The easiest sweet and smoky, most delicious appetizer ever! There's hardly any prep work, and less than 5 minutes on the stove are needed to enjoy these irresistible cocktail sausages, cocktail weenies, lil smokies, cocktail weiners, or whatever you call them. It's a perfect recipe for any type of gathering, to munch on before a barbecue, for game day, movie night, or just because. Any excuse is a good one!
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I've been wanting to share these with you for ages. As it happens with so many heritage recipes I've been making for decades (hello French onion dip and best strawberry ice cream), it takes me a while to remember to post them.
But the wait is worth it. Trust me.
This is such an insanely easy and tasty appetizer that you'll start finding excuses to make them.
Here we just say, 'how about we make the little smokies recipe?' and boom! ten minutes later, they're on the table.
Almost as easy as heating them in some purchased bbq sauce mixed with grape jelly (which I know is a popular combination), but better.
All households should have packages of Lil' Smokies or any other cocktail sausage in the fridge at all times, don't you agree?
Why this recipe works
- Super easy to make. Yes, I'm saying it again, in case you skimmed through the paragraphs above, this is an extremely easy recipe. Ready in minutes.
- Crowd-pleaser. This is the understatement of the year, at least in this house. We are huge fans. Huge. And have yet to meet a friend who disagrees.
- Simple ingredients. They are mostly pantry staples because some of them are easy to substitute. So there's no excuse.
They are so few, and this recipe is so delicious, you might want to be stocked at all times for spur-of-the-moment smokies cravings!
- Mustard: I use creamy Dijon, which is strong. If using any other type, taste and adjust.
- Liquid: use soy sauce (saltier) or balsamic vinegar (sweeter). Both are amazing.
- Brown sugar: it adds a caramel undertone that works better than white sugar.
- Sausages: depending on where in the world you are, the possibilities are endless. Use your favorite mini weiner. Or cut up some hot dogs in pieces if that's all you have available.
How to make cocktail sausages
It's so ridiculously easy! Simply put the ingredients in a saucepan and cook until syrupy. That's it.
- Add the sugar and mustard to the smokies in the saucepan.
- Add the soy sauce or whatever liquid you're using. Give it a mix.
- Cook on medium heat until a syrup is formed. When it starts to boil make sure you stir it frequently so it doesn't stick to the bottom. It will be quite watery initially, so give it a few minutes.
- Make sure the mini sausages don't break. So if you feel they're getting too soft but the syrup is not fully reduced, take them out and cook the syrup a little longer on its own. It should be silky and thick.
- Pre-cook the sausages: depending on the type of sausage you use, they might be already fully cooked or not. I like to boil them for 1-2 minutes before mixing them with the rest of the ingredients but it's not always necessary.
- Saucepan or skillet: the first one will take longer to reduce; in the latter, the smokies will caramelize better individually and maybe char a little, which is a good thing.
- Variations: White wine can also be used instead of soy sauce. If you like honey, you can use 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and 1 of honey. Also, feel free to throw in a clove of garlic (crushed or chopped, depending on if you want to take it out before serving or not) to the mix before heating it on the stove.
- Slow cooker: for this particular recipe, I don't see the need to use it, unless you don't have access to a stovetop. Cleaning the crockpot just to make these when they're ready in less than 10 minutes, doesn't sound like a great plan to me. But, you can make them in a slow cooker!
- Oven: you can mix all the ingredients in a baking dish (not a baking sheet) and bake them until golden brown and a little shriveled. But it would have to be a small container so that the syrup coats the cocktail weiners before it becomes too thick. It's not one of my favorite ways of making these.
- Other sausages: this recipe can also be used with pork or turkey sausages, but I feel beef sausages are still the best option.
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- 12 ounces (340g) Lit'l smokies or mini weiners/cocktail sausages, preferably smoked (see Notes below for alternative)
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 3 teaspoons dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce (see variations in the Notes, below)
- Put the smokies or sausages in a saucepan or skillet. See Notes below about pre-cooking them.
- Add brown sugar, mustard, soy sauce and mix.
- Heat on medium and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently so they don't stick.
- When a syrup is formed, they are ready to eat.
- Transfer to a bowl and serve.
- Refrigerate leftovers and warm again before eating. The sauce will be much thicker.
Pre-cook the sausages: depending on the type of sausage you use, they might be already fully cooked or not. I like to boil them for 1-2 minutes before mixing them with the rest of the ingredients but it's not always necessary.
Smoked sausages: if you don't use Lit'l Smokies sausages or another one that is smoked, you can add a few drops of liquid smoke, giving it a great flavor. You can buy it online, like Colgin Mesquite Liquid smoke.
Whole sausages: if you can't find mini ones, simply cut large ones into medium pieces. For this recipe, you can use about 4 ones.
Saucepan or skillet: the first one will take longer to reduce and in the latter, the smokies will caramelize better individually and maybe char a little, which is a good thing.
Variations: White wine can also be used instead of soy sauce. If you like honey, you can use 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and 1 of honey. Also, feel free to throw in a clove of garlic (crushed or chopped, depending if you want to take it out before serving or not) to the mix before heating it on the stove.
- Prep Time: 2 minutes
- Cook Time: 5 minutes
- Category: Appetizers
- Method: Cooking
- Cuisine: International
- Serving Size: ¼
- Calories: 305
- Sugar: 6.8 g
- Sodium: 982.1 mg
- Fat: 24.4 g
- Carbohydrates: 9.2 g
- Protein: 10.5 g
- Cholesterol: 49.3 mg
Keywords: little smokies, cocktail sausages