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Sweet and Smoky Barbecue Meatballs Recipe

The quintessential bite-sized appetizer is barbecue meatballs. The smoker brings out a whole other level of taste that can’t be replicated in the oven or on the stovetop.

The sweet and smokey barbecue flavor of these meatballs is enhanced by the addition of Italian sausage and ground beef.

bowl of bbq sauce and meatball on a fork

What kind of meat is used in these meatballs?

For the meatballs, I prefer to use 80/20 ground beef and ground Italian sausage. The sausage provides a nice taste, but you could double the beef or use ground pork in place of it as well.

To ensure that the meatballs don’t dry out on the smoker, I use 80/20 beef, which has a high percentage of fat.

Another wonderful alternative is to grind your own ground beef at home, rather than purchasing it. All the chuck or sirloin trimmings may be used for the lean portion, and your remaining brisket or tri-tip trims can be used for the fat portion, allowing you to make full use of each cut.

As a bonus, grinding your own beef at home saves money by allowing for more efficient use of fat trimmings from other cuts, as well as saving money on grinding fees charged by the butcher counter.

If you’re in the market for a meat grinder, we’ve put together a list of the finest meat grinders.

Cooking Smoked Meatballs

Meatballs are a simple dish to put together in a short amount of time. Mix the ingredients together in a bowl, and then shape your meatballs.

In addition, this dish is quite adaptable. As long as you stick with the basics, you’re free to experiment with any combination of your favorite ingredients.

ingredients for meatballs displayed on a wooden board

1. Blend the meatballs

Combine the ground beef and Italian sausage in a large bowl. Then, add the Italian breadcrumbs, Worcestershire sauce, and all of your spices to the mixture.

With your hands, it’s the greatest technique to mash up meat. It should be well blended but not over-mixed.

2. Shape the meatballs into balls

Make a meatball by scooping out a little of the meat mixture and rolling it between your palms.

It’s up to you how big you want them to be. At least 2 inches in diameter is ideal for me.

In order for them to cook properly, it’s critical that the batch’s size be consistent.

Then, space your meatballs approximately 2 inches apart on a jerky tray (or wire rack).

3. Set your smoker to a temperature of 250 ℉.

Smoke the meat for about an hour at a temperature of 250°F.

These were smoked on B&B Oak Lump Charcoal in my Masterbuilt Gravity Series 1050.

Both steak and pork go nicely with oak. It lends a rich, smokey taste to the meatballs without being overbearing, which is ideal for a dish like this.

To get an interior temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit, allow them to smoke for 30 minutes. My thermometer of choice was the ThermoPro TP03.

4. Add a sauce to the meatballs before serving.

After taking the meatballs from the grill, cover them with your preferred barbecue sauce.

Place the rack back on the smoker and cook the meatballs for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F. Then, they’re all set to savor the experience!

Smoked barbecue meatballs may be served in a variety of ways.

The Perfect Appetizer

Serve them with toothpicks and a dipping sauce of your choice, such barbecue sauce.

Meatball Subs

a coating of melted cheddar cheese and a drizzle of barbecue sauce is all that is needed to make the ideal barbecue meatball sandwich.

Smoky Pasta

For a smokey take on spaghetti and meatballs, toss them in with your favorite pasta sauce.

As the Main Course

Because these meatballs are so versatile, they might be the centerpiece of your supper. Make a tasty supper out of them by mixing them with your favorite vegetables and potatoes.

Grilled meatballs go well with a variety of side dishes.

  • Herb Roasted Potato Salad
  • Triple Cooked Potato Wedges
  • Smoked Mac and Cheese
  • Smoked Baked Beans with Bacon
  • Creamy Coleslaw

Smoked Barbecue Meatballs Recipe

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Calories: 375kcal


  • 1 pound of 80/20 beef
  • 1 pound of Italian sausage meat, ground
  • ½ lbs. of breadcrumb
  • Tomato sauce, 2 tbsp
  • Black pepper crushed to a fine powder: 1 tbsp.
  • 1 tbsp of Kosher salt.
  • Smoked paprika, about a half-cup
  • Chili powder, ½ tbsp


1. Set your smoker to 250°F before you begin.

2. Put all of the dry ingredients and meat in a large mixing bowl and stir until well combined.

3. Using your hands, mix the ingredients well. You should still be able to see a few chunks of ground beef in the meat mixture.

4. To make meatballs, take a spoonful of the mixture and roll it between your palms. The diameter should be around 2 inches, and the batch should be fairly consistent in size.

5. When the smoker reaches 250°F, put the meatballs on a jerky tray (or wire rack).

6. To get an interior temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit, allow them to smoke for 30 minutes.

7. Remove the rack and use a brush to apply a thin coating of barbecue sauce to each meatball.

8. Make sure the temperature hits 165°F before putting them back in the smoker for another 10 to 15 minutes.

9. They may be served as an appetizer, a meatball sandwich on a sub bread, or as an ingredient in your favorite pasta meal.

smoked barbecue meatballs