Iva Carter
Published by Iva Carter
Last Updated On: August 15, 2023

As someone who has spent countless hours experimenting with different recipes, I consider myself a true meatball aficionado.

Through trial and error, I have discovered the perfect combination of ingredients and cooking techniques that always deliver delicious meatballs.

I will share my smoked meatball recipe that will leave your taste buds wanting more.

These smoked meatballs are bursting with flavor with a mix of ground meat, parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, and flavorful spices.

Quick Summary

  • Smoked BBQ meatballs are a delicious and flavorful option for meatball enthusiasts.
  • The recipe involves combining ground beef with breadcrumbs, spices, and BBQ sauce, shaping them into meatballs, and smoking them to infuse smoky flavors.
  • The result is tender and juicy meatballs with a smoky and tangy BBQ taste that pairs well with various sauces and accompaniments.

Recipe Overview

a smoked bbq meatballs
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Servings: 8


1. Meatball Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

2. BBQ Sauce Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar


meatballs and the sauce
  1. Preheat your smoker or a quality pellet grill to 225°F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine ground beef, pork, parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, garlic, pepper, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and onion. Mix well to form the meat mixture.
  3. Using your hands or a large spoon, remove the meat mixture from the large bowl and shape it into golf ball-size meatballs.
  4. Place meatballs on a wire rack, ensuring to space them for even cooking.
  5. Place the wire rack with meatballs in the preheated smoker and smoke for about an hour or until they reach an internal temperature of 160°F. Use an instant-read meat thermometer to check their doneness.
  6. While the meatballs are in the smoker, combine the BBQ sauce, apple cider vinegar, and water in a cast iron skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens and reduces by about half.
  7. Once they have finished smoking, remove the meatballs from the smoker and put them in the cast iron skillet with the barbecue sauce like you would with Italian meatballs. Gently toss the meatballs in the sauce to coat evenly.
  8. Carefully remove the BBQ-smoked meatballs from the skillet and let them rest for a few minutes before serving. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Recipe Notes

Noting meatball recipes
  • For later use, you can freeze half of the BBQ smoked meatballs from the smoker in an airtight container.
  • If you don't have a smoker or pellet grill, you can also put the meatballs in the oven at 350°F for 25-30 minutes.
  • The USDA recommends cooking meatballs to an internal temperature of 160°F in the smoker to ensure food safety [1].
  • Using a food processor to mix all the ingredients can help you achieve a consistent meat mixture.
  • An instant-read thermometer ensures the smoked meatballs come to the proper final temperature [2].
  • You can adjust the level of chili powder to your liking.
  • The meatballs should all be the same size so they cook evenly.
  • Cooking meatballs before adding them to the sauce gives them a crispy crust and helps them hold their shape. However, if you prefer softer smoked meatballs, you can skip this step.
  • For a smokier flavor, use a mix of hickory and applewood pellets.
  • These smoked meatballs can be served as appetizers, in a sub roll, or as the main course with your favorite side dishes.

Nutritional Information

  • Calories: 400 kcal
  • Total Carbs: 10g
  • Protein: 32g
  • Fat: 24g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Net Carbs: 10g

What to Serve With This Recipe?

A creamy coleslaw in a bowl

Here are some foods that would complement smoked BBQ meatballs:

  • Coleslaw: Creamy coleslaw can provide a refreshing contrast to the richness of the meatballs.
  • Corn on the cob: The crunch and sweetness of corn on the cob can balance the taste of smoke throughout the meat.
  • Baked beans: The sweetness and tanginess of baked beans can provide a complementary profile to savory meatballs.
  • Garlic bread: The garlic and butter flavors in garlic bread can complement the taste of the sauce.
  • Mac and cheese: The creamy and cheesy flavors of mac and cheese can contrast with the smoky and savory taste when you smoke and serve meatballs.

Also Read: Italian Meatballs Recipe

Best Meat For Meatballs

raw meatballs that are ready to be BBQ smoked

I am often asked about the best meat to use for smoked meatballs.

This recipe calls for a mixture of two, but there are other options out there as well.

  • Ground beef is popular for meatballs because of its flavor, fat content, and texture. The fat in ground beef keeps the meatballs juicy and tender, while its taste is savory and meaty. Chuck contains a higher fat content, making it more flavorful for smoker recipes, while sirloin is a bit leaner.
  • Ground pork is another popular choice for meatballs. It has a milder flavor than beef and is slightly sweeter. I often use a combination of this meat and beef in the smoker to create the perfect recipe combination of boldness and sweetness.
  • Veal is a tender, lean meat often used in Italian meatball recipes. It has a subtle yet distinctive taste that pairs well with herbs and spices. Some find the taste too mild to stand alone and prefer to mix it with other meat before it is smoked on the grill.
  • Lamb sometimes gets a bad rap because it has a slightly gamey flavor, but it can work well as an alternative meat for meatballs. The taste is much milder when cooked, and lamb has a tender texture that can create great meatballs. Combining lamb with beef can create a delicious Middle Eastern-inspired taste profile.
  • For those seeking a healthier option, turkey is an alternative to meats with a higher saturated fat content. It is low-fat but high in protein, making it a good choice for those on a low-fat diet. Smoked turkey’s delicate taste is enhanced with herbs and spices.

Also Read: Healthy Turkey Meatballs Recipe


How Do You Thicken BBQ Meatballs?

To thicken BBQ meatballs, you can add cooked rice to the mixture before you smoke them. You also can add a cornstarch slurry to the BBQ sauce. Mix cornstarch and cold water in equal parts, then whisk the mixture into the sauce.

Is It Better to Smoke or Bake Meatballs?

Sometimes, it’s better to smoke meatballs than to bake them. Smoking meatballs provides a unique smoky flavor to the dish, which is impossible to achieve through baking. A big batch of meatballs smoked on the grill cannot be replicated in the oven.

Are You a Fan of This Smoked Meatballs Recipe?

These smoked BBQ meatballs are a crowd-pleaser and are perfect for any occasion.

Whether you're a meatball enthusiast or just looking to try something new to serve for your next party or dinner, this recipe will satisfy you.

And if you're looking for high-quality meat to use in your recipes, try using ButcherBox meat delivery service.

With their wide variety of options, you can have high-quality beef, pork, and more, delivered straight to your doorstep and ready to grill.

Check out our home page to find out more about ButcherBox and learn more about this organic meat delivery company.


  1. https://agresearchmag.ars.usda.gov/2017/feb/meatballs
  2. https://ask.usda.gov/s/article/What-is-an-instant-read-thermometer
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