*I'm sure you could mix 80/20 ground beef together with some really high quality bacon and come up with something that would work if you wanted to but Porter Road has worked hard to come up with this unique blend of really high quality dry aged beef and Berkshire/Duroc bacon and I really recommend giving theirs a try.
First things first.. lay out all of the ingredients you'll need and we're not talking a lot of stuff. I wanted the bacon and beef to really come through so I kept these simple. No cheese, jalapenos, etc. or anything that I thought would mask the great flavor of this dry aged beef and Berkshire/Duroc bacon so carefully blended together.
Here's what I went with:
I like to soak the breadcrumbs first so I poured them into a separate bowl and the buttermilk over the top. A good stir was all that was required.
I then added the onions, minced garlic, egg, Texas style rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub), Worcestershire and about half of the chopped parsley.
Save a little of the parsley for garnish.
I gave it a good mix and then I left it sitting so the ingredients could get to know each other for about 10 minutes while I got the smoker ready.
To combine the bread crumb mixture into the meat more evenly, I broke the meat up into chunks and added that to a large bowl with the bread crumb mixture on top.
I proceeded to blend that carefully with my hands making sure to only mix as much as I absolutely had to. Over-mixing is not good for meatballs and tends to make them tough.
To make the meatballs more uniform in size, you can either weigh them or just use a scoop so you get the same amount of mixture for each one.
I opted to use a scale and each one of my meatballs was .8 ounces
Once I weighed the mixture, I rolled them between my palms to form a ball.
44 meatballs later, the mixture was gone. (smoked meatballs, here we come)
Use whatever smoker you have available or you can use the gas grill for these by only turning on the burners on one side and placing the meatballs on the opposite side away from the heat.
Likewise, to use a charcoal grill simply pile the hot charcoal on one side of the grill and place the meatballs on the opposite side away from the heat.
You want to try and maintain about 225 to 240°F if possible regardless of what you cook them with.
I recommend oak or cherry or a mixture of these if you have it.
Lastly, if your smoker utilizes a water pan, fill it up and use it.
Once the smoker is preheated and ready to go, place the meatballs on the grate or you can leave them on the pan if you are using something like a Bradley rack or a Weber grill pan like I do. These types of pans allow the smoke to come up through it and the grease from the meatballs to drain away.
Keep a close eye on these meatballs since they'll most likely be done in an hour or less depending on the size that you make them and the temperature that you run in your smoker.
Use a handheld thermometer that reads fast for best results. I use the Thermapen Mk4 for most things like this as it reads in 2-3 seconds.
The meatballs are done when they reach an internal temperature of 160°F however, when they reach about 150°F, you have a decision to make– keep reading!
Everyone has their own personal preference on whether to add sauce on the smoker or grill or just serve everything dry and let each person add their own sauce.
For most things, I don't sauce on the smoker but meatballs sort of had me wondering if I should or shouldn't.
First off.. I did not want a sauce but more of a glaze. For that reason, I poured a cup of my barbecue sauce (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled sauce) into a bowl and mixed in ½ cup of Worcestershire sauce. This made it really thin so it would work great as a glaze without gooping up all over the meat.
Here's what I did😀
Half of them got sauce, half did not. I wanted to be able to try them both ways.
When the meatballs reach 160°F they are finished and should be removed from the heat and served immediately.
Add a little chopped parsley on top for garnish.
Everyone including myself liked the smoked meatballs glazed with sauce when eating them as an appetizer. We also tried a few of them with some pasta and those were best un-sauced.
Be sure and try some both ways and let me know which you prefer.