In Episode 058 Taryn teaches you how to make Smoked BBQ Meatballs! The meatballs are flavorful and satisfying, and the combination of ground turkey and almond flour makes for a unique twist on a classic dish. Enjoy them with your favorite BBQ sauce and some grilled veggies for a delicious family meal, or serve them up as appetizers for your next gathering!
These are some of the recipes mentioned in the episode, all of which are on Hot Pan Kitchen.
Some of the following are affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
- Traeger pellet grill and smoker
- Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- Traeger signature wood pellet blend
- BBQ tongs
- Silicone basting brush
- Using a meat thermometer for grilling (includes recommendation)
Taryn Solie: Hello grillers, and thank you for tuning in today! I am your host, Taryn Solie, and I am here to give you some grilling inspiration.
Today I’ve got a great smoker recipe for you – I’m going to teach you how to make barbecue smoked meatballs with ground turkey.
These meatballs are both sweet and smoky, and come out really tender and flavorful. They’re great as appetizers when you’re hosting a gathering, but are also good as a dinner option. They use a leaner type of meat than a traditional meatball but we add in just a little bacon to keep the meatball juicy and delicious.
These meatballs are also made without breadcrumbs, which for me is essential as I am gluten free. Instead the recipe uses some almond flour, which helps bind the meatballs together so they don’t fall apart when cooking – or eating for that matter! My husband and kids, who can eat gluten, still think these meatballs taste delicious, even without the breadcrumbs.
I like to make these meatballs on my Traeger, but you can use any wood pellet grill or smoker for this recipe.
Okay, let’s get to the ingredients! You will need:
- 1 pound of ground turkey;
- 2.5 ounces of frozen bacon;
- a quarter teaspoon each of garlic powder, onion powder and smoked paprika;
- half a teaspoon of Diamond Crystal kosher salt;
- 1 tablespoon of coconut aminos;
- a quarter cup of almond flour; and
- 2 tablespoons of BBQ sauce.
A couple of notes before we get into the directions.
- I specify using Diamond Crystal brand kosher salt as this kosher salt is less salty by weight than other salts. If you’re using a kosher salt like Morton’s then you’ll want to use a heaping quarter teaspoon of salt. If you’re not sure what heaping means, it’s when what you’re measuring is actually a little more than what the recipe calls for. In this case, the salt isn’t flat in the measuring spoon for exactly a quarter teaspoon, it has a little mound above the top rim of the spoon and is a little more than a quarter teaspoon.
- Next note – you really do want to use frozen bacon as it will be going into a food processor and thawed raw bacon tends to stick together when chopped in a processor. Even just sticking it in the freezer while your grill or smoker is warming up will help a little.
- And the last note – feel free to use whatever type of wood pellet you would like for this recipe. Between the coconut aminos, bacon, and barbecue sauce, the meatballs can handle a variety of different woods. So you could use a fruit wood, a mild wood like pecan or maple, or a stronger wood like mesquite or hickory. I tend to use the Traeger signature blend as it’s a good all-around wood for lots of different things, but it’s totally up to you.
Alright, let’s get into making these meatballs!
First you’ll want to preheat your Traeger, or other grill or smoker, to 250 degrees F. Make sure the hopper has enough wood pellets in it!
Next you’ll start assembling the meatball mixture. You’ll need to grab a plate to set the meatballs on, as well as a sharp knife, a cutting board, and a food processor – I like use a mini food processor for but you could use a large one. Or if you don’t have a food processor, use just the knife and cutting board to finely chop the bacon. If you do have a food processor, cut the frozen bacon into roughly half inch pieces, then put them in the processor and pulse until they’re chopped into small bits. Scoop the finely chopped bacon out of the food processor and put it into a large mixing bowl.
Now measure out and add the spices, coconut aminos, almond flour, and ground turkey into the bowl. Mix everything together with your hands until the ingredients are combined, but don’t over mix otherwise you risk toughening the meat.
Separate the meat mixture into four equal portions in the bowl. Take one of the portions and separate that into 4 equal parts, then use your hands to roll each of those parts into a ball. This ensures that your meatballs will be roughly the same size. Set the meatballs on the plate and continue with the other 3 portions until you have 16 meatballs on the plate. Be sure and wash your hands after handling the raw meat!
Your grill or smoker should be ready at this point, so take the plate of raw meatballs out to it and gently place them directly on the grill grates using a pair of tongs. Shut the lid and let them cook for 15 minutes.
While the meatballs are cooking, measure out the BBQ sauce into a bowl and grab a basting brush. After the 15 minutes are up, use the brush to spread a thin layer of sauce over all of the meatballs. Close the lid back up and let the meatballs cook for another 15 minutes.
After that second set of 15 minutes, increase the heat of the grill to 350 degrees F and cook the meatballs until they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, which should roughly be another 5 to 7 minutes.
And yes, you will need a meat thermometer to do this – I have tips for using a meat thermometer, along with a link to the one we have used and loved for years, on my site, and I’ll link to that on the show notes page.
Use your tongs to remove the meatballs from the grill. Let them rest for 5 or so minutes, then serve them up!
As I mentioned before, you could serve these as an appetizer, maybe with a little extra bbq sauce to dip them in. Or you could serve them as part of dinner! While I wouldn’t necessarily serve these meatballs with spaghetti and marinara, I have eaten them with some rice or roasted potatoes. And I have a recipe for grilled potatoes that would be good with these. Of course you could also make some grilled veggies like zucchini or asparagus, or even grilled fruit! Grilled pineapple would go well with the BBQ flavor of the meatballs.
I’ll include a link to the full printable recipe for these smoked barbecue meatballs, as well as the other recipes I’ve mentioned, on the show notes page. To get to it you can either go to my main website at Hot Pan Kitchen dot com and click on podcast in the main menu, or you can click on the link provided in whatever podcast app you’re listening on.
If you enjoyed this episode, consider subscribing to the show on your favorite podcast platform so you don’t miss out on future episodes! I’ve got so many more great grilling and smoking recipes you’re going to love.
That’s it for today, thank you so much for listening, and until next time, keep grilling like a mother.