These sweet and saucy Bourbon Meatballs are slathered in a thick Kentucky Bourbon sauce. Served as an appetizer, small plate or as a main entree, your guests will be begging you for this tasty recipe!
You know my family loves meatballs. Basically, I can get my daughter to try new foods easily if I make a meatball out of it!I always say that meatballs are out gateway food.
I’ve taken my meatball adventure on the road and around the globe, too, which started with these Norwegian Meatballs, then moved onto Italy with my Parmesan Meatball Mac-&-Cheese, and let’s not forget the journey over to Thailand with my Thai Red Curry Meatballs. We’ve even spent time in Germany with our Konigsberger Klopse Meatballs in a Creamy Lemon Caper Sauce (coming soon).
She’s tried them all. Her absolute favorites are the Thai Red Curry and the German Konigsberger Klopse Meatballs! Amazing, right? This sweet and sour style Bourbon Meatballs slathered in a thick Kentucky Bourbon Sauce are another fast family favorite.
Bourbon Meatballs are usually served as an appetizer, however, in my family we often make a meal out of them. I think they go especially well with mashed potatoes and a fresh steamed vegetables. The meatballs themselves are moist, tender and flavorful because I use fresh bread crumbs. The sauce is glossy and dark with a hint of bourbon flavor. Your guests will be begging you for this recipe!
Not just an appetizer anymore, folks… Dig In!
Need some other quick appetizers? Check these out:
For the Bourbon Sauce:
- 1 cup barbecue sauce , your favorite
- 1 cup bourbon , your favorite [ See Note 1]
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup prepared yellow mustard
- 1/8 cup Worcestershire sauce
For the Meatballs:
- 3 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
- 1/2 cup milk
- 3 slices fresh bread
- 1 lb ground beef [See Note 2]
- 1 lb ground pork [See note 3]
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 2 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ground black pepper , to taste
- 1 egg , beaten
- Combine the sauce ingredients in a dutch oven over medium-low heat, stirring to combine. [See Note 4]
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Into a large mixing bowl , place the bread and milk. allow bread to soak up the milk and then with your fingers break apart the bread into a wet bread crumb mixture.
- Next, add the rest of the meatball ingredients, into the bowl, breaking up the meats as you put them in. Using the tips of your fingers, gently combine everything together without compacting the meat. This results in a very tender meatball. Compacting the meat yields a very dense meatball.
- Form into small 1" (1-ounce) balls, I use a small cookie scoop to make them uniform. Makes between 16 and 32 meatballs depending on the size you choose.
- Transfer the meatballs to a baking sheet, and bake for about 20 minutes, or until cooked through. An instant read digital thermometer should read 160 degrees F.
- Place cooked meatballs into the simmering sauce [See note 4], and let heat through until ready to serve.
To Serve as an Appetizer:
- Place meatballs on a plate with toothpicks and add an extra serving bowl with a spoon for additional sauce.
- Place into a crock-pot which is set to warm and allow guests to serve themselves. [See note 4]
To Serve as an Entree:
- Serve with mashed potatoes, buttered noodles, or rice with an accompaniment of fresh steamed vegetables and a garden salad.
- To Omit or replace the Bourbon:Use any brand bourbon you choose. If you wish to omit the bourbon, replace the liquid with beef stock, chicken stock, or water.
- If you wish to omit the bourbon, replace the liquid with beef stock, chicken stock, or water.
- Use any brand of bourbon you choose. If you do not stock bourbon and do not wish to buy a large bottle, try instead a smaller 8-oz bottle – usually stocked near or behind the register.
- Lean ground beef can be substituted with ground turkey or ground chicken. Increase your seasonings to compensate for the meat substitution as the chicken and turkey have milder flavors.
- Pork can be substituted with lean ground beef, ground turkey, or ground chicken.
- If serving in a crock pot, make sauce in the crock pot insert and set to low. Add the meatballs after cooking in the oven. Set to low or warm for serving at a party.