I've seen other recipes for these little indulgent treats, but they cook them in a crockpot and I prefer to bake ours. Baking them in the oven allows the bacon to crisp, the liquids to be released from the Smokies, and the brown sugar to caramelize on them deliciously. It also allows to you control the fat content of them a bit more easily, as most of the bacon drippings will remain on the sheet pan after cooking. We usually make them during the holidays, but they're good for all year 'round, of course. So easy to make!
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Open the packages of bacon and cut the whole slab into thirds across the bacon pieces. I usually cut them straight out of the refrigerator while they're cold, then allow them to warm a bit before wrapping the Smokies - the bacon is more pliable when not very cold, and makes it easier to work with awkwardly-shaped pieces.
- To make assembly even easier, line up pieces of bacon on your cutting board or a clean counter. Wrap each Lit'l Smokie in a 1/3-cut piece of bacon, then secure with a toothpick.
- Lay wrapped Smokies on a sheet pan. Tilting the toothpick downward makes lining them up a bit easier. (If you are making a double or triple batch with a Costco-sized 3-pound package of Smokies, continue wrapping until you run of room on your sheet pan, and then - just to make the overall assembly easier - can continue wrapping until you run out of the Smokies and simply put them in a bowl until you can lay them out on another sheet pan later or when your first one is out of the oven. If you run out of bacon before Smokies, you can cut some strips of bacon lengthwise to make additional slices so that you'll have enough.).
- Sprinkle about 1/4 teaspoon of brown sugar on each Smokie - I simply sprinkle by hand.
- Bake in preheated 350 degree F oven for 45 minutes.
- Using tongs, transfer the treats to a platter or plate, arrange attractively, put them out for your guests, and stand back before you get trampled in the crowd's rush to get at them. :).
- Note: I usually make triple batches of these at a time, using the 3-pound Smokies packages from Costco and three packages of bacon. Although best if served immediately, I bake them all up, then freeze them and thaw and reheat in the oven (or even the microwave) to serve. The bacon and brown sugar doesn't stay as crispy that way, but since most parties will have a varying number of attendees we find it's easier to make large batches during the holidays. Before reheating, you can sprinkle a bit more brown sugar over them to make up for any that fell off. ;).
- Optional: before putting the brown sugar over, you can also sprinkle the Smokies with a small amount of cinnamon sugar, for even more flavor!