Bacon Wrapped Meatballs have been around for at least 40 years and possibly longer than that but were named “MOINK balls” and made popular in 2008 by a man named Larry Gaian. The “MOINK” name is quite significant in that they are made from beef meatballs and half slices of thin pork bacon. Together you have moo + oink or moink balls.
If you have tried them, then you know they are simply delicious and if you haven't, well, then you are in for a wonderful surprise.
My original rub gives these moink balls the perfect color, the perfect complimentary seasoning and you'll see exactly what I mean when you make up a batch or two of these and watch them start disappearing like magic!
I promise you’ll love my dry rub/seasoning recipes and my barbecue sauce recipe or you don’t pay!
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The meatballs used in true MOINK balls are frozen and purchased from the grocery store in the freezer section. The ones I used were from a local store that I frequent but freshly made and not frozen. You can, of course, make these yourself if you like and go from there.
Mine were Italian style meatballs with half of them being labeled as “hot” and they had a pretty good kick to them.
If the meatballs are frozen, you can place them in the fridge for a few hours or longer to let them thaw.
Anytime you are wrapping something with bacon, the idea is to hopefully get it crisp. The best way to ensure this happens it to purchase the thinnest bacon you can find. I can't find bacon labeled as “thin cut” locally but if you count strips per pound, it gives you a pretty good idea of which ones are the thinnest.
I look for 1 lb packages that have at least 13 strips or more. the more the better.
The bacon will be cut in half so 13 strips will make 26 moink balls. 14 strips will make 28.. you get the point.
Tip: Bacon cuts much easier when it is cold. For best results, remove the bacon from the fridge and cut the entire package of bacon in half rather than removing it from the package first.
This is something I usually do by holding the meatball in my left hand and wrapping the bacon around with my right hand. For the sake of taking pictures, I laid the bacon on the cutting board.
½ strip is perfect for most meatballs with enough to overlap and poke a toothpick through. You don't have to use toothpicks but it does ensure that the bacon will remain intact.
I've had moink balls with rub and without rub and.. just take my word for it and use your favorite low-salt barbecue rub.. they are so much better that way.
My original rub (purchase recipes here) works perfectly because it is low on salt, does not overpower the flavor of the other components and is the best tasting barbecue rub that ever was and ever shall be =)
Set up your smoker for cooking at 225-240°F (higher is better with these) with indirect heat using hickory and/or pecan if you have it. If not, most any good smoking wood will work just fine.
If your smoker uses a water pan, fill it up.
About the Smoker That I Used
Pellet smoking is an ALL WOOD method of smoking.. like a big stick burner, the heat comes from burning real wood and the smoke is just something that naturally happens when you burn wood. There is nothing more “real” than using real wood to cook and smoke your food.
Among pellet grills, the Camp Chef Woodwind has really caught my attention due to how well it works and all of the great features that it has.. many that are unfortunately not found on the other brands and models:
If you really want to know how I feel about the Woodwind pellet grill.. if my worst nightmare came true and I had to get rid of all of my smokers (I have a lot of them) and only keep one, I am fairly certain I would choose to keep the Woodwind due to it's versatility.
Back to Setting Up the Smoker..
Once the smoker is preheated and ready to go, it's time to smoke!
By the way, I have an entire arsenal of smokers that I use and recommend. If you want to see all of my recommended smokers, thermometers, temperature controllers, etc., check them out HERE.
Set the rack of moink balls on the smoker grate and let the smoking commence for about 2 hours or until the center of the meatballs reach 160°F and the bacon firms up.
When the moink balls are finished cooking and just before removing them from the smoker grate, I recommend you glaze them with my barbecue sauce (purchase recipes here) or perhaps some melted down hot pepper jelly which makes a mean glaze for almost anything.
I like for the barbecue sauce to be a little on the thinner side so I mixed about ¼ cup of beer into ½ cup of my original barbecue sauce (purchase recipes here) and stirred it real good to combine. You can make it more or less thin if you like by changing up the amount of beer that you add.
And, of course, you can use almost anything to thin the barbecue sauce including, but certainly not limited to, water, juice, maple syrup, wine, melted butter, etc..
If you want to use the hot pepper jelly, put several heaping TBS of jelly in a microwave safe bowl and give it a whirl or two in the microwave or until the jelly gets liquid enough to brush onto the meatballs. You can also do this on the stovetop over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
Let the moink balls remain on the smoker grate for about 10 minutes to set the glaze before removing them.
I hope you made plenty 'cause these are gonna go fast!
Serve 'em up!
***Note: you get the Texas style rub recipe free with your order!
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Bacon Wrapped Meatballs have been around for at least 40 years and possibly longer than that but were named “MOINK balls” and made widely popular in or around 2008 by a man named Larry Gaian. The name is quite significant in that they are made from beef meatballs and half slices of thin pork bacon. Together you have moo + oink or moink balls. If you have tried them, then you know they are simply delicious and if you haven't, well, then you are in for a wonderful surprise.