This article may contain affiliate links which support this site at no cost to you.

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!

Slow Cooker Barbecue Meatballs

Serves 6     adjust servings

Preparation 15 mins
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes

A very flexible recipe for a filling, flavorful dish!


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.
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving As Served
Calories 787kcal Calories from fat 561
% Daily Value
Total Fat 62g 95%
Saturated Fat 12g 60%
Transfat 1g
Cholesterol 85mg 28%
Sodium 654mg 27%
Carbohydrate 33g 11%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Sugars 15g
Protein 25g

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs:

Calories 2000
Total Fat Less than 65g
Sat Fat Less than 25g
Cholesterol Less than 300mg
Sodium Less than 2,400mg
Total Carbohydrate 300g
Dietary Fiber 25g
Did you make this recipe?
Leave review!


This article may contain affiliate links.

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

3 comments on “Slow Cooker Barbecue Meatballs

  1. Pingback:Swedish Meatballs - Growing Up Gabel

  2. Pingback:Super Bowl Recipes That Score a Touchdown! - Growing Up Gabel

  3. Pingback:Slow Cooker Pineapple Meatballs - Growing Up Gabel