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Cowboy Meatballs

Author: Jennifer Locklin


  • Meatballs:
  • 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

  • Sauce:
  • 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.
  • Sauce:
  • 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.