The Best BBQ Meatball Recipe of All Time

These BBQ Meatballs are our favorite meatball recipe of all time. I usually make three or four batches at once and vacuum pack them for the freezer. It’s nice to be able to get some out whenever you need an easy meal.

My husband really enjoys this meal, so we made them fairly often.

Allison’s note: I recently made a big pan full of these for a dinner party with about a dozen people and they were gone in the blink of an eye. We were actually joking about bidding on the last one! No matter where we take these meatballs, everyone LOVES them! They’re great as an appetizer for a party, on a sub for lunch, or as dinner.

This recipe doesn’t from Pinterest, but instead from a close friend of our family.

First, you need to make the meatballs. Like I said, you can make a very large batch at once and freeze the extras to use later. Here are the ingredients you need: ground beef, evaporated milk, oatmeal, saltine cracker crumbs, eggs, chopped onion, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and chili powder.

Making the meatballs is pretty darn easy: just combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

Don’t be afraid to get in there with your hands! Once the ingredients are combined well, form the mixture into walnut-sized balls. Place them on a wax-paper-lined cookie sheet and freeze until solid.

meatballs for freezer

Once they’re frozen, you can vacuum pack them to freeze long-term. You can also freeze them in regular freezer bags of course, but vacuum packing allows you to avoid freezer burn.

When you are ready to make the meatballs, combine your sauce ingredients: ketchup, brown sugar, garlic powder, mustard, and water. Place the frozen meatballs in a baking pan, and spoon the sauce over top. Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes.

After baking for an hour, I like to sprinkle some cheese over the meatballs and put them back in the oven for about 10 minutes, just until the cheese melts. The night I made the batch above, my mother was coming for dinner, and she hates cheese (crazy, I know!), so I left some without cheese as well.

Yummy! Here’s the printable recipe. This is for 80-100 meatballs, so you can make enough for several meals at once, but you could adjust accordingly if you just want enough for a single meal.

The Best BBQ Meatball Recipe of All Time
Recipe type: Entree
  • 4-4.5 pounds ground beef
  • 1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1 cup crushed saltine cracker crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1 cup brown sugar (or ½ cup brown sugar Splenda)
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 Tablespoon mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • Cheese (optional)
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine all meatball ingredients and mix well.
  2. Shape into balls the size of walnuts and place on a wax paper lined cookie sheet. Freeze until solid and store until ready to use.
  3. Combine all sauce ingredients. Place meatballs in a baking pan and spoon sauce over top.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle with cheese (optional) and bake for 10 minutes until cheese is melted.
Remember, the sauce part of this recipe is for all of the meatballs, so if you're only making one pan full at a time, adjust the recipe accordingly. Have some picky eaters coming to dinner? Feel free to leave out the chopped onions.


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Sharon is a co-founder here at The PinterTest Kitchen. She works part-time at a local winery and is also very involved in running her husband’s wrought iron business.

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