Classic cocktail smokies are wrapped in smoky bacon, coated with a spicy brown sugar rub, and baked until crispy and oh so addicting!
Party food recipes like these bacon wrapped little smokies are great for game days, holidays, and pretty much any gathering. Party guests love finger foods and dips! We LOVE easy, family-favorite recipes like my Bacon Ranch Cheese Ball and this Everything Bagel Pigs in a Blanket. This is one of my Appetizer recipes you’ll definitely want in your collection!
LITTLE SMOKIES RECIPE
No party would be complete without the deliciousness of bacon-wrapped little smokies… but I’ve taken that one step further with a spiced brown sugar rub that renders them absolutely mouthwatering! Bake them for game day, a cocktail party, or just a casual night in! Just 5 ingredients!
Game day foods are just the best aren’t they? They’re so comforting and fun! It’s really hard for me to pick a favorite, but one that ranks pretty high on the list are these little smokies!
Most people have had little smokies at some point in their lives.. whether they’ve been wrapped in bacon or simmered in bbq sauce in the slow cooker.
I decided that my love of all things sweet/spicy needed to extend to these! And of course, everything is better with bacon right?!
HOW TO MAKE LITTLE SMOKIES
- Prepare baking sheet by lining with 2 sheets of aluminum foil or 1 layer of heavy duty foil.
- Pat the smokies dry, then wrap in a piece of bacon. Secure with a toothpick.
- Add sugar and spices to a large plastic bag, then add smokies in batches, shaking gently to coat. Repeat with all smokies.
- Bake 30-35 minutes, and if desired, broil for extra crispness.
COOKING TIPS FOR COCKTAIL SMOKIES
- FOIL – make sure you line the baking sheet with 2 layers of regular foil (or one layer of heavy duty foil). When sugars caramelize, they can be a giant pain to clean off a baking sheet. Save yourself the time and trouble!
- SAUSAGE VARIETY – I like to use Hillshire Farms brand, but even within that brand, there are several types. Little Smokies, Beef Little Smokies, Turkey Little Smokies, Little Weiners, Cheddar Little Weiners, etc. My preferred type is the original little smokies, but feel free to try other varieties if you’d like.
- BACON VARIETY – I like to use center cut bacon for this recipe, so you get more “meat” and less fat, but go with whichever brand and type of bacon you like best. We’re using simple ingredients here, so you want to use the best.
VARIATIONS OF THIS RECIPE
- BBQ – bake as directed, then baste with your favorite bbq sauce and broil for several minutes, until smokies are sticky and caramelized.
- SPICIER – feel free to use more cayenne pepper if you prefer. You could also slather the bacon wrapped smokies in sriracha or a spicy bbq sauce before coating them in the brown sugar mixture. A pickled jalapeno slice wrapped with the sausage would be amazing as well.
- MILDER – omit the cayenne and black pepper all together.
MAKING LIL SMOKIES AHEAD OF TIME
I like to assemble these smokies a day ahead of time (just drying the sausage, wrapping in bacon, and securing with toothpick), then keep them covered in the refrigerator. I also mix up the sugar and spices mixture in a bag, and keep it sealed on the counter.
When I want to serve them, I just coat them and bake!
** You can assemble these completely ahead of time (coating them in sugar and everything), keeping them covered and refrigerated, a day ahead of time. Several readers noticed that when using this method, the brown sugar had mixed with the natural juices of the sausage and bacon and looked “melted”. They bake up just fine, but if this bothers you, use the make ahead method I’ve detailed above.
Leftovers should be kept refrigerated and consumed within 3-4 days.
KEEPING WARM FOR A PARTY
Whenever I make these, they’re gone within the first 20 minutes of a party, but if you want them to stay warm for longer, several readers have mentioned they put the baked smokies in the crockpot on warm and it’s worked out well.
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT FOR THIS RECIPE
- Half Sheet Pan – this is my most used sheet pan, it holds up so well!
- Toothpicks – if you get lucky, the bacon can stick to itself and seal, but to be safe… I always use these.
LOOKING FOR MORE GREAT GAME DAY FOODS?
- Cheesy Bacon Jalapeno Popper Dip
- Bacon Cheeseburger Dip
- Beer Cheese Sauce
- Chicken Taco Mexican Pinwheels
- Baked Italian Beef Sliders
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- 16 oz package of little smokies (or small cooked sausages) I use Hillshire Farm brand
- 15 slices bacon, each cut into 3 smaller sections
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper more or less, according to your tastes
- pinch of black pepper (optional)
- Prepare a jelly roll pan (or large baking sheet with a rim), with a layer of aluminum foil, lightly coated with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.
- Pat sausages dry with a paper towel and wrap each individual sausage with a piece of the cut bacon. Secure with a toothpick.
- Add brown sugar, cayenne and black pepper to a large resealable plastic bag. Use a spoon to combine the sugar with seasonings. Add several bacon wrapped sausages, seal bag and shake gently to coat. Repeat with all remaining sausages.
- Line sugar rubbed sausages on prepared baking sheet and bake 30 -35 minutes, until bacon is browned. For some extra crispness, broil for a couple of minutes after baking.
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