Homemade Crock Pot Barbecue Meatballs

barbecue meatballs appetizer
Diana Rattray
Ratings (15)
  • Total: 5 hrs 20 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 5 hrs
  • Yield: 20 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
198 Calories
6g Fat
20g Carbs
16g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
×
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 20 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 198
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g 8%
Saturated Fat 2g 12%
Cholesterol 61mg 20%
Sodium 446mg 19%
Total Carbohydrate 20g 7%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Protein 16g
Calcium 54mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

These tasty meatballs are perfect snacks for parties and get-togethers, and they can even be served as a main dish with rice or potatoes. The homemade barbecue sauce is perfectly seasoned, and you probably have all of the ingredients in your pantry.

The onion soup mix gives the meatballs loads of flavor, while the sweet barbecue sauce mixture provides balance.

Feel free to change the sauce up with more or less sweetener, or add some heat with cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper flakes. See the variations for more ideas.

Ingredients

  • For the Meatballs:
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 envelope onion soup mix
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 eggs
  • For the Sauce:
  • 3 cups ketchup
  • 1/2 cup onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 2 teaspoons celery salt
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Steps to Make It

  1. Heat the oven to 350 F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with foil and spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

  2. In a large bowl, combine the ground beef with the breadcrumbs, garlic powder, onion soup mix, 2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce, and the eggs. Mix well until the meatball mixture is thoroughly combined.

  3. Shape the meat mixture into 3/4-inch meatballs. Arrange the meatballs on the prepared baking sheets and bake for 20 minutes. Transfer the drained meatballs to the slow cooker.

  4. In a large bowl, combine the ketchup, onion, 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, molasses, celery salt, dry mustard, paprika, and pepper. Stir to combine and then pour over the meatballs.

  5. Cover the pot and cook on low for about 3 to 4 hours, or until the meatballs and sauce are hot. Or cook on high for about 2 hours.

Tips

  • The sauce mixture is easily adapted with more or less sugar or molasses. Taste and adjust as needed.
  • To keep the meatballs out of their drippings, place cooling racks in the baking pans. Spray the racks lightly with nonstick cooking spray and arrange the meatballs on the racks.
  • To give the meatballs a head-start and shorten or eliminate the crock pot cooking time, sauté the finely chopped onions in a medium saucepan over medium heat in a small amount of oil. When the onions are softened and translucent, add the remaining sauce ingredients and bring to a simmer. Pour the sauce over the meatballs and set the slow cooker on low for serving.
  • Time-Saver: Prepare and bake the meatballs a day in advance; refrigerate them until you are ready to cook.

Recipe Variations

  • Instead of baking, fry the meatballs—in batches—in a large skillet on the stovetop. Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in the skillet over medium heat. Fry the meatballs for about 15 minutes, or until they are browned and cooked through, turning frequently.
  • Add 2 cloves of minced garlic to the sauce, or add about 1 teaspoon of garlic powder.
  • For a smoky flavor, add about 1 teaspoon of liquid smoke to the sauce mixture. Natural liquid smoke is made with smoke—hickory, mesquite, etc—and water, so there are no chemical additives. Check the label to make sure.
  • Another way to add a smoky flavor is to swap out the sweet paprika with smoked paprika.