Over the weekend I broke out the Little Slow Cooker That Could to brew myself up some phenomenally good Italian Barbeque Meatballs, and I learned a valuable lesson. Sticking around all afternoon while the aroma of phenomenally good Italian Barbeque Meatballs slowly creeps its way through your apartment in an invisible flavor fog is utter self-torture. From now on, slow cooking is relegated to Mondays through Fridays only while I’m at the office.
Damn good meatballs though, even if the sauce recipe seems a little excessive. I’m not complaining because it was delicious, but I’m wondering if I can get the same flavor punch with less ingredients. Any thoughts?
The potatoes were a last-minute addition. I discovered I had one russet in my cabinet, so I diced it up, coated it with olive oil and a little dry onion soup mix and baked covered at 350 for about 45 minutes. The tanginess provided a nice contrast to the hickory sweetness of the meatballs, and it wasn’t long before MG and I had everything on our plates mixed together in two giantic savory smokey food mountains.
And of course, you can’t serve a meal like this without a healthy slice of fresh French bread to cover the soppin’ duties at the end. Barbecue-flavored butter! There’s nothing better.
Zesty Italian Barbecue Meatballs
- 2 pounds ground turkey, lamb or lean ground beef
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 cup dried bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 1/2 cups barbecue sauce
- 3/4 tomato paste
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
In a mixing bowl, combine the meatball ingredients. Form into walnut-sized balls.
Bake the meatballs in a shallow baking dish at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes or until browned. Drain off any fat. Transfer the meatballs to your slow cooker.
In a separate mixing bowl, combine the sauce ingredients and mix thoroughly. Pour the sauce over the meatballs and stir lightly.
Cover and cook on Low for 4 hours (or on High for 2 hours). Stir once in the middle of cooking to baste the meatballs with sauce. Remove the meatballs from the sauce and serve.