This recipe for bourbon bbq little smokies gets inhaled at my house every time I make it. Like the recipes I share? Click on the affiliate links, and your shopping earns me a commission.
Growing up, I never had little smokies, let alone bourbon bbq little smokies. I spent much of my childhood in the midwest, so there’s no real reason for this oversight.
In fact, I had my first little smokie only a few years ago. It was ok but definitely not my favorite. Why? They were mixed with grape jelly, which is just not my thing.
I enjoyed my next encounter with little smokies much better, and I discovered why so many enjoy little smokies with barbecue sauce. My father-in-law makes little smokies for Christmas every year, and I based this recipe off his…with some twists to make it even better.
When I first started putting the ingredients together in the pot, my husband gave me The Look thinking I was ruining a family classic. Once he took his first bite, he changed his mind.
The addition of the onion gives it a little sweetness and depth of flavor, and then there’s the bourbon. This recipe – unlike my kids’ favorite Instant Pot Honey Bourbon Chicken – actually includes bourbon in the recipe.
You cook out the alcohol, but the taste remains, and it’s perfect. In fact, this is the first time I’ve made this great appetizer recipe that I managed to take photos.
Usually, they disappear before I have a chance. That’s always a good sign, right?
Another thing I love about this recipe? I make this on the stovetop. In twenty minutes, these bourbon bbq little smokies are ready for guests, meaning you can have a last minute appetizer come together quickly while you finish cleaning the house.
Wait, am I the only one doing last minute cleaning in the minutes before guests arrive? You can also make this in a crock pot, cooking it on low for two to four hours, if you prefer.
Last weekend, I made this for our football party in the morning. I prepped and cooked it, then let it cool and refrigerated it still in the cast iron pot I use to cook it.
Just before guests arrived, I pulled it from the fridge and reheated it on low, making this a great prep ahead appetizer. Anytime I host a part and can do work in advance leaving less the day of or just before the party, the better I like it!
How to make Bourbon BBQ Little Smokies
Dice the onion, and add it to your cast iron pot with the barbecue sauce (use homemade bbq sauce or your favorite bottled variety), ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, bourbon, and brown sugar. Make sure to use a heavy pot, which is why I love cooking with cast iron.
Cast iron distributes the heat evenly and reduces the chance of burning, plus it retains heat well. That means that when I serve my bourbon bbq little smokies, they stay warm longer without requiring that I reheat them or place them in a vessel that plugs in.
Plus, the gorgeous blue enameled cast iron pot I have is pretty enough to set out at a party.
Stir together these ingredients, then add the little smokies and stir again. Turn the heat to medium low and bring to temperature.
Periodically check the pot and stir to ensure that the mixture is simmering with bubbles (it’s hot enough to boil off alcohol) without truly being at a boil where the sugar will caramelize too much and burn. After ten minutes of solid simmering, turn the heat to low to retain the heat and let the flavor soak into your little smokies.
The bourbon bbq little smokies are ready to serve after twenty minutes. Set them out with some toothpicks, and watch your guests go to town.
This recipe easily doubles for larger gatherings – or if you’re like my husband and just want leftovers to enjoy!
Alternatively, combine the ingredients in your slow cooker and cook on low for two to four hours. You don’t need to stir at all if you choose to use your crockpot.
Every time you open the crockpot, it lowers the temperature significantly and lengthens the cooking time for whatever you’re making.
Have you ever had bourbon bbq little smokies? What’s your favorite party food?
Enjoy these bourbon bbq little smokies at your next party. Me? I love party food and appetizers. Serve this alongside my smoky chicken enchilada dip, chunky guacamole, and buffalo chicken dip. This is how you provide party fare where your guests will never want to leave!
Barbecue Bourbon Little Smokies
This quick recipe for bourbon barbecue little smokies adds a delicious depth of flavor and ensures your guests will make them disappear quickly. Make them on the stovetop or your crock pot, whichever is more convenient for you!
- 1/4 c onion, diced
- 1 1/2 c barbecue sauce
- 1/2 c ketchup
- 1/2 c brown sugar
- 3 T bourbon
- 1 t Worcestershire sauce
- 2 16 ounce packages little smokies
- Dice onion. Add that to a heavy pot with barbecue sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and bourbon. Stir to combine, then add little smokies and stir to coat.
- Turn heat to medium low and bring to a simmer (bubbles without true boiling). Cook, stirring periodically, for 20 minutes, then serve immediately with toothpicks.
- Alternatively, mix all ingredients in a crock pot and cook on low for 2-4 hours before serving.
You can also make this ahead of time and let cool to room temperature then refrigerate. Reheat ten minutes or so before guests arrive to have a prep ahead appetizer for parties.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 421Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 53mgSodium: 1324mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 0gSugar: 27gProtein: 11g
This site uses an outside source to provide nutrition. If you need exact details, please calculate yourself.
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Monday 16th of November 2020
I have been doing lil smokies for years. My recipe 1/2 cup wild turkey bourbon 1/ cup BBQ sauce 1/2 cup grape jelly Lil smokies
Monday 16th of November 2020
There are so many different versions out there. I happen to not like grape jelly at ALL, so I have enjoy this version. It's always fun to see how many variations are out there.
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Tuesday 21st of January 2020
[…] BBQ bourbon little smokies […]
Saturday 29th of December 2018
Can little smokies be made without crockpot?
Saturday 29th of December 2018
For sure they can be made that way, but these definitely taste best when you cook them a low heat for a long period of time. If you try it without a crockpot, you'd want to cook them in a very heavy pot (like cast iron) to help prevent scorching and at a low heat. You don't want them boiling but a light simmer would be fine - and definitely keep the lid on! Good luck!
Saturday 23rd of December 2017
You mention worchester sauce in the text but it's not included in the recipe ingredients. How much did you use?
Sunday 24th of April 2022
Now it's in the ingredients but not in the directions.....
Friday 12th of January 2018
Oh yikes, I'm so sorry. I used a teaspoon of Worcestershire. I updated the recipe - thank you for noticing!