By Richard Thomas
Summer isn’t over yet, and even if it were, plenty of barbecue sauce-based recipes don’t actually need you to fire up the grill. Bourbon barbecue meatballs are made in your kitchen oven, and can be used as an appetizer or filling snack item for just about any afternoon gathering.
The first thing you need to do to make these meatballs is get some bourbon barbecue sauce. This recipe is intended to yield two dozen meatballs, and for that much you will need approximately 25 oz/750 ml/3 cups of sauce. You can either make your own homemade batch or use a store-bought bottle of bourbon barbecue sauce, but be warned: most barbecue sauces of this kind have very little bourbon in them, and you will need to add a shot or two and stir it in to bring the sauce up to scratch.
1 shot/1.5 oz/50 ml of bourbon whiskey
2 lbs (slightly less than 1 kg) of ground pork or mixed ground pork and beef
1 small onion, diced
1 cup/250 ml/8 oz of bourbon barbecue sauce (see above)
3/4 cup of breadcrumbs or corn flakes
Pre-heat the oven to 450 F (230 C). While the oven is heating up, saute the diced onions in a frying pan over high heat using 1 tbsp (15 ml) of olive oil. When the onions are browned, they are done.
Combine all remaining ingredients, including the browned onions, in a mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. Prepare your baking tray by coating it with 1 tbsp (15 ml) of olive oil. Alternately, you could use vegetable oil or smear it with Crisco. Roll the mix into meatballs, approximately the size of a golf ball. You should end up with approximately 24, give or take one or two depending on the size of the individual balls.
Lay the balls out in evenly spaced rows on the baking tray, so the individual balls are just barely touching each other all around. In other words, each ball should have slight contact with its neighbors.
Bake the balls until they are thoroughly cooked, which should take about 20 minutes.
Allow the balls to cool for about 5 or 10 minutes, and then coat them with the remainder of the bourbon barbecue sauce.