How to make slow cooker BBQ cocktail sausages (video)

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What's a cocktail party without cocktail weenies? Typically, mini cocktail sausages are cooked with barbecue sauce and grape jelly for this somewhat sinful treat. This is the slow-cooked grownup version.
This recipe is all about the sauce. I have been making different variations of this barbecue sauce while cooking in restaurants as well as at home for friends. My kitchen friends lovingly call it Sweet Baby JJ's (no relation to Ray's). In this version, I have replaced the grape jelly with pureed blackberries and added bourbon and mushroom broth for a more complex and flavorful sauce. Molasses adds sweetness, and vinegar brings on the tang. I have also added a few slices of bacon for an amazing smoky flavor. I suggest a Polish sausage because it won't fall apart during cooking. But don't be afraid to play around. After all, cocktail weenies are all about fun!
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Cooktop Cove 
Slow cooker BBQ cocktail sausage
12
15 minutes
6 hours
6 hours, 15 minutes
BBQ sauce:
2 cups ketchup
4 tablespoons molasses
4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
½ cup pureed blackberries
1 cup canned mushroom broth
1 tablespoon bourbon (optional)
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
¼ tablespoon cayenne pepper
Sausage mix:
2 pounds precooked Polish sausage, cut into ½-inch rounds
1 large yellow onion, cut into ½-inch slices
2 green bell peppers, cut into ½-inch slices
2 strips raw bacon, cut into 2-inch pieces
3 bay leaves
Mix all ingredients for BBQ sauce (from ketchup to cayenne) in a 6-quart slow cooker.
Add sausage, onions, peppers, bacon and bay leaves into slow cooker and mix until combined.
Cover and cook on low for 6 hours, or on high for 4 hours.
Remove bay leaves. Serve with toothpicks.
Pro tip: Use 3 cups of your favorite BBQ sauce and 2 tablespoons of grape jelly instead of making the sauce from scratch to save time and ingredients.
Note: All slow cookers are a little bit different in temperature and calibration. This recipe was tested in Cooktop Cove's Test Kitchen using this slow cooker, which is available for purchase here.
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