Smoked Stuffed BBQ Meatballs

4.46 from 11 votes
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These Smoked Meatballs are stuffed with gooey mozzarella cheese, slowly smoked on the grill, and then finished with a BBQ sauce glaze. Smoked Stuffed BBQ Meatballs are the ultimate game day food or appetizer for your next gathering. 

Smoked Stuffed BBQ Meatballs in a cast iron pan

We don’t mess around with meatballs around here. I like to pack them with bold or unique flavors. Whether we’re going with our giant meatballs perfect for a meatball sandwich, or the holiday flavors of the smoked meatballs in a cranberry pinot noir sauce, or even lamb meatballs for a twist, we like to make them big BBQ flavor bombs. We also have a simple smoked BBQ meatball with our wine BBQ sauce if you are looking for something not stuffed.

Now smoked meatballs alone are fantastic. But if you want something fun and indulgent for game day, party appetizer, or heck just a Tuesday night dinner, these Smoked Stuffed BBQ Meatballs are absolutely delicious.


  • Ground Beef – We use 80/20 beef which is 80% lean and 20% fat.
  • Ground Pork – We like the combination of the beef and pork flavor.
  • Panko – We use a gluten free pork panko but regular panko in the same quantity are also fine.
  • Dry Rub – A seasoning of any kind adds a touch of flavor. We like our homemade ultimate dry rub which is a mix of sweet and savory.
  • Dried Thyme – The herbal and aromatic flavor make the meatballs really stand out.
  • Red Onion – Diced.
  • Garlic Clove – Finely diced.
  • Worcestershire Sauce – This adds a nice richness. You could also sub with soy sauce.
  • Egg – Helps the meat bind together.
  • Parmesan Cheese– This also helps the meat bind together as it melts while the meatballs smoke.
  • Mozzarella Cheese Sticks – Cut into roughly 1″ pieces (adjust to the size of your meatballs). You can use any mozzarella but the sticks make for easy preparation.
  • Barbecue Sauce – A rich sauce is glazed on at the end. Alternatively you can use our red wine BBQ sauce.

How to make Smoked Stuffed BBQ Meatballs

We start with the meat. In this case we’re combining beef and pork for added flavor. Then adding flavor and binding in the form of our dry seasonings, liquids, and egg. For the cheese there are plenty of options (cheddar, mozzarella, fontina, provolone, comté, anything that melts well).

We’re going with mozzarella, specifically store-bought string cheese. Why? Because it’s so simple to take the cheese, cut it into small cubes, and stuffed it into that meat! Boom. Feel free to shred your cheese, or spend time cubing up large chunks of cheese yourself. But why when you can just take that long piece of string cheese and cut it. Easy stuffed meatballs, right?

How to stuff meatballs with cheese

Just form your ball and make a little well in it (see photo above), and place your cheese in the well, then cover it up and reshape the ball.

How to Smoke Stuffed Meatballs

Place the stuffed meatballs on the smoker at 225 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the meatballs reach 155 degrees.

In this case we’re smoking the meatballs on the Big Green Egg using apple wood. But these meatballs work great on whatever cooker you have!

How to smoke meatballs

Once the meatballs reach 155 degrees internal temp, transfer them to a heatproof dish (a cast iron pan works perfect for this), and add your BBQ sauce. Gently toss the meatballs around (or use a large spoon) to get the meatballs fully covered in the sauce.

Meatballs on a Big Green Egg smoker

Then place back on the smoker and cook an additional 10-15 minutes, to let the sauce set. When do you know your meatballs are done? When they reach 160 degrees (F) using a good instant read thermometer. In this case you have cheese in the middle, so you want to be sure you are temping the meatball itself, the cheese will come up to temp faster than the meat.

Smoked Meatballs with BBQ Sauce

Can you smell em?

Smoked Meatballs on the Grill

When they’re finished, remove the dish from the smoker, and serve immediately.

You can serve directly from your dish, or transfer to platter.

However you choose to serve them, make sure to dig in while they’re still warm to take advantage of that ooey, gooey, delicious, melted cheesy goodness.

Cheese Stuffed Smoked Meatballs

These are fantastic as a party food, but also make incredible sliders for a meal.

I think you’re going to love these!

Gas Grill: You can modify this recipe with a gas grill using our guide on how to smoke on a gas grill.

Are these Meatballs Gluten Free?

They can be made gluten free by using pork panko “breadcrumbs”. These may be hard to find, but they’re a great substitute for regular panko breadcrumbs. Otherwise use whatever your favorite gluten free breadcrumb substitute.

Equipment Used

We used a FINEX 12″ cast iron pan to finish the meatballs in the smoker with. (affiliate link)

For measuring the internal temperature of the meatballs we use the Thermoworks Thermapen One instant read meat thermometer.

More Meatball Recipes

Cheese Stuffed Smoked Meatballs with BBQ Glaze in a FINEX cast iron pan

About Vindulge

Mary (a certified sommelier and recipe developer) and Sean (backyard pitmaster) are co-authors of the critically acclaimed cookbook, Fire + Wine, and have been creating content for the IACP nominated website Vindulge since 2009. They live in Oregon on a farm just outside Portland.

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Now on 2nd edition

Fire + Wine Cookbook

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Smoked Stuffed BBQ Meatballs in a cast iron pan
4.46 from 11 votes

Smoked Stuffed BBQ Meatballs Recipe

Smoked meatballs stuffed with mozzarella cheese, slowly smoked on the grill, and then finished with a BBQ sauce glaze. These are the ultimate game day food or appetizer for your next gathering. 
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 12 -15 meatballs


  • 1 lb ground beef (80/20)
  • lb ground pork
  • ¼ cup pork panko (if gluten-free), otherwise regular panko breadcrumbs are fine
  • 1 tablespoon dry rub (we used the one in the notes below)
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 4 mozzarella cheese sticks, cut into roughly 1″ pieces (adjust to the size of your meatballs)
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce


  • Preparation: Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees F. We used apple wood chunks with lump charcoal on our Big Green Egg.
  • Make Meatballs: While the smoker is warming, prepare the meatballs by combining all ingredients (less the BBQ sauce and mozzarella cheese) and combine with your hands. Be gentle just mix enough so it's all together.
  • Roll: Prepare meatballs by rolling a little over a tablespoon in size and then using your thumb, press a small indent and place cheese in the fold. Then work the meatball again around the cheese so you have the meat surrounding the cheese. That's why we go with larger meatballs.
  • Smoke: Place meatballs in the smoker until the internal temperature reaches 155 degrees (about 45 minutes) when checking the internal temperature of the meat. Then place the meatballs in a heat proof dish (or cast iron skillet) with the BBQ sauce and return to your smoker and close lid.
  • Serve: When the meatballs reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees (or about 15 more minutes) they are done. Serve warm!!!


*The Dry Rub we use for these meatballs. 


Calories: 214kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 55mg | Sodium: 409mg | Potassium: 233mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 91IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Course: Appetizer, gluten free, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 -15 meatballs
Calories: 214
Keyword: bbq meatballs, party meatballs, smoked meatballs, stuffed meatballs
Like this recipe? Leave a comment below!

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About Mary

I'm Mary, a wine/food/travel writer, Certified Sommelier, mom of twins, former vegetarian turned BBQ fanatic, runner, founder of Vindulge, and author of Fire + Wine cookbook. Thanks for stopping by!

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    1. If you want to completely make these in advance (versus making the raw meatballs and cooking) I would completely cook as the instructions suggest. Cool in the refrigerator. Reheat in an oven at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes with more sauce. They will warm up, the fresh sauce will firm up, and the cheese should be melted through.

  1. 5 stars
    These are ridiculously good! I made them in my Masterbuilt electric smoker. I actually finished them in the oven on broil to get a nice thick bbq sauce glaze on them. I made them into meatball sandwiches with Provolone cheese melted on top and a little sprinkle of parsley.

  2. I think we’ll try these out today!! They look amazing! And the maple-orange salmon is on Gary’s to-do list! Plus more poppers…. I feel like we’re in training for some big game coming up

  3. Oh my! These look delicious! Probably something I shouldn’t be reading while fasting lol!! I’ve found some really good gluten free breadcrumbs at places like Whole Foods – and they’re just as good. Can you still make these if you don’t have a smoker?

    1. Danielle, absolutely. You don’t need a smoker. Since you aren’t as worried about the slow part for flavor, you can pre cook in the oven at higher heat on a sheet pan and add the sauce at the end.

  4. For a second I thought those bites of cheese were marshmallows and I was all, WHAAAAAA? Then I looked closer. Cheese is probably more delicious than marshmallows in meatballs. 😉