Crock Pot Nippy Franks With Bourbon Recipe

Nippy franks with bourbon

The Spruce / Diana Rattray

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 2 hrs
Total: 2 hrs 10 mins
Servings: 12 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
181 Calories
11g Fat
16g Carbs
5g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 181
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 11g 14%
Saturated Fat 4g 22%
Cholesterol 22mg 7%
Sodium 537mg 23%
Total Carbohydrate 16g 6%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 14g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 0mg 2%
Calcium 16mg 1%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 162mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

 Bourbon adds spirit and flavor to these tasty little appetizer cocktail franks. The easy sauce contains only 4 basic ingredients plus bourbon, and it takes no more than 5 or 10 minutes to throw everything together in the crock pot. The dish takes 2 hours to cook, so plan to start it a couple of hours before the guests are expected to arrive.

Use mini hot dogs—or cocktail franks or wieners—or make the recipe with mini smoked sausages or cut-up hot dogs. Or use sliced kielbasa or another kind of spicy smoked sausage. The sauce would even work with small meatballs. And feel free to add other ingredients. Chunks of pineapple, bell pepper, and onions are good choices. Use your favorite brand of barbecue sauce in the recipe. For extra smoky flavor, add a bit of liquid smoke to the sauce. Or add heat with about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper or a dash of cayenne.

These are great for the adult football-watching crowd, but if some of your guests are children or if you prefer to cook without alcohol, omit the bourbon or substitute some fruit juice, such as apple juice or pineapple juice. Or add a bit more bourbon or whiskey if you like. A good quality stout would be great in the sauce as well.

These little cocktail franks make a tasty appetizer for a party or tailgating event, and they are served hot, right from the slow cooker. Offer guests plates, toothpicks, and plenty of napkins and let them serve themselves.

The recipe makes about 12 servings—3 to 4 pieces per person—and it is easily scaled up for a big party or event.


  • 1/2 cup ketchup

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, light or dark, packed

  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce

  • 3 tablespoons bourbon

  • 1 pound cocktail franks, or mini smoked sausages

Steps to Make It

  1. In the slow cooker, combine the ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, barbecue sauce, and bourbon. Stir to blend thoroughly.

  2. Add the cocktail franks or mini smoked sausages to the sauce and stir to coat.

  3. Cover the pot and cook on high for 1 hour; remove the lid and cook on low for 1 hour longer.

  4. Keep the setting on low or switch it to warm and serve the cocktail franks hot from the slow cooker.


  • Alcohol adds depth of flavor to dishes, but contrary to popular belief, alcohol does not "cook off" completely. Since this sauce is simmered uncovered for about an hour, about 50% to 75% should evaporate, so there will still be some alcohol in the sauce. Some guests can't—or won't—have alcohol. Let your guests know there is a small amount of bourbon in the dish. You might even want to make a separate alcohol-free version of the dish if you know some of your guests are teetotalers.