Try these delicious ground pork smoked meatballs with bacon the next time you want a flavor-packed easy meal. Prep time is low, cook time is just over an hour and the depth of flavor is amazing.
When most people think of smoking, we tend to imagine a large piece of meat, sitting on the smoker for hours. Sometimes we want that flavor, but not all the work or time that it takes to produce that wonderful flavor.
Enter, the smoked meatball.
If you are familiar with smoking and bbq, you know that the smokey bark of the meat is key to retaining the flavor. That only happens on the outside, the surface of the meat. With these golf ball-sized meatballs, the surface area to the meat inside ratio is very high. That means each bite will have more bark, more smoke flavor than you can typically get with some pulled pork or a piece of brisket.
Ingredients for Smoked Meatballs
Ground Meat - I like the flavor from 100% pork. You can use whatever ground meat you have. If you are going with something leaner, like ground venison, or even ground chicken, it is best to add some fat to the mix, so the meatballs don't get too dry.
Garlic - I love to use fresh garlic cloves when I can. In a pinch you could also substiture garlic powder.
Onion - Onion is a classic bbq flavor. It works so well with several different sauces and seasoning. Try using smoked onions if you want to kick up the smoky flavor.
Bacon - We will wrap the meatballs in a piece of bacon for added flavor. Who doesn't love bacon?
Salt - A good rule of thumbs is about a 1-1.5 teaspoon of salt per pound of meat.
BBQ Sauce - Your favorite store bought or homemade sauce is the perfect addition to this flavor full dish.
How to Make Smoked Meatballs
Step One: Put your ground pork in a large mix bowl and season it well with salt and freshly ground pepper. Then roll them into meatballs. I like to do small 1.5 to 2 inch sized meatballs to get a nice smokey flavor. I will put them on a skewer for easy handling. One and a half pounds of meat will make about 16 meatballs of that size. But you can do any size you want depending on how you are planning on serving. I served these like little kabobs of yumminess.
Step Two: Preheat your smoker. If you want to get a little grill line action, preheat to at least 250degrees F for 20 minutes before putting your meatball skewers in the smoker. Maintain a temperature of 250°F and smoke for about 75 minutes. Monitoring the internal temp is key to perfectly smoked meatballs. They are done when the internal temperature reaches 150°F.
Expert Tip: For this smoke, I used a mix of wood. I used hickory, apple, and oak wood chip blend. Feel free to use your favorite wood or cook on your Traeger grill.
Step Three: Remove from smoker, let rest for 5 minutes before serving. If you are looking for easy serving, leave them on the skewer. If you want to kick up the presentation you can plate on the skewers or remove them from the skewer and add them to your presentation. Hit them with a sauce or some fresh herbs and watch your guests become all smiles as they bite into your smoked meatballs.
BBQ Sauce: I served these with a sweet bbq sauce and left them on the skewer. You can use your favorite sauce recipe and toss these in it.
Asian: Follow the ingredients listed in our Asian Pork Meatballs but then smoke them as directed right here.
What Type of Meat Should I Use?
I decided to make 100% pork meatballs. You could do a beef pork combo meat mixture. The goal of adding the pieces of bacon was not only flavor-related but also to aff a little more fat and basting to keep it all moist for the 75 minutes of smoke. You can also try ground beef and Italian sausage meatballs or smoked turkey meatballs as well. But whatever other meatball ideas you have, cook them on the smoker to add a new flavor to your meatballs recipe.
If you want to try something unique this Smoked Elk Meatballs recipe is just that!
So Why Smoke Meatballs?
I already mentioned the flavor but that wasn't my first thought. I thought it would be great and add flavor, but the big reason this summer is the heat. We have already had a pretty hot summer and trying to find ways to avoid cooking on the stove or in the oven helps keep the utility bill down and the house cool. I might first think about cooking these meatballs in the cast iron pan on the grill, but I don't feel like standing over the hot grill turning meatballs. The smoker provides that great alternative that we all appreciate in warmer weather. The coolest part of using the smoker is that I start to find new flavor combinations that I otherwise would not have found.
- Preheat the smoker to 250.
- Combine the ground pork, garlic, onion, and salt.
- Form 16 meatballs. Space them on the wooden skewers, alternating meatballs and bacon.
- Place in the smoker and cook for 1 hour 15 min.
- Serve with barbecue sauce.
More Great Smoker Recipes: