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Bourbon BBQ Meatballs

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These bourbon bbq meatballs are the perfect holiday appetizer. They are easy to make and packed full of homemade bourbon bbq sauce flavor.

Bourbon BBQ Meatballs on plate with serving toothpicks on them.

You know when you go to a party and see all the appetizers and you get excited?

That’s how I feel when I go to a holiday party and I see meatballs.

They are hands down my favorite thing on the menu.

Well, if I’m being honest it’s really a tie between meatballs and pigs in a blanket.

You know you love them too.

These little meatballs are homemade (you could always use frozen if you’re short on time) and are swimming in a super simple homemade stovetop bourbon bbq sauce.

That’s right. I worked bourbon into my bbq sauce – oh yeah!

{Items used in this post – bamboo party forks and Anolon Nouvelle Copper Hard Anodized Nonstick 10-Inch Covered French Skillet}

Bourbon BBQ Meatballs in a skillet.

The best part about this dish is that you can make the meatballs and sauce ahead of time and then simply re-heat either on the stovetop or in a slow cooker for a party.

Or if you’re like me you would make them for dinner.

There are no rules that say you can’t eat appetizers for dinner…right?

Love these bourbon BBQ meatballs?

Why not try a few of my other easy appetizers?

This collection is the best of the best of Nutmeg Nanny in 2014. Full of cheese, chocolate, sweetness and savory goodness. Grab a fork and dig in!

Bourbon BBQ Meatballs

Yield: 20 meatballs
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

These bourbon bbq meatballs are the perfect holiday appetizer. They are easy to make and packed full of homemade bourbon bbq sauce flavor.


For meatballs:

  • 1 pound ground meatloaf mix, (ground beef, pork and veal)
  • 1 cup chopped fresh baby spinach
  • 1/3 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste

For bourbon BBQ sauce:

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey mustard
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • Pinch kosher salt


For the meatballs: 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat liner.

In a large bowl, add all meatball ingredients.

Using your hands' mix together until fully incorporated.

Roll into about 2-inch sized balls and place onto the prepared baking sheet.

Bake for about 15-20 minutes until no longer pink.

Remove from the oven and set aside.

For the BBQ sauce:

Add all sauce ingredients to a 12-inch skillet over medium heat.

Whisk together to combine.

Let the sauce mixture simmer for 20 minutes or just until it starts to bubble and cook down.

Add meatballs to the sauce, cover, and let simmer for 5 minutes.

Uncover, flip the meatballs and simmer until ready to serve.

Make sure to keep an eye on the sauce so it doesn’t cook down too much.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 93Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 25mgSodium: 271mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 0gSugar: 5gProtein: 4g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

Did you make this recipe?

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Monday 2nd of December 2019

For your Bourbon Meatballs, does the quality of bourbon impact the flavour? I’m not a huge alcohol fan, so I wouldn’t have a clue!


Monday 15th of February 2016

This may sound silly to ask, but will we feel the effect of the alcohol once it's cooked into a sauce or is it more for flavour? Looking for recipes to get me buzzed since I don't like actually "drinking" alcohol in any way, can't go down properly.


Wednesday 2nd of March 2016

Hi Tiffany! Unfortunately no. The alcohol will cook off as the meatballs cooks :) You're left with the flavor of the bourbon but not the boozy side effects.

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