This recipe is inspired by my husband’s classmate, who won first prize at the Big Bite Bacon Fest held at the Del Mar Country Fair in San Diego. His classmate is part of a Southern California competition grilling team, called Meat, Inc. He was nice enough to bring his winning dish to my hubby’s night class and my hubby was able to bring some home for us to sample. Unfortunately, he didn’t give my hubby the recipe and I had to improvise and make my own version of “Bacon Wrapped BBQ Meatballs”, which turned out pretty darn good, if I must say so myself.
I’ll be honest though, I’m not a fan of BBQ sauce or most things BBQ. I know…so un-American and I’ll often make the sacrifice and make dinners that I don’t really eat just to satisfy my BBQ sauce loving family. Can you see my glowing halo? LOL! But guess what? I can totally get down with these BBQ Bacon Wrapped Meatballs because they’re so good!
Anyway, the next day my hubby brings home thick cut bacon, ground beef, and store made pork sausage (we used Albertson’s store made ground pork sausage). I guess it was a BIG hint that he wanted me to recreate his classmate’s winning dish. Well, it’s a good thing it has bacon on it because I’ll totally get down with anything with bacon 🙂
Bacon Wrapped BBQ Meatballs
Shape the Meatballs
Since the ground pork sausage already had seasoning, I kept any added seasoning to a minimum. I just added ground beef, eggs, Italian bread crumbs, minced garlic, and onion powder into a large bowl with the pork and mixed everything together. To keep it quick and simple, I also used a store-bought BBQ sauce to coat the meatballs with.
- You can always use your own family favorite meatball recipe or premade store bought meatballs. *If using premade meatballs, adjust your cook time to ensure the meatballs are heated through and the bacon is cooked.*
- If your meatball recipe contains Parmesan cheese, you may want to omit it. The bacon and Parmesan cheese will make it too salty.
Roll out approximately 28 meatballs the size of golf balls (maybe a little smaller). Optional – make holes in the center of each one and place a pinch of shredded Mexican cheese blend or a small cube of cheese into each center.
Wrap with Bacon
Wrap each meatball with a half slice of bacon and place on a foil lined baking sheet with the seam side down. Bake at 350F for 20 minutes and drain the bacon fat out of the pan. Baste with BBQ sauce and return to the oven for 10 minutes. Check meatballs again and drain bacon fat again if needed. Baste for a second time with BBQ sauce and return to the oven for 5 minutes. Drain any remaining bacon fat.
- You can also buy bacon at the meat counter to get the exact amount of bacon needed. You’ll need approximately 14 pieces of thick cut bacon to wrap around the 28 meatballs.
- You can place the meatballs on a cookie cooling rack to keep them out of the bacon fat when cooking. I prefer a quick clean up and just place the meatballs directly on the foil.
- If you don’t care for too much BBQ sauce, you can always baste only once and serve BBQ sauce on the side.
- You can slightly vary the taste of the meatballs by using different types of BBQ sauce. I used Sweet Baby Ray’s Cola-Q BBQ sauce.
- Use thick cut bacon or the bacon will cook too fast and become too crispy.
- This bake time makes a crispy bacon outside. Adjust the bake time for a less crispy bacon by cutting the bake time by 5 minutes. Just make sure the internal meatball temperature is 160F.
Remove meatballs and serve. YUM!
So there is my version of a quick and easy Bacon Wrapped BBQ Meatballs. We ate our Bacon Wrapped BBQ Meatballs with rice and corn. What will you eat yours with?
- 1 lb. ground beef (I used 85/15)
- .75 - 1lb ground pork sausage
- 2 packages thick cut bacon
- 2 Large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups Italian bread crumbs
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1/2 T. onion powder (can use 1/4 cup finely chopped onions)
- 1/4 cup shredded mexican cheese mix (optional)
- 1 1/2 cups BBQ Sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray's Sweet Cola-Q Sauce)
- Place ground beef, pork sausage, eggs, bread crumbs, garlic, and onion powder into a bowl and thoroughly mix the ingredients together.
- Roll into approximately 28 golf-sized balls. Optional - Make a hole into the center of the ball and insert a pinch of cheese and pinch the ball shut. Shape back into a ball.
- Cut the bacon in half and wrap each meatball with a half slice of bacon.
- Place meatballs about an inch apart on a foil covered pan with the bacon seam down. Bake at 350F degrees for 20 minutes on the center rack. *You can also place the meatballs on a cookie rack in the pan. This will keep the meatballs out of the bacon grease.*
- At 20 minutes, take pan out and drain out bacon fat. Brush on BBQ sauce and place back into the oven for 10 minutes and brush on more BBQ sauce. Drain out pan again if needed. Brush on more BBQ sauce and place back into the oven for 5 minutes. *If you're not big on BBQ sauce, you can skip the third brushing of BBQ and serve BBQ sauce on the side*
- Drain any remaining bacon fat and serve.
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