Slow Cooker Barbecue Meatballs - Growing Up Gabel @thegabels

This recipe is actually for a MEAL of meatballs,  but I think these are absolutely perfect for a tailgate.  If you use a slow cooker, you can keep them warm and ready to go.  You can make them well in advance, freeze and just re-warm on game day!

This dish has a lot of leniency in how you cook it.  You can either fry or bake your meatballs.  You might be able to actually cook the meatballs right in the sauce, but I haven’t tried it so I can’t vouch for it (although I do often cook meatballs right in marinara sauce).  You can cook the dish in the oven or the slow cooker.  You can serve these babies as is with toothpicks or over rice or pasta.  Whatever your fancy, these will work!

Yields 6

Slow Cooker Barbecue Meatballs

A very flexible recipe for a filling, flavorful dish!

15 minsPrep Time

3 hoursCook Time

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  • For Meatballs:
  • 1 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 3/4 cup oats
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 Tablespoons very finely minced onion
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • Flour and oil for frying
  • For the Sauce:
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 Tablespoons sucanat or sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons vinegar (I like apple cider vinegar in this)
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire (Lea and Perrins is MSG-free)
  • 1/4 cup (or more) diced onion
  • Dash of Tabasco


  1. In a medium bowl, combine all meatball ingredients and mix well, but not too much. I find that my hands work best for this.
  2. Roll meat mixture in to medium sized balls. I use a 1 Tablespoon cookie scoop. Put aside on a cookie sheet or platter.
  3. If frying meatballs, place them in the freezer for 5 minutes.
  4. If baking, bake at 375 degrees just until browned, about 10-15 minutes. Don't cook through!
  5. For frying, heat some oil (I use grapeseed) in a large skillet. Meanwhile, remove meatballs from freezer and start rolling the meatballs in flour. Fry dredged meatballs just until browned, then place in a baking dish or in the crock of slow cooker.
  6. Combine all sauce ingredients and pour over meatballs (either in a baking dish or slow cooker).
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes
  8. OR
  9. Cook in slow cooker for about 2 hours on high.
  10. Serve over noodles or rice.


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3 comments on “Slow Cooker Barbecue Meatballs

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