Canned Vienna Sausages Are All You Need For Sophisticated Cocktail Franks

Cocktail sausages on a plate
Cocktail sausages on a plate - aleksandr talancev/Shutterstock

Cocktail franks, sometimes also called cocktail sausages or cocktail weiners, aren't a specific type of sausage. Rather, they are smaller, bite-sized versions of full-size frankfurters. Their size makes them great for appetizers, which are typically just one or two bites. Conversely, little smokies, a smoked version of a cocktail frank, are half their size. Cocktail franks are often considered the ultimate hassle-free party food: Typically, the preparation consists of just opening a can, heating the sausages, and serving.

That presentation can lack a certain sophistication, however. If you are interested in serving a frankfurter as an appetizer but want it to be more enticing than little boiled hot dogs piled on a plate, consider using Vienna sausages. Canned Vienna sausages look relatively similar to frankfurters. However, Vienna sausages tend to be softer in texture and mouthfeel and are sliced, giving them an open-ended appearance. Although the look of Vienna sausages might remind you of little smokies, Vienna sausages typically have a garlicky, more seasoned flavor profile. They're also typically more juicy and soft.

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Serving Suggestions For Vienna Sausages

Glazed Vienna sausages on a plate
Glazed Vienna sausages on a plate - jultud/Shutterstock

Although Vienna sausages are precooked and can be eaten straight out of the can, we recommend heating them first. Whether by way of grilling, frying, baking, or microwaving, heating further reduces any risk of bacteria or food-borne illness. Plus, cooked food typically just tastes better.

You can simply heat and serve Vienna sausages, but simmering them in a sauce can impart depth of flavor and color to the little frankfurters which can be bland on their own. Consider making a glaze out of just a can of cooked-down dark cola, which is a great way to give them sticky, sweet flavors and a dark, shiny color. Glazing the Vienna sausages in a spicy-sweet Korean sauce will give them a spicy kick as well as color and flavor. Pro tip: Scoring each end of the Vienna sausages with a small paring knife and frying them before glazing will give them cute, curly tips, and a satisfying pop when you bite through the casings.

Making perfect pigs in a blanket is as simple as wrapping Vienna sausages in pillowy puff pastry. The pastry is flaky, the sausage is juicy, and a sprinkle of sesame seeds on top provides a delightful crunch. Served with Dijon mustard or even ketchup for dipping, they are a savory mini-meal in a single bite. Vienna sausages marinated in a Japanese soy sauce known as shoyu is a popular dish in Hawaii, perfect if you like deep umami flavors and tangy vinegar.

Flavor Options And Storage Tips

Can of mini frank sausages
Can of mini frank sausages - Tuned_in/Getty Images

There is a wide selection of canned Vienna sausages available for purchase at grocery stores or online, from inexpensive store brands to internationally known labels at the higher end of the price spectrum. Commercial Vienna sausages are also available in many flavors beyond the original, including barbecue, hot and spicy, jalapeno, and smoked.

Since they are precooked and canned, they have an incredibly long shelf life, up to five years, as long as the cans are unopened. Once the can has been opened, any extra Vienna sausages need to be put into glass or plastic containers and stored in the refrigerator; plan on using them within a week. Vienna sausages can also be frozen; they can last about a month in the freezer without affecting the taste or texture.

The next time you want an easy-to-make appetizer you can quickly put together, but want to serve something more sophisticated than a plain mini hot dog, consider reaching for canned Vienna sausages. Juicy, soft, and available in various flavors, they've got plenty to offer.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.