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Crock-Pot® little smokies are an appetizer dish that goes well at typical family get-togethers, office potluck parties and other events. Made from miniature, smoked sausages, Crock-Pot® little smokies are often prepared in a bath of barbecue sauce to create a spicy meat snack. Many recipes for Crock-Pot® little smokies call for the meat to be slow cooked in a special mixture of the cook's favorite sauces, and many of the sauces begin with or include grape jelly and chili sauce. The use of a slow cooker allows the snack to be made early in the day and be ready in time for evening festivities.
Being a variation of a typical smoked sausage, these little sausages are made and distributed by several companies under similar names, each with a different and unique variation of the word "little" in the title. The common denominator in all of these miniature meat treats is that they typically are sold precooked. By placing the slow cooker on a low heat setting, the Crock-Pot® little smokies are allowed to come up to temperature while absorbing the flavor of the chosen sauce. It is not unusual for a party or dinner service to include several varieties of the sausage treats, each offering a unique flavor and experience.
Some manufacturers of smoked sausages offer the meat in a beef and pork mixture as well as an all-beef sausage. Each type can be used for a typical Crock-Pot® little smokies dish, but the flavor can be affected by using a different sausage. When choosing a recipe, it is wise for a cook to identify which type of sausage the chef used. It also can be fun to use a mixture of sausage types in a single dish or to prepare the same dish using each type of sausage in different slow cookers. This allows guests to decide which type of sausage they prefer.
One type of recipe calls for the Crock-Pot® little smokies to be simmered in baked beans. This rendition on the classic beans-and-franks recipe brings a distinct, smoky flavor to the dish by substituting the smoked sausage for the franks. Other options for this dish include sweet onions, green peppers and a multi-bean mixture. The dish also can be sweetened with brown sugar or molasses, and a hot pepper can also spice up this version of the small sausages. Toothpicks are often used to spear the sausages out of their sauce and onto a plate or napkin.
One of the classic little smokies recipes involves the use of barbecue sauce, mustard and grape jelly. It's a big hit at office parties and church snack suppers because it's so easy, and nearly impossible to mess up. Plus, it can be done in advance.
I've come home for lunch on several occasions, put my little smokies and the sauce in the crock-pot, set it on LOW, and when I get home from work, everything is done and piping hot, and all I have to do is carry the crock-pot to church, if we're having game night. It's a breeze and so convenient.
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