These meatballs are easy to make, and they taste great! The sweet pickles and pickle juice give them a unique, tangy sweet and sour flavor. The pictured meatballs contain chopped homemade bread and butter pickles. they were cooked in a slow cooker, but they could just as easily be cooked over low heat on the stovetop.
Serve the meatballs right from the slow cooker as an appetizer. Provide guests with small plates, toothpicks, and napkins. These are excellent for parties or game day events. Or take the slow cooker along to a tailgating event.
If you're short on time, feel free to use good quality frozen meatballs in this recipe. If you use frozen, cook them for about 3 to 4 hours on LOW or for about 2 hours on HIGH.
To give the dish extra color and texture, add some thinly sliced green and red bell pepper and onion to the slow cooker along with the meatballs and sauce.
- 1 can (20 ounces) pineapple chunks
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
- 1/4 cup chopped sweet pickles with 2 tablespoons of juice
- 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef, at least 85%
- 1/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs, plain
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 scant teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large egg, slightly beaten
- 1/4 cup milk
Place a mesh sieve over a bowl. Drain the liquid from the pineapple chunks into a bowl. Set the pineapple chunks aside for the moment.
Stir the cornstarch into the pineapple liquid until smooth. Add the ketchup, soy sauce, light brown sugar, and the pickles with juice. Stir to blend and then add the pineapple chunks. Cover and refrigerate.
Heat the oven to 350 F.
Combine the ground beef with the bread crumbs, minced garlic, salt, pepper, egg, and milk. Mix well.
Shape the mixture into about 3 to 4 dozen meatballs.
Arrange the meatballs on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes.
Transfer the meatballs to the slow cooker. Pour the refrigerated sauce mixture over the meatballs.
Cover and cook on LOW for 2 to 3 hours, or until hot and bubbly.
Makes about 2 to 3 dozen meatballs, depending on the size.
Tips for Meatballs
Use a small cookie scoop or spoon to keep the meatballs uniform in size, or weigh them as you shape them. A good size is around 1 inch or a little less in diameter, which would be about 3/4 ounce to 1-ounce in weight.
Another way to make the meatballs uniform is to pat the meat mixture out into a large square on a sheet of wax paper. Score the meat into precise squares and then shape the squares into meatballs.