Southern Living

This is a festive, vintage dish that never goes out of style. Ignore any mild protestations from people who claim they no longer eat such things. Just plunk down a pot of these in the middle of a party and watch them disappear. The sausages, not the people. They’ll be hovering close by with toothpicks in hand.

This 3-ingredient recipe sits on the quick-and-easy corner of store-bought and slightly homemade. Busy cooks can stock up on ingredients for several batches and stand ready to break out a batch at any minute, including the last minute.

The star of this recipe is the bite-size, capsule-shaped smoked sausages. Size matters. So much so that the product name often includes Lil’l, Lil, or Lit’l. Apparently the more contractions and apostrophes in the name, the more assured we can rest in their littleness.

Most grocery stores carry bags of these ready-to-eat cocktail weenies near the bacon and hot dogs. Warehouse stores carry huge, party-worthy bags. Stores probably sell these sausages year-round, but many of us confine our conspicuous consumption of this beloved dish (and most treats we joust with toothpicks) to the holidays – from Halloween all the way to the Big Game.

Once the little smokies show up, the party can begin. Have fun.

This recipe is so forgiving that you can change any of the components to suit what you have on hand.

No chili sauce? Barbecue sauce or ketchup will be fine.

No grape jelly? Well, what kind of jam or jelly you have?

No mini sausages? Use meatballs or cut up links of regular smoked sausage.

No stove? Heat them in a slow cooker for a couple of hours.

How to Make It

Warm the chili sauce and grape jelly in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until smooth. Add the sausages and stir to coat. Cook until warmed through, about 30 minutes, or longer if you prefer slightly reduced, thicker sauce.