You won’t be disappointed with this one-pot meal that features hot smoked sausage. Serve with the sides suggested or your favorite southern sides.