Monday, June 23, 2014

Cheesy BBQ Bacon Meatballs

Meatballs fresh from the oven
What caught your eye?  Cheesy? BBQ? Bacon? Meatballs?

Any one of these things could have grabbed me, but all of them together? Even if I hadn't written this, I'd HAVE to try them!

We had an excess of hamburger sitting around and were tired of burgers (we've had them on the grill several times lately and though I love them, sometimes you CAN have too much of a good thing) so I was trying to come up with something else to make. There's the obligatory meatloaf (which I love) but that's the "normal" fallback I use with idea...

My wife suggested meatballs. She's mostly a vegetarian and even when she ate meat she was never a beef fan so I figured if she'd at least think about trying them, I'd make some.

Meatballs are one of those things that we rarely had growing up in the Midwest - though I think it was mainly because my dad didn't care much for them. I've made them a couple of times but it's never been a real part of my repertoire - until now. Since my son LOVED them and my vegetarian, beef-hating wife even decided to try them and liked them I think it's a necessity that it become a staple around here.

I think that after trying them, you'll feel the same way!


  • 2 lbs ground beef (or use half beef, half pork; 1/3 beef, 1/3 pork, 1/3 veal - whatever you prefer)
  • 8 slices bacon, cooked crispy and broken into small pieces
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp dried ground rosemary
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1/4 cup milk (I use whole milk - you can use whatever kind you wish)
  • 1/2 cup Mac Brothers Warm & Smoky BBQ sauce (or whatever BBQ sauce you prefer)
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella cheese (grated or cut VERY small - you can also use cheddar or whatever type of cheese you prefer)
  • 4 slices day old bread cut into small pieces
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Pour olive oil in a skillet and add the onions over medium low heat. Cook until they are just starting to brown (about five or six minutes)
  3. Add garlic and ginger and cook until they start getting fragrant (you don't want the garlic to burn - about 30 seconds to one minute)
  4. Remove skillet from the stove and let cool.
  5. Place the beef into a mixing bowl, and add the other ingredients: bacon, garlic powder, oregano, rosemary, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, milk, BBQ sauce, cheese, bread, eggs, salt and pepper
  6. Mix well
    All ingredients, ready to be mixed
  7. When cool, add the onions, garlic and ginger and mix with everything else until evenly blended
    Mixed and ready to be made into meatballs
  8. Using your hands, form into 1 1/2-inch meatballs and place onto a baking sheet
    Ready to go in the oven
  9. Bake in the preheated oven until no longer pink in the center, 20 to 25 minutes

You can eat these as is, slice them up with a bit of BBQ sauce or do what we did and make meatball subs.  If you haven't made them before, it's VERY simple.  

  1. Slice open a grinder roll*, leaving it attached at the back
  2. Cut meatballs in half and arrange on the roll
  3. If you're feeling adventurous and have the time, saute some onions to put on the sliced meatballs
  4. Spoon plenty of your favorite marinara sauce over the meatballs
  5. Cover the meatballs with provolone cheese (or mozzarella or whatever you like)
    Grinder rolls stuffed with meatballs, sauce and cheese - ready for the oven!
  6. Put in a preheated 400 degree oven for about ten minutes or under the broiler for about two minutes
    Fresh and hot!
  7. Enjoy!!!

*If you can't find grinder rolls a hot dog bun will do, but really isn't big enough (for non-New Englanders, a grinder is the same thing as a hoagie or submarine sandwich, so in other words, it needs to be a big roll!).
Dinner is served!

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