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Barbecue Meatballs

November 26, 2013


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Tomato sauce is great, but sometimes I need something a little different, you know? Last time I switched out the tomato sauce in this delicious pizza for buffalo sauce, and it was tasty.


Barbecue Meatballs - 2Teaspoons


Feeling a little un-tomato-y again today, I switched out the usual tomato sauce and spaghetti that go with meatballs for a rich, dark, homemade barbecue sauce. Barbecue sauce gave these little guys just the right amount of zing I was looking for.


Barbecue Meatballs - 2Teaspoons


I also picked up a trick (thanks Pioneer Woman!) to lightly dust the meatballs in flour and sear them in a cast iron skillet before baking them in their delicious sauce. I think it sealed in all the moisture because it gave the little guys a surprisingly moist interior while still having that yummy outer crust.


Barbecue Meatballs - 2Teaspoons


Serve as a saucy party appetizer or a hearty Sunday dinner…They are amazing with creamy mashed potatoes 🙂

Remember!  There’s more to meatballs than tomato sauce and spaghetti.


Barbecue Meatballs - 2Teaspoons



Barbecue Meatballs

Mouthwatering meatballs smothered in rich, dark, homemade barbecue sauce
Servings 6
Author 2Teaspoons


  • 1 ½ pounds ground beef
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¾ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 4 tablespoons minced onion about ½ small onion
  • ½ tablespoon butter
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • ½ cup flour
  • oil for skillet
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes or unseasoned tomato sauce
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon ground mustard
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • pinch of ground clove
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • pinch of cayenne pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Melt butter in cast iron skillet. Saute onion and garlic in butter until cooked, about 5 minutes. Set aside and let cool for a few minutes. I used this unwashed pan to sear the meatballs later.
  3. Combine beef, milk, breadcrumbs, onion, garlic, salt and cumin in a large bowl. Roll into small meatballs, about 2 tablespoons meat-mixture each. Arrange in a single layer in baking dish (I used the one I would bake the meatballs and sauce in). Place in freezer for 5-10 minutes.
  4. While meatballs are cooling in freezer, whisk together all barbecue sauce ingredients. Set sauce aside.
  5. Heat a ¼” - ½” layer of oil in a cast iron skillet on medium heat. Coat meatballs in flour and place in oil. Brown meatballs on all sides, about 1-2 minutes per side. Arrange browned meatballs in baking dish and cover in barbecue sauce. Bake until meatballs are fully cooked, about 40-45 minutes. Serve as an appetizer or with your favorite sides (like creamy mashed potatoes!) 🙂


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Recipe Rating

  1. Avatar for stephanie


    Can I bake the meatballs right in the cast iron skillet and cover with tin foil??

    • Avatar for Karen


      Hi Stephanie! Yes, you can just bake the meatballs in the cast iron skillet. Just make sure to drain off any excess oil before covering the meatballs in barbecue sauce 🙂

  2. Avatar for Christine (CookTheStory)

    Christine (CookTheStory)

    Your pictures are beautiful. Thanks for the tip of dusting with flour. That makes total sense.

    • Avatar for Karen


      Thanks! I was surprised by the flour at first, but you’re totally right that it makes sense. It adds an extra step to making the meatballs, but I would definitely say the moist inside with the slightly crispy outside that results is well worth it 🙂

Hi! I'm Karen, the recipe creator, photographer, and food fanatic here at 2Teaspoons. I love delicious food and I love sharing it with great people like you. Welcome to my dinner table, pull up a chair! Read More… →

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