| | | |

Smoked Beef and Bacon Meatballs

porter road meatballs 2 1440x900 scaled

Smoked meatballs are easy to eat, taste great and will be the first thing you run out of at parties. They are just that good and when they are made from beef AND bacon, well, that’s a smoked meatball I can REALLY get behind!

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.

And I know what you’re thinking.. yes, you can do this yourself with some 80/20 ground beef and bacon you grind yourself in the food processor. I am told it’s approximately a 50/50 mix of each.

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.

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:

IMG 2730 2000x1500

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.

IMG 2731 2000x1500

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.

IMG 2734 2000x1500

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!

IMG 2735 2000x1500

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. (smoked meatballs, here we come)

IMG 2739 2000x1500

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 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.

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 the Smoked Meatballs

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😀

IMG 2750 2000x1500 1

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.

IMG 2772 2000x1500

Add a little chopped parsley on top for garnish.

IMG 2809 2000x1500

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.


Printable Recipe

Print

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 Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Category: Appetizer, Entree
  • Cuisine: Barbecue, Hot Smoking

Ingredients

Units Scale

Instructions

Step 1: Make the Meatball Mixture

  1. Place the breadcrumbs into a separate bowl and pour the buttermilk over the top.
  2. Add onions, Texas style rub, Worcestershire and chopped parsley.
  3. 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.
  4. Break the meat up into chunks and add that to a large bowl with the bread crumb mixture on top.
  5. 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

  1. 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.
  2. Roll the mixture between your palms to form as many uniform meatballs as you need.

Step 3: Set Up Your Smoker

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

Step 4: Smoke ’em

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Use a handheld thermometer that reads fast for best results.
  4. 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

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

Step 6: Serve

  1. When the meatballs reach 160°F they are finished and should be removed from the heat and served immediately.
  2. 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.

Did you make this recipe?

Share a photo and tag us — we can't wait to see what you've made!

Order Jeff’s Rubs and Barbecue Sauce TODAY!

✅ My rubs and sauce will be the best thing you’ve ever tasted and it’s a great way to support what we do!

Note: You can also order the formulas for my rubs and sauce and make these yourself at home. Grab those HERE and download immediately.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe rating

10 Comments

  1. Jeff,
    Love your site and recipes…bot the formula for each…
    I am contacting my local butcher shop (very high quality people/product)..Going to arrange them to grind me some batches…Is the blend 50/50 for beef to bacon?…seems like a lot of bacon…Am thinking ..ribeye and other quality beef and forgo additional fat (80/20 grind)..
    Thx for your efforts…I am a fan

    1. Yes this is a 50/50 mix of lean ground beef and pork belly bacon but since you’re having it made yourself you could definitely customize it to a different ratio and see how you like it.

  2. I have made these Meatballs a few times. Love em. If I may suggest using a ice cream scooper to size them. They always come out the same and its fast as well. Thx!

  3. The instruction do not say when to add the garlic and the egg, so I forgot to add the egg which is why my meatballs were falling apart.

  4. Hey Jeff,

    Love your recipes and first time posting. Made these yesterday for a Friendsgiving and the flavor was great. Had a couple issues with them falling apart and one question.

    Does the 1/4 cup of sauce go into the meat mixture?

    1. The barbecue sauce is optional for brushing on after they are finished. I am wondering if you soaked the bread crumbs with the buttermilk before adding it to the mixture?

      Meatloaf, meatballs, etc. is always a balancing act of dry ingredients to wet ingredients and then the eggs are the binder, along with the bread that sort of hold it all together.. even small changes can make a difference.

    1. Scooter, the process by which buttermilk is made (churned if it’s the real stuff) means the fat goes to the butter and the buttermilk is naturally low in fat. To have anything other than low-fat buttermilk, you’d have to add fat to it from somewhere. I assume that you are not accustomed to purchasing or using buttermilk in other recipes?