This Crock Pot Kielbasa and BBQ Baked Beans Slow Cooker Recipe is easy and delicious, an extremely flavorful dish the whole family will love – sweet, smokey and a touch of spice.
Ok. So I’m a little late to the slow cooker game, but better late than never, right?
I had actually purchased a small 3 quart cheapie crockpot many years ago and had it tucked away in the dark recesses of our kitchen cabinets for years. In its original box. Unopened.
We recently needed to reheat a frozen pork butt from last year’s Washington State Fair, so I dusted it off, threw in a bottle of beer and some chicken broth and let the appliance work it’s magic.
(And by dusted it off, I mean thawed safely in the fridge overnight….never put frozen raw meat in a slow cooker!!)
This simple recipe ignited a flame, ya’ll. Before I knew it, I was looking up slow cooker recipes online to use up the other odds and ends we’ve been hoarding in our freezer.
So next up in our freezer un-hoarding project was 2.6 pounds of authentic smoked Polish kielbasa (aka Polish sausage) I had picked up on my last visit to Buffalo. Folks, that was almost 2 years ago, so I’d say it’s time to cook it up.
What kind of slow cooker did you use to make this crock pot kielbasa recipe?
The slow cooker kielbasa recipes I had my eye on, clearly required a bigger contraption so I immediately ordered the Crock-Pot 7-Qt. Cook n’ Carry Programmable Countdown Slow Cooker and continued to drool over what to make next.
I chose this model because it has a digital timer which will switch to “keep warm” when done giving me a little more freedom to leave the house, if needed.
But who am I kidding, where am I going to go?
How long do you cook kielbasa in a crock pot?
Although this recipe is my first using this slow cooker, I can already tell that it cooks faster than most – so keep that in mind when making this in your slow cooker.
All slow cookers have their own pace. You know yours best, so adjust times accordingly if needed!
Luckily for this recipe, everything is already pre-cooked so there is no danger of under cooking. You’re basically using the crock pot to warm everything up and meld all the flavors together.
If you’re not sure if your slow cooker runs hot or not, I’d suggest just starting with the times listed in your manual and you can always turn it up to high at the end, if needed.
Can I cook raw kielbasa in a crock pot?
Absolutely. But I chose not to, and here’s why.
Although many of the kielbasa crockpot recipes I found say to simply cut up use the kielbasa bites as is, I was afraid they might turn out sort of, blah.
So I went ahead and pre-cooked the smoked kielbasa in my beloved Phillips Air Fryer because I just love the way it tastes when it gets caramelized on the outside – taking on it’s awesome sweet and smokey flavor. I really wanted to get a nice crisp on the kielbasa.
NOTE: Due to the amount of sausage I had to cook and the size of my basket, I did this in 2 batches – 12 minutes each at 390 degrees.
If you haven’t used or don’t have an air fryer yet (talk about being late to the game!), I highly recommend it. I cook EVERYTHING in it.
It’s fantastic for anything frozen and takes just a fraction of the time to cook. For instance, frozen chicken nuggets come out perfectly cooked in about 10 minutes.
Strangely enough, it’s also the closest thing to grilling steaks on the BBQ! I can make a perfectly seared rare New York steak in just 7 minutes (try 9 minutes for medium rare).
Basically, anything you can cook in the oven, can go in the air fryer. It’s so convenient.
It’s totally up to you what you want to do, but if you go the un-fried route, I’d be interested in hearing if I was right or not as I’ll likely never try it this way.
But I digress. Back to my new slow cooker. This is definitely one of those recipes that looks better going into the pot than coming out, but I promise you it is absolutely delicious.
Why are there so many ingredients in this recipe?
Yes, there are a lot of ingredients, but don’t let that deter you from making this. It’s still a very simple recipe to make and you will thank me that you didn’t take that terrible shortcut you’ve seen in some other recipes.
What shortcut? You know, where you just throw smoked sausage and BBQ sauce into the slow cooker for an hour or so on game day? Ew. Just skip that slow cooker sausage recipe.
The reason for the long list of ingredients is that you’re basically making the BBQ sauce from scratch. This will take a million times better than anything store bought, believe me!
This was taste tasted by both my 11 year old son and my finicky 45 year old husband. Both scarfed their bowls down and asked for more.
What do I do with the leftovers?
This recipe makes enough to feed a sports team so it’s perfect for a potluck or even to freeze and reheat later. You can store leftovers in and airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. This freezes really well and is best eaten within about a month, if frozen.
For quick and easy weeknight meals, freeze this in individual sized bags or containers so you can quickly reheat on the stove or in the microwave.
*Note that the sauce will thicken in the fridge or freezer, so just add some water when reheating so you don’t end up with bean paste goo.
Crockpot Slow Cooker Smoked Kielbasa BBQ Baked Beans
COMBINE THESE FIRST
8 oz chicken broth or beer
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp smoked tabasco
½ cup barbecue sauce
¾ cup ketchup
2 tbsp steak sauce
1 tbsp mustard
1 tbsp sriracha sauce
¼ cup molasses
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tbsp butter, softened or melted
1 red onion, large, diced
1 lb bacon, cooked, chopped (I use smoked + thick cut)
2 15 oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 15 oz red or kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz can white beans, drained and rinsed
2.6 lbs Kielbasa, sliced into 1-2 inch pieces, Philips Air Fryer (or pan seared) 2 batches, 12 minutes each
Add the first set of ingredients to a large 6 or 7 quart slow cooker and mix thoroughly.
Add onion and bacon and stir.
Add all cans of beans and then stir very gently until mixed through so that you don’t mush up the canned beans too badly.
Once everything is mixed, layer the kielbasa on top.
Cover with lid and cook on low for 2-3 hours or high for about 1 hour. The juices from the kielbasa will run down into the bean mixture below. Delicious!
Again, timing depends on your slow cooker. Remember, everything is already pre-cooked so there is no danger of undercooking this dish so I’d recommend setting for the low end of the time range and then checking periodically til it reaches your desired doneness. Then make a note for the next time you make this (oh, yes you will!).
Gently stir in the kielbasa before serving.
This is hearty enough to be eaten as a main dish!Print