Meatballs are convenient given they can be served with a multitude of other items on the table. For example, the sauce that accompanies meatballs can be anything from classic tomato sauce to a marinade or even barbecue sauce. In fact, today's recipe, we'll reveal, is a quick and painless way to make barbecue meatballs.

Choosing the ground meat

Choosing the right ground meat, or combination of ground meats, for the meatballs can seem tricky at first. Beef, pork, chicken, lamb, and turkey can be used individually or in combination with the recipe. However, each can also yield different results.

All you need to know is that the aim of good meatballs is a tender item that requires the meat to have fat combined with certain ingredients for the dough (more on those later). Since not all meats have enough fat, they must be combined with those that do to make up for it.

For my recipe, I chose ground beef and/or pork since they have a lot of fat in them. These two also have great flavor and you can even mix them for the meatballs if you like. Of course, you could use chicken turkey or lamb instead. But be careful not to overcook these lean meats as they will make the meatballs too tough.

Making quick, tender balls

For making quick meatballs, the traditional methods are out. This also applies to achieving tenderness.

Traditionally, cooks would chill the pre-shaped balls to help the meat dough reach the desired consistency before roasting. However, this isn't necessary as long as the mix contains a good binding agent. This can be achieved by combining milk with breadcrumbs. When combined, the soggy bread crumbs bind with the meat and moisten it, making it tender.

If you don't have bread crumbs, then panko should do. Throw in an egg for better results.

What about the BBQ

The Barbecue is where things get really easy as it doesn't require cooking. Just whisk the contents together and it's done. From there, just dip the meatballs into the BBQ and throw it into the oven to roast.

The recipe

Meatball Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef, pork or both
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup fine breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

BBQ Ingredients:

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black powder

The Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C. Place a sheet of parchment onto a flat table or baking sheet.
  2. Combine the ground meat, milk, bread crumbs/panko, egg, diced onion, minced garlic and spices in a bowl using clean hands or covered in gloves.
  3. Shape portions (2 tablespoons) of the meat dough into 1 1/2-inch balls and place them onto the parchment-covered surface.
  4. Combine the ketchup, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, and spices in a bowl using a whisk.
  5. Dip the meatballs into the barbecue one at a time, shaking them gently to remove excess. Place each meatball onto a 9 x 13-inch baking dish in rows apart from one another and roast for 25 minutes or brown on the outside and cooked through. If using lean meats, make sure to watch them while they roast. Remove and serve immediately.

Serves: 8