Addictive appetizer recipe made with 4 simple ingredients, mini smoked sausages, beer, BBQ sauce, and a touch of brown sugar for the best BBQ little smokies in town! Serve at your next tailgate, game day, or any day party and be the star!
I love making these small pre-cooked smoked sausages. They really just need reheating.
No idea why, but sometimes they are called cocktail links, maybe because they tend to be served at cocktail parties.
Just like our sweet and sour kielbasa recipe, this is a dump and go recipe.
Add all the ingredients, little smokies, BBQ sauce, beer, and brown sugar to a saucepan, slow cooker, or crock pot.
Set to low and heat for a couple of hours.
It’s hard to believe that this crowd favorite is really so simple, but it is!
You can easily substitute little smokies with large smoked sausage cut into 1/2-inch to 1-inch thick rounds.
Any variety of little smokies will work in this recipe. I really like the turkey little smokies, they seem to have a bit more flavor than the regular ones.
I also like the beef little smokies, but the regular ones and those with cheese have been used with great success in all my years of making this.
Sometimes when you forget to go shopping before Super Bowl Sunday way in advance you use what you can find!
How Many Do I Need?
A normal serving size for little smokies is about 5 links. I start with a 28-ounce package that has about 60 links or so in it. A smaller 13-ounce package has around 35 little smokies. Depending on how big of eaters your guests are will really depend on the amount you need to buy. This recipe is easily doubled and more without an issue. The only real restrictions are the size of your cooking vessel.
This recipe should easily feed 12 people who only eat 5 little smoked sausages. If you are serving a huge spread of snack foods or something substantial like Italian Beef Sandwiches for a meal, then 5 links per person is plenty.
If this is the only meat you are serving, then I would plan on 10 BBQ little smokies per guest.
You can use any kind of BBQ sauce you like or have on hand. We prefer Sweet Baby Ray’s or K.C. Masterpiece Hickory Brown Sugar.
If BBQ sauce with honey is your favorite, it would be delicious in this recipe. I would suggest replacing the brown sugar in this recipe with honey for an added pop of honey flavor.
No Grape Jelly
I have never used grape jelly when cooking little smokies. I’m sure it’s delicious but I just can’t. I struggle with wrapping my brain around that.
Even my cocktail meatballs don’t have any jelly in them!
What Kind of Beer
Really, you can use any kind of beer. I prefer a light pale ale like Budweiser or Miller. Lite varieties are just fine, I can normally find a Bud Lite or two in the man cave when I need one so that’s what I generally use.
If you don’t want to use beer, you are going to need to add some other liquid to thin out the barbecue sauce at the beginning of the cooking.
You can use bourbon if you wanted too.
Ta make these without any alcohol at all you could substitute the beer with ginger ale or a lemon-lime soda. I won’t leave behind the flavors that only beer can add, but it will still be super yummy.
Reduced the sugar in the recipe by half if using a sweetened soda. You want some sweetness but don’t want it to be too sweet.
How to Serve
Since it’s generally served as a snack, just about anything will go with little smokies.
If you’re at my house then you will probably find some chips and cheese, some version of shrimp, pretzels, sliders, and shredded Italian beef sitting next to a bowl of mini hoagie rolls.
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BBQ Little Smokies
- 24 ounces Little Smokies any variety
- 1 cup barbecue sauce
- 1/2 cup beer
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and set over low heat.
- Cook, stirring occasionally until sausages are completely cooked through and the sauce has started to thicken, about 1 hour. Alternatively, place all ingredients into a slow cooker or crock pot, stir, and cook over low, stirring occasionally for 2 to 3 hours.
- Serve hot.
- Allow 5 links per guest when other meats or a meal will also be served. If this is the only meat being served plan on 10 links per person.
- A large 24-ounce package of little smokies has approximately 60 links.
- Smaller 13-ounce packages have approximately 35 links.
- This recipe can be doubled, tripled, or more without difficulty.
- Reduce sauce ingredients by half for use with one 13-ounce package of mini sausage links.