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Smoked Meatballs with a Cranberry and Red Wine Sauce

Smoked Meatballs in a Cranberry Pinot Noir Sauce

A simple, delicious, and elegant appetizer idea for the holidays. Smoked meatballs made with pork and beef, cooked on the smoker, and then braised in a sweet and savory cranberry wine sauce.
Course Appetizer
Cuisine appetizer, bbq, BBQ, Barbecue, holiday
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 20 meatballs
Author Mary Cressler, Vindulge

Ingredients

For the Meatballs:

  • ½ pound ground beef
  • ½ pound ground pork
  • ½ onion finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic finely diced
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs or breadcrumb substitute like Panko
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper

For the Cranberry Wine Sauce:

  • 1 16-ounce can cranberry sauce
  • 1 cup Pinot Noir or other fruity red wine like Zinfandel
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Instructions

For the Meatballs:

  1. Preheat smoker to 225 degrees.
  2. Mix all meatball ingredients together in a large bowl. Mix well with your hands.
  3. Shape into approximately 1-inch balls.
  4. Place on the smoker until the internal temperature of the meatballs reads 165 degrees (roughly 1 hour on the smoker). Remove from smoker and add to the cranberry wine sauce (below).

For the Cranberry Wine Sauce:

  1. In a medium size saucepan, combine the cranberry sauce, wine, brown sugar and Dijon mustard.
  2. Bring to a simmer and whisk continuously for about 5 minutes to allow the sauce to begin to reduce and thicken.
  3. Serve, or to keep warm for a long period of time, transfer the sauce to a crock-pot, add the meatballs, and gently stir together. Keep warm.

Recipe Notes

Alternatively you can cook the meatballs on the stovetop in a heavy pot or large pan, coated with oil and set to med heat. Cook, and rotate the meatballs so all sides get browned (roughly 4-5 minutes). After they are browned transfer to an oven set to 375 for an additional 10-15 minutes until the internal temperature of the meatballs is 165 degrees.

TIME HACK?
If you don't have time to make your own meatballs buy frozen meatballs and thaw them in the sauce for a super quick and easy holiday appetizer.