As I told you a few weeks back, Porter Road sent over a huge box of meat for me to try out and of course, I didn't waste any time trying out a few things. One of the things that's been intriguing me the most is the 2 lb package of “Beef vs Bacon” and the ONLY reason I haven't done anything with it yet is because I've been trying to decide how to best use it.

It's a unique blend of dry aged beef and bacon from Berkshire and Duroc hogs all ground up together. What's not to get excited about!

This combination packed so much flavor that I did not have to season it as much as I would most other things.

One of the things I really like about Porter Road is that they dry age all of their beef for 14 days, but not in smaller pieces like most butchers would.. it's done whole carcass!

I've been so impressed with this company and with their products.

Sure, I've had plenty of other meat companies send me products in hopes that I would use it, like it and talk about it and often it's pretty good stuff but now the bar has been raised.

Well, the time has come, I have settled on meatballs, a crowd favorite, and you, my friends, are in for the treat of your life.

Buckle up!

Helpful Information
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour or less
  • Smoker Temp: 225°F
  • Meat Finish Temp: 160°F
  • Recommended Wood: Oak or cherry
What You'll Need

*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.

Please note that my rubs and barbecue sauce are now available in 2 formats– you can purchase the formulas and make them yourself OR you can buy them already made, in a bottle, ready to use.

Step 1: Make the Meatball Mixture

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, 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.

All done!

Step 2: Form the Meatballs

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.

Step 3: Set Up Your Smoker

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 pecan, cherry or maple smoke or a mixture of these if you have it.

Lastly, if your smoker utilizes a water pan, fill it up and use it.

Step 4: Smoke 'em

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!

Step 5: To Sauce or Not To Sauce

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.

Step 6: Serve

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 them 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.

Please note that my rubs and barbecue sauce are now available in 2 formats– you can purchase the formulas and make them yourself OR you can buy them already made, in a bottle, ready to use.

Purchase the Formulas for Jeff's Rub and Sauce
**Instant Download!**
Jeff's Original Rub Recipe
Jeff's Barbecue Sauce

***Note: you get the Texas style rub recipe free with your order!

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I recently purchased both recipes. The files did not come thru right but Jeff was prompt to get it fixed. I tried them both last weekend and they were a huge hit. I followed his burnt ends recipe to the letter and my neighbors thought I was some master chef! Thanks Jeff!  -Susan T.

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Love the sauce and rub recipes. So far I have used them on beef ribs, pork ribs, and different chicken parts. Can't wait to do a beef brisket. Texas rub is great as well!  -Peter S.

Love the original rib rub and sauce! We have an annual rib fest competition at the lake every 4th of July. I will say we have won a great percent of the time over the past 15 years so we are not novices by any means. However, we didn't win last year and had to step up our game! We used Jeff's rub and sauce (sauce on the side) and it was a landslide win for us this year! Thanks Jeff for the great recipes. I'm looking forward to trying the Texas style rub in the near future!  -Michelle M.

I tried the rub on a beef brisket and some beef ribs the other day and our entire family enjoyed it tremendously. I also made a batch of the barbeque sauce that we used on the brisket as well as some chicken. We all agreed it was the best sauce we have had in a while.  -Darwyn B.

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Printable Recipe

Porter Road Smoked Beef vs. Bacon Meatballs

In this recipe, we are making meatballs from a blend of beef and bacon made by Porter Road. Meatballs are a crowd favorite, and you, my friends, are in for the treat of your life.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Course: Appetizer, Entree
Cuisine: Barbecue, Hot Smoking

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs of Porter Road Beef vs. Bacon*
  • ½ cup bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • 2 TBS Worcestershire
  • ¼ cup grated onions
  • 1 TBS minced garlic
  • 3 TBS Jeff's Texas style rub
  • ¼ cup Jeff's original barbecue sauce
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley

Instructions

Step 1: Make the Meatball Mixture

  • Place the breadcrumbs into a separate bowl and pour the buttermilk over the top.
  • Add onions, Texas style rub, Worcestershire and chopped parsley.
  • Give it a good mix and then leave it sitting so the ingredients could get to know each other for about 10 minutes while you get the smoker ready.
  • Break the meat up into chunks and add that to a large bowl with the bread crumb mixture on top.
  • Blend that carefully with your hands making sure to only mix as much as absolutely necessary. Over-mixing is not good for meatballs and tends to make them tough.

Step 2: Form the Meatballs

  • 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.
  • Roll the mixture between your palms to form as many uniform meatballs as you need.

Step 3: Set Up Your Smoker

  • Setup your smoker for cooking at about 225 to 240°F using indirect heat.
  • I recommend pecan, cherry or maple smoke or a mixture of these if you have it.
  • Lastly, if your smoker utilizes a water pan, fill it up and use it.

Step 4: Smoke 'em

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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!

Step 5: To Sauce or Not To Sauce

  • If you want to glaze the meatballs with sauce, then read on. Otherwise skip to step 6
  • Pour a cup of my barbecue sauce into a bowl and mix in ½ cup of Worcestershire sauce.
  • Glaze the meatballs with this sauce mixture then let them finish cooking.

Step 6: Serve

  • 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.

Notes

*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.
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