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+ servings

BBQ Meatballs

Serve these easy BBQ meatballs alongside mashed potatoes, rice, or cornbread for a family-friendly weeknight dinner, set them out at as an appetizer at your next Game Day gathering, or offer them on a holiday Open House buffet.
Course Appetizer, Dinner
Cuisine American
Keyword bbq meatballs, meatballs in bbq sauce
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 17 minutes
Chilling Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 32 minutes
Servings 22 meatballs
Calories 99kcal
Author Blair Lonergan


  • 1 lb. ground “meatloaf mix,” a combination of ground beef, pork and veal (see my note below for substitutions)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • cup plain dry breadcrumbs
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon seasoned salt, such as Lawry’s brand
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 18 ounce bottle barbecue sauce


  • In a large bowl, use your hands or a fork to gently combine all of the meatball ingredients, being careful not to over-mix. If time allows, cover the bowl and chill for about 1 hour (this is optional, but will make the meatballs easier to shape).
  • Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Use a scoop to shape the meat mixture into 1 ½-inch balls. Tip: rub your hands with a little bit of oil to prevent the meatballs from sticking. Arrange the meatballs in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the meatballs reach an internal temperature of 160°F on an instant-read thermometer.
  • Transfer the meatballs to a large skillet. Pour the barbecue sauce over top; stir gently to coat. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until the sauce it hot and bubbly.


  • Combine the meatball mixture with your hands -- not with a wooden spoon. The more gentle you can be, the more light and tender your meatballs will stay. Don't overmix, or you'll end up with tough, dense, and dry meatballs.
  • If you have some extra time, chill the meatball mixture for at least 1 hour before shaping. I don't always do this (it's not necessary), but it does make the shaping easier if the mixture is more firm.
  • A cookie dough scoop helps form even meatballs that cook in about the same amount of time. Scoop, roll gently in your hands, and then fry!
  • Coat your hands with a little bit of olive oil periodically as you're shaping the meatballs. The oil prevents the meat from sticking to your hands, and also helps the outside of the meatballs brown when they're in the oven.
  • Double the Recipe. Using 1 lb. of meat yields about 22 meatballs. If you'd like to prepare a larger batch to feed a group or to save leftovers in the freezer for another meal, just double all of the ingredients.
  • Use other Meats. I prefer the "meatloaf mix" because the blend of three different types of meat yields meatballs with so much flavor! That said, you can substitute with a 50/50 blend of ground beef and ground pork, or use all ground beef, ground turkey, ground chicken, or ground pork. Just make sure that the meat totals 1 lb. and is about 85% lean. If using chicken or turkey, cook the meatballs to an internal temperature of 165°F instead of 160°F.
  • Instead of using a store-bought barbecue sauce, make your favorite homemade version from scratch.
  • Include ½ cup finely-minced or grated fresh onion for moisture and flavor in the meatballs.
  • Add crushed red pepper flakes for spicy meatballs.
  • Crockpot BBQ Meatballs: Bake the meatballs as instructed, and then transfer them to a slow cooker. Pour the barbecue sauce over top, cover the Crock Pot, and keep them on the "warm" setting for up to 3 hours. This is a great option when hosting a party, and it also makes dinnertime easy on busy nights!


Serving: 1meatball with sauce | Calories: 99kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 22mg | Sodium: 390mg | Potassium: 70mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 79IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 1mg