Slow-Cook Your Little Smokies Sausages For A More Flavorful Snack

Imagine you were transported back in time to a cocktail party or church basement potluck during some unspecified age of bad hair and worse fashion choices (which is undoubtedly what future folks will think of the current era). You're likely to have found a crockpot or two filled with bite-sized smoked sausages swimming in a mixture of grape jelly and chili sauce. Here, developer Hayley MacLean gives us her take on this retro recipe for little smokies in the slow cooker with a sauce that's just as sweet but a bit more complex than the standard two-ingredient combo.

MacLean cooks her cocktail wienies (as these sausages are also styled) in grocery store barbecue sauce — Sweet Baby Ray's is her brand of choice. She combines it with ketchup, brown sugar, and several types of seasoning. Then, MacLean tosses everything in the crockpot and lets it simmer for a few hours, explaining that "the slow cooker allows the sauce to really come together and concentrates all the flavors."

How to cook your little smokies if you don't own a Crockpot

There's a good reason the slow cooker is traditional for this dish — not only does a long simmer let the sauce soak in, but the little smokies can be served right out of the appliance. As Hayley MacLean puts it, they "can stay warm in the slow cooker throughout an event," whether that be a party or dinner in the kitchen. That being said, you don't need a slow cooker to make this dish, since mini smoked sausages are usually sold fully cooked. This means that all you need to do is heat the sausages and other ingredients on the stovetop for a few minutes until the sauce comes together and everything is warm enough to eat.

If you do want to go for that low and slow simmer, though, and you have a few hours to spare, you can always use your oven as a slow cooker. Set the temperature anywhere between 200 and 250 Fahrenheit, combine the sausages and other ingredients in an ovenproof pot or pan, and cover the dish with a lid or piece of aluminum foil. You can bake the dish for up to four hours at this heat, but if you need to leave it in the oven for an entire day or overnight, set the oven to 175 Fahrenheit instead. The wienies will have extra time to soak up the sauce while staying warm until you need them.