Barbecue Meatballs Recipe


Frozen meatballs in a slow cooker with sauce, those aren't barbecue meatballs—these are!

Recipe Details

Barbecue Meatballs Recipe

Active 30 mins
Total 45 mins
Serves 6 to 8 servings


  • For the Rub
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 gloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 3/4lb ground beef chuck
  • 3/4lb ground pork
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 small chunk of medium smoking wood, such as oak or hickory
  • 1 disposable aluminum pan
  • 1 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce, plus more for serving
  • Type of fire: two-zone indirect
  • Grill heat: high


  1. To make the rub, combine paprika, salt, brown sugar, garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, black pepper, mustard powder, and cayenne in a small bowl. Set aside.

  2. Heat oil in a medium skillet until shimmering. Add in onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add in garlic and chili powder and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add ground beef, pork, and egg into bowl with onion and garlic and mix until combined.

  3. Roll out meat mixture into balls 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Season meatballs liberally all over with rub.

  4. Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange the coals on one side of the charcoal grate and place wood chunk directly on top of coals. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Grill meatballs until well browned all over on hot side of grill, about 8 minutes total, 2 minutes per side. Transfer to aluminum pan.

  5. Pour barbecue sauce over meatballs and toss thoroughly to coat. Place pan on cool side of grill, cover, and cook until sauce thickens and bakes into meatballs, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from grill, let rest for 5 minutes, then serve with additional barbecue.

Special equipment