Smoked Meatballs with a Cranberry and Red Wine Sauce

Smoked Meatballs with Cranberry Wine Sauce

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


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
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 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 fruity red wine Pinot Noir or other fruity red wine like Zinfandel
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard


For the Meatballs:

  • Preheat smoker to 225 degrees.
  • Mix all meatball ingredients together in a large bowl. Mix well with your hands.
  • Shape into approximately 1-inch balls.
  • 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:

  • In a medium size saucepan, combine the cranberry sauce, wine, brown sugar and Dijon mustard.
  • Bring to a simmer and whisk continuously for about 5 minutes to allow the sauce to begin to reduce and thicken.
  • Transfer the sauce to a crock-pot, add the meatballs, and gently stir together. Keep warm.


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.