Easy homemade meatballs are topped with a simple homemade bbq sauce for an epic crockpot bbq meatballs recipe. You can make the sauce and meatballs ahead of time then just warm in the crockpot when ready to serve!
Growing up there were a few foods always at parties one was sausage rolls, the other was crockpot bbq meatballs. There's something magical as a kid about being able to stick your own toothpick in to grab a glorious meatball dripping in bbq sauce.
Now you can totally buy a bag of frozen meatballs and a bottle of bbq sauce and there you have it, but I wanted to make homemade meatballs, from scratch. They literally take all of 5 minutes to make, and they are fun to make. Rolling meatballs with your kids is so fun!!
This recipe is quite easy. I love onion so I started by lightly browning a diced onion, I took half of it out and placed into a bowl to cool for 10 minutes.
I added the remainder of the bbq sauce ingredients to the leftover onion still in the pan and cooked the bbq sauce on low- medium heat for 10 minutes.
Then I added all the meatball ingredients and went to town rolling balls.
There is sooo much more flavor in homemade crockpot bbq meatballs. Not to mention I always enjoy eating something I put together, and I know all of the ingredients, no "xuiyusdfusdfhk" in these meatballs!
I used a combination of 1lb ground beef and ½lb ground pork. I love the little bit of juicy fatness the pork adds to the beef.
Let's get to the recipe.
What are the ingredients for crockpot bbq meatballs?
For the sauce we will make an easy bbq sauce. Feel free to add some more pepper or less brown sugar to create the perfect sauce for you. This one is slightly sweet at first but then the sweetness goes away.
- Olive Oil
- 1 Medium Onion, diced
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Brown Sugar
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder
- Smoked Paprika
- Liquid Smoke- this is optional but gives a great depth of flavor
For the meatballs we will need the remainder of the medium onion from above and the following ingredients:
- Ground Beef
- Ground Pork
- Ground Pepper
- Panko Breadcrumbs
- Parmesan Cheese
- Large Egg- the egg binds everything together helping the meatballs keep the ball shape.
How do you make bbq sauce?
You could totally use a store-bought container of bbq sauce but it is so easy to make it at home.
Start by sautéing one medium onion, diced, in a little olive oil. Let it cook over low- medium heat for ten minutes until onion is translucent and softened.
Remove half of the onion and place in a large bowl to cool, you will use this in the meatballs.
Add the remaining bbq sauce ingredients: ketchup, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, molasses, garlic powder, smoked paprika, onion powder, salt, pepper, and liquid smoke.
Mix everything together with a heatproof spatula and let it cook over low- medium heat for 10 minutes.
Taste the sauce and add more salt or pepper to your taste preferences.
How do you make crockpot bbq meatballs?
In a large bowl combine the cooled onion, ground pork and beef, breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, garlic, salt and pepper.
I find it easiest to just get my clean hands in there and mix it all together.
Once everything is evenly combined add a whisked egg. Then again use your hands to combine it all together.
To roll the meatballs I used a heaping cookie scoop 0.5 tablespoon size to help ensure I had pretty consistently sized meatballs. This made 30 meatballs.
I lightly sprayed a baking sheet with avocado oil then placed the meatballs in even rows. Bake the meatballs for roughly 15 minutes at 400F/205c.
To ensure that my meat is cooked throughly I always use my Thermapen MK4. It is so easy to use and accurate. For ground beef you want a minimum internal temperature of 160F/ 71C.
When the meatballs have cooked you cook let them cool completely and store in an air tight container in the fridge for use that night or the next day. Or you could store them in the freezer for up to a month.
Or if you are ready to get them in the crockpot for that day then just pile them into the crockpot and pour the bbq sauce on top of them. I usually move the meatballs around so that they are all evenly coated in bbq sauce.
You can leave the crockpot on the keep warm setting and set a bowl full of toothpicks next to it and let your guests go to town!
Can you make crockpot bbq meatballs ahead of time?
Totally, once the meatballs are fully cooked, let them cool completely then store in an air tight container in the freezer for up to 1 month.
Then when you are ready to serve them add them to the crockpot and let them cook in bbq sauce for 2 hours on high or 4 hours on low.
How long do the meatballs last in the crockpot?
I would advice only allowing the meatballs to be on the "keep warm" setting for up to 3-4 hours. Anything longer the meatballs may not be safe to eat.
Can I double this recipe?
Yes! This recipe makes 30 meatballs evenly coated in the bbq sauce but you can definitely double the recipe. I would use double the sauce as well.
Fancy another party food?
★★★★★ Please let me know if you make this recipe by leaving a star rating and comment below!Print
- 8oz (1 Cup) Ketchup
- 1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
- 50 grams (¼ Cup) Brown Sugar
- 2oz (¼ Cup) Molasses
- ½ Teaspoon Garlic Powder
- ½ Teaspoon Onion Powder
- ¼ Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
- ¼ Teaspoon Salt
- ½ Teaspoon Pepper
- 1 Teaspoon Liquid Smoke
- 1 Medium Onion, diced
- 1lb Ground Beef
- ½lb Ground Pork
- 1 ½ Teaspoons Ground Pepper
- ½ Teaspoon Salt
- ½ Teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1oz (½ Cup) Panko Breadcrumbs
- 0.50oz Parmesan Cheese
- 1 Large Egg
- In a large skillet over medium heat cook the onion in a spritz or ½ teaspoon of olive oil/ avocado oil. Let the onion cook for around 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent and softened.
- Transfer half of the cooked onion to a large bowl to cool down before you make the meatballs.
- In the pan with remaining onion add the rest of the bbq sauce ingredients, stir frequently and cook for 5-10 minutes over low-medium heat. Once cooked turn off the heat and set aside if using right away. If not pour into an air-tight container to cool then store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Preheat oven to 400F/205c In bowl with cooled onion add all ingredients except the egg. Using your clean hands combine ingredients in the bowl together. In a small bowl whisk, the egg then add to the meat mixture. Again use clean hands to mix together. Scoop into 30 balls. I used a heaping cookie scoop 0.5 tablespoon to help me achieve evenly sized balls.
- Spray a large baking sheet with some sort of oil, I used avocado oil, place the meatballs evenly on the tray and bake for 12-15 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches a minimum temperature of 160F/ 71C. Let cool for 5 minutes before transferring to crockpot, pour bbq sauce on top and cook on low for 1 hour. Then turn to "keep warm" setting for up to 3-4 hours.
*Sauce can be prepared and stored in the fridge in an air-tight container for up to 3 days.
** Meatballs can be prepared and cooled completely then stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month. Add frozen meatballs to crockpot and sauce then cook on high for 2 hours or low for 4 hours.
- Prep Time: 25
- Cook Time: 3 Hours
- Category: Appetizer
- Method: Cook
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: slow cooker meatballs, bbq meatballs, cocktail meatballs