Slow Cooker Cocktail Meatballs are delightful. I have to admit to loving meatballs. Not the yucky kind that are pre-made and taste like dirt! No, good, homemade meatballs with tasty ingredients. Of course, it helps if they are smothered in a delicious sauce too, or served with spaghetti. Give me more meatballs! Turkey, chicken or beef (even venison)–just give me meatballs! 🙂
We had a houseful of people over to our house last Sunday after church. We had a special speaker that day so we invited his family and several other families from our church over for a casual finger food luncheon afterwards. I served some of my favorite things, 🙂 Easy Turkey and Cheese Tortilla Roll Ups, Veggie Tortilla Roll Ups, Chunky Blond Brownies, Blarney Stones and several other appetizers I’ve yet to post up including this one.
I first tried this recipe at a class Sunday school party about six or seven years ago. The gal who made it told me all she used was grape jelly, ketchup and frozen meatballs. It was so delicious I had her email me the recipe. I decided to make up my own meatballs so they would be fresh and not frozen or filled with junk. I went ahead and made up the meatballs and sauce a day before I needed it. I though, ok, I’m good this is great, I’ll have everything done in advance.
Hmmmmmm….I tasted the sauce and it was not like what I remembered. Perhaps because Dorthea used a cheap ketchup it wasn’t as overpowering. Or maybe because she cooked her meatballs in the sauce all day long and some of those flavors permeated the sauce better. Whatever, this one was way too ketchupy for my taste. I didn’t like it. I pondered over what I was going to do for several hours.
Finally, after checking on Pinterest to see similar recipes I found it was made only two ways and never with ketchup. It was grape jelly with Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce or grape jelly with chili sauce. So I asked my husband to run to the store for me and get Sweet Baby Rays and another jar of grape jelly and decided to start over. I poured out the old sauce and started fresh with the new ingredients on the day of the party. Thankfully, when I got home from church and tasted the sauce, it was wonderful.
I hope this will encourage those of you who try new recipes and they don’t always turned out like you hoped they would. Sometimes a little tinkering is all they need to be perfect for your family and friends.
So if you’re looking for a tasty cocktail meatball recipe this is a good one. If you do use frozen meatballs, you’d better be careful to get a lean meat, otherwise a lot of grease will be added to the sauce. I used a 93 or 96% lean beef, and because I baked them there wasn’t much grease when I added them to the crockpot. You can also add these to the crockpot if you start first thing in the morning and not bother pre-baking the meatballs. Just make sure you use lean beef unless you want a greasy sauce!
Slow Cooker Cocktail Meatballs made with Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce are amazing.
Everyone, even the kids, loved these meatballs.
Slow Cooker Cocktail Meatballs are incredibly easy. You can make these even easier if you use frozen meatballs. Put everything in the crockpot before you go to work and when you come home they’re ready to eat!
Here’s what I did.
To make meatballs: Place lean 93% or 96% ground beef or sirloin in a mixing bowl. Add seasoned bread crumbs, an egg, salt, pepper, basil and oregano.
Mix ingredients with your hands and fingers until thoroughly mixed.
Roll meatball mixture into balls and place on cookie sheets that have been sprayed with cooking spray.
Bake at 350 for about 20-30 minutes or until meatballs are browned. (Or you can add the meatballs to the sauce if you plan to cook it all day in the crockpot).
The sauce has only these two ingredients.
Place BBQ sauce and grape jelly in crockpot. Stir well to combine.
Add cooked meatballs and cook a few hours on high until ingredients are hot. Or you can add raw meatballs and cook the whole thing in the crockpot about 8-10 hours on low until hot. Stir well before serving.
Once sauce is heated thoroughly and meatballs are cooked, you can serve straight from the crockpot. I used tongs to hold a meatball in one hand, and placed a toothpick in the other, so everyone could pick them up more easily.
This is also a great main dish meal if you want to serve the meatballs over cooked rice.
Here’s the recipe.
SLOW COOKER COCKTAIL MEATBALLS
(Recipe adapted from Dorthea Herndon, when we attended Hillcrest Baptist Church, Cedar Hill, TX)
- Large bag of frozen meatballs (or make up about 2 lbs. of meatballs from recipe below)
- 15-oz. jar [url href=”http://www.sweetbabyrays.com/” target=”_blank” title=”sweet baby rays”]Sweet Baby Ray’s[/url] BBQ Sauce
- 15-oz. jar Bama grape jelly
- Mix together meatballs and place on sprayed cookie sheets.
- Bake at 350° for about 20-30 minutes.
- Spray crock pot with cooking spray.
- While meatballs are baking, pour barbecue sauce and grape jelly into crock pot and stir well.
- Add meatballs and heat through for a few hours on low.
- Continue stirring occasionally to get lumps out of jelly and make a smooth sauce.
- These are delicious served as appetizers or as a main dish with noodles or rice.
- 2 lbs. lean ground sirloin
- 1 cup 4C seasoned bread crumbs
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup diced onion
- 1 tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. pepper
- 1 tsp. basil
- 1 tsp. oregano
- 1 tsp. parsley
- Combine ingredients really well with your hands.
- Shape into meatballs.
- Spray cookie sheets with cooking spray.
- Bake meatballs at 350° for about 20-30 minutes.
- Add to crockpot with jelly/ketchup mixture.
- Continue cooking on low until meatballs absorb the flavors from the sauce—about 3-4 hours.
Slow Cooker Cocktail Meatballs are great for #SuperBowl fare or #tailgating parties!
Don’t Slow Cooker Cocktail Meatballs look terrific?