Smoked meatballs are probably the best tasting meatballs you will every try! If you haven’t had the pleasure to tasting these juicy and tender meatballs, I urge you to try. These meatballs are made with ground beef and ground pork and finished with a delicious homemade BBQ sauce. The smoky flavor infused into them is just perfect and gives them an extra special touch.
For years, I thought that my absolute favorite meatballs were my Italian meatballs that I’ve been making for years. It all changed the second I took a bite of these smoked meatballs.
Smoked meatballs is a whole new experience with texture and flavor. The meatballs always come out very juicy and tender. The smoke flavor is just a perfect addition to the meat without overpowering it. As long as you use a milder wood, it will be a great flavor balance of meat and smoke.
For this recipe, I chose to pair the meatballs with a sweet and tangy bbq sauce because it’s a nice compliment for smoked flavors and goes with the barbecue spirit. You can choose to pair it with many other sauces though.
QUICK SMOKING NOTES
At what temperature should I smoke meatballs?
Stick to the magic 225°. If you’re using a charcoal or wood smoker, maintain the temperature no lower than 225° and no higher than 240°.
How long does it take to smoke meatballs?
For the meatballs that are about 1-inch in diameter, it will take about 1 1/2 hours. You would always check internal temperature of the meats when cooking and not rely on time alone.
When are meatballs done?
Ground beef should be cooked to 165° internal temperature. Always check the center of the biggest meatball when measuring internal temperature.
What wood to use to smoke meatballs?
Even though this is beef and pork meatballs, choose a milder wood like apple, pecan, or oak. Fruit woods also pair well with the bbq sauce.
How many meatballs per person?
On average, you can estimate four meatballs per person when serving 1-inch meatballs. The exact number will also depend on how many sides you will be serving with them and how filling are those sides.
HOW TO MAKE SMOKED MEATBALLS
Meatballs is a relatively quick smoking recipe so you want to start preparing the smoker first. While the smoker is heating up, mix and form the meatballs.
To make the meatballs, I like to use a cookie scoop to get an exact amount of meatball mixture every time. I use #40 or #30 scoop. (If you are scooping with a little dome to get extra mixture, make sure to do it to all the meatballs.)
To smoke meatballs, you will need some kind of a finer mesh grill grate or a flat grilling tray with small holes. There are special meatball baskets for grills as well if you would prefer but those generally have handles. You can also use a grill topper with a finer grate. I use a flat vegetable grill tray and it works perfectly.
Whatever you choose, make sure to grease it before placing the meatballs on it.
When the smoker is ready, place the meatballs on it and close the lid. Let them cook for about an hour (until they reach about 145° internal temperature).
While the meatballs are cooking, you can whisk together the ingredients for the sauce.
Take the meatballs off and close the lid. Transfer the meatballs onto a large, 12-inch skillet and pour the sauce over them. Give the pan a gently shake to coat the meatballs and place the skillet onto the smoker.
Cook them another 30-40 minutes. Meatballs should be at 165° internal temrpature when done.
WHAT SIDES TO SERVE WITH MEATBALLS
My go-to comforting side for meatballs is smoked mac and cheese. Bonus, you can smoke it right along side of the meatballs because it takes about the same time. Just make sure there is enough room. Mac and cheese also goes great with bbq sauce.
When you want something healthier, go with green beans, asparagus, or zucchini. You can grill the vegetables, smoke them, or quickly roast in the oven.
Roasted or grilled potatoes will be very good too, although mashed potatoes would not complement bbq sauce well.
If you made any of my recipes and shared them on Instagram, make sure to tag me @grillingsmokingliving and #grillingsmokingliving so I can see all the things you tried!
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- 1 lb ground beef 85/15
- 1 lb ground pork
- 1/2 cup finely diced onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup shredded Italian cheese mix (or shredded Mozzarella)
- cracked black pepper
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1/2 cup beef stock
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
- 2 tbsp molasses
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp bourbon
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tsp chipotle chili powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- To smoke meatballs, you will need some kind of a finer mesh grill grate or a flat grilling tray with small holes. There are special meatball baskets for grills as well if you would prefer. You can also use a grill topper with a finer grate. I use a flat vegetable grill tray and it works perfectly.
- Make sure to grease the grate or the metal tray you are using for the meatballs before placing meatballs on it.
- Whisk all the ingredients for the BBQ sauce in a small mixing bowl and set aside.
Prepare the smoker:
- Set up your smoker and get it to a steady 225°. Place a water pan either on the grate below or next to the meatballs, depending on your smoker and your smoker set-up. If you’re using a charcoal or wood smoker, maintain the temperature no lower than 225° and no higher than 240°.
- Combine all ingredients for the meatballs in a mixing bowl and mix everything very well, until completely combined.
- Form meatballs that are about 1 inch in diameter and place them on the prepared tray. I recommend using a cookie scoop to get evenly sized meatballs.
- When the smoker is up to temp, place the meatballs on the grate and close the lid immediately. Smoke meatballs for about an hour (until they reach 145° internal temperature). Note: larger meatballs may take a little longer to smoke.
- Take the meatballs off the smoker and make sure to close the lid back right away so the smoker keeps the temperature.
- Transfer the meatballs onto a 12-inch skillet and pour BBQ sauce mixture all over the meatballs. Give the pan a gently shake to mix the meatballs and sauce.
- Place the skillet with the meatballs back on the smoker and cook for another 30-40 minutes. (Internal temperature of cooked meatballs should be 165°.)
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