Like a lot of snack foods and appetizers, meatballs are good when they’re done right and unappetizing when done poorly. Today’s recipe is an excellent way to ensure your meatballs are awesome by adding beer!
I adapted the recipe from two others. The main reference point for the meatballs was the Beeroness’ Stout Meatball recipe. The other recipe was from a family friend and I adapted the sauce by incorporating elements from both recipes.
For this recipe I used Moody Ales’ Smoldering Smoked Porter: an intensely smoky and very drinkable beer. Since the recipe was looking to produce a smoky-spicy product, I thought the this beer would be a fitting compliment (with the added benefit of not needing to go and purchase some smoked paprika!).
The outcome is a sweet, spicy, smoky, umami meatball sauce smothering soft and juicy little balls of goodness. Even the meatballs keep some of that beery-flavour after cooking which I was surprised about! Paired with the leftover porter they were excellent: the meatballs cutting through the smokiness to reveal those luscious chocolate and malt flavours in the beer.
My instructions suggest that you make the sauce while the meat is chilling. I didn’t follow that suggestion and instead made the sauce while my meatballs were baking. Either way works, but you may find it easier to follow these directions, especially if your counter space is at a premium (like mine) or if you don’t like feeling rushed while cooking.
What you need
All right, the ingredients:
For the meatballs
- ½ lb ground beef
- ½ lb ground pork
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 ½ tsp ground chili powder
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper (or more to taste, I used about 1 tsp)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup breadcrumbs
- ¼ Moody Ales Smoldering Smoked Porter
For the sauce
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 4-6 cloves of garlic, minced or grated (I grated mine into a fine paste so it mixed into the sauce better)
- ⅓ cup of soya sauce
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 3 tbsp ketchup
- 2 tbsp hot sauce (I used Sriracha)
- 2 tsp smoked paprika (if not using a smoky beer)
- 1 cup of Moody Ales Smoldering Smoked Porter
- ¼ cup of brown sugar
How to do it
- Combine all the dry ingredients into a single bowl.
- When well mixed, add in the meat and stir to combine (or use your hands if that’s easier).
- Add the egg and mix to combine.
- Add the beer and combine well. The mixture will seem wet at first. Be sure not to over-handle the meat as this creates an undesirable texture. Instead simply work it until everything is mixed together.
- Cover and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour to let the flavours combine. You can leave it overnight if you prefer and have the time.
- Add the olive oil to a saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute for about 30 seconds to 1 minute to release the flavours.
- Add all of the other sauce ingredients to the saucepan and stir to combine.
- Simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened and reduced – about 12-15 minutes (don’t worry if it’s not very thick, we will thicken it more in later steps).
- Once your meat has had time to chill, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Once rested, shape the meat into balls of the desired size (about half the size of an egg for appetizers). Use a spoon or an ice cream scoop to help shape the meat if you need it.
- Place the meatballs on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes, until starting to brown.
- Heat a large skillet with a little bit of olive oil on medium-high heat and fry the meatballs to help them crisp up – about 3-4 minutes.
- Add the sauce. Stir to coat and let the sauce reduce further until it is like a thick glaze – about 5-7 minutes. Turn down the heat slightly and keep stirring to keep the sauce from sticking or charring. The sauce will thicken further on standing.
Makes approximately 2 dozen meatballs.