Today I was making an appetizer party menu and wanted to have some traditional appetizers to go along with more adventurous ones, like my Kettle Chips with Blue Cheese or Mexican Seafood Cocktail. So I decided on cocktail meatballs, you know, the ones with grape jelly? But I wanted it to be a little different, so I thought, bacon and barbecue sauce would make them unique. I added breakfast sausage and finely chopped bacon to the standard ground beef mixture for the meatballs, and I replaced the chili sauce with barbecue sauce. All-in-all, they were a huge hit with my family of taste testers!
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 1 pound breakfast sausage
- 1 pound bacon finely diced
- 1 sleeve saltine crackers finely crushed
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup BBQ Sauce used: Sweet Baby Rays
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 4 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons olive oil for stovetop method only
- 1 10-ounce jar grape jelly (used: Welch’s)
- 2 cups BBQ sauce used: Sweet Baby Rays
- 1 tablespoon Sriracha Hot Sauce optional
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, sausage, bacon, crushed saltines, milk, bbq sauce, salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes and eggs. Mix together well with your hands.
- Scoop out 1-tablespoon portions of meat mixture and roll them into balls with your hands.
- Place the meatballs onto parchment-lined baking sheets and put the baking sheets in the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes for the meatballs to firm up.
- Oven Method:
- Bake in oven on the center rack for about 25 to 30 minutes, turning once halfway through.
- Stovetop Method:
- Heat the olive oil in a heavy pot or large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add meatballs in batches, making sure not to overcrowd the pan.
- Cook, turning the meatballs occasionally to make sure they brown all over, 5 to 7 minutes per batch.
- Drain on paper towels.
- Place browned meatballs into crock of a slow cooker.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together sauce ingredients until well blended.
- Cover and heat on high in microwave for 2 minutes. Remove and whisk. Continue heating until mixture is warm.
- Pour over meatballs in slow cooker.
- Set slow cooker to low and cook for 1-2 hours gently stirring occasionally.
- Switch cooker off or to “keep warm” setting.
- Serve warm as an appetizer or as a main dish with steamed rice.