Little smoked sausages are an excellent choice for this recipe, but mini cocktail wieners or sliced hot dogs or smoked sausages would be delicious as well. The grape jelly sauce is ridiculously easy to make, and the little hot dogs are always a hit! If you enjoy grape jelly meatballs (and who doesn't?), you'll love these.
The sauce mixture is versatile and open to all kinds of variations. Keep the sauce simple or jazz it up with additional ingredients or seasonings. A splash of bourbon can add "spirit," or replace the chili sauce with a spicy ketchup or barbecue sauce. See the tips and variations below the instructions for a quick homemade chili sauce, some possible substitutions, and additional flavor ideas.
Have toothpicks or forks, plates, and napkins on hand for your guests, and serve the little smokies hot right from the slow cooker. This is a good dish to bring to a tailgating party or potluck event.
- 2 packages (1 pound each) little smokies (mini smoked sausages)
- 1 bottle (12 ounces) chili sauce
- 1 cup grape jelly
- Combine little smokies or cocktail wieners in Crock Pot (slow cooker) with chili sauce and grape jelly; cover and cook on LOW for 4 to 6 hours.
- Serve the little hot dogs or sausages from the slow cooker (set on LOW or WARM) with toothpicks, small plates, and napkins available for your guests.
- You might also spear them with toothpicks and arrange them on a plate drizzled with some of the sauce. Keep them warm on a warming tray or serve immediately.
*Chili sauce is a condiment that is similar to cocktail sauce (as opposed to the Asian chili paste). Look for chili sauce near the ketchup in the supermarket.
Tips and Variations
- Instead of mini wieners or mini smoked sausage, use 2 pounds of Polish sausage or similar smoked sausage. Slice the sausage into 1/2-inch or 1-inch pieces.
- Add 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce to the sauce mixture.
- Replace the chili sauce with your favorite barbecue sauce.
- Add 1 or 2 cups of frozen pearl onions to the crock pot with the cocktail wieners or add about 1 cup of sliced fresh onions.
- Replace the grape jelly with currant jelly or a can of cranberry sauce.
- Replace the grape jelly with apricot preserves and 1/4 cup of packed light brown sugar.
- Add about 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper for a little "bite."
- For "spirited" little smokies, add a few tablespoons of bourbon to the sauce mixture.
- Homemade chili sauce: In a bowl, combine 1 cup of tomato sauce, 1 tablespoon of tomato paste, 2 to 3 tablespoons of brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon of allspice, and 1/4 teaspoon of onion powder. Blend well.