Sunday, June 28, 2015

Meatballs in a Simple BBQ Sauce

Meatballs in a Simple BBQ Sauce
This recipe is scaled as a party or potluck size.   I will provide hints at end to make this a bit smaller and geared to a serving size for two people.   This should assist in scaling this to your family size.

Meatballs Ingredients:
  • 4 lbs ground 93% lean beef
  • 2 lbs ground pork
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Ian's Gluten Free Panko Italian Style Breadcrumbs
  • 4 duck eggs
Simple BBQ Sauce Ingredients
  • 5 dried Chile de Arbol
  • 1 smoked dried Ancho Chile
  • 1 dried Chile Panca
  • 4 Cups Water
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 1/2 cup blackstrap molasses
  • 4 tablespoons blueberry jalapeño jam (bought from local farmer)
  • powdered garlic and onion to taste.
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons Honey Powder
  • 2 pieces bacon chopped real fine and rendered/browned on stove.
Making the Sauce:
  • Put Chiles (seeds and all), bacon (with rendered fat), and water in a medium size pot and simmer for 1 hours with top on
  • Once the Chiles have been sufficiently rehydrated (1 hour simmering should do it), using an immersion blender completely liquefy the Chiles and bacon.
  • Add the honey, molasses, Jam, and spices.
  • Pulse a couple times with immersion blender again and ensure that the sauce is smooth with no grittiness.
  • This is where you taste for the first time.  You should get heat, but you should also get a solid BBQ style flavor.  If still too bitter more honey, if too sweet balance out with garlic and onion powder.
  • Low Simmer for another 30 minutes to let the flavors come together and give the sugars (molasses, honey, and jam) to thicken up the sauce.
Making the Meatballs:
  • Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
  • Mix all ingredients by hand.    The end result you want is when you pick up a portion of the meat the whole sticks together.   Add more Panko until you get a good sticky consistency that does not immediately let go of it's neighbor.   You should be able to pick up the whole batch by grabbing a handful at the top at least for a few seconds.   Salt and Pepper sparingly, the main flavor for these meatballs will come from the sauce, there should be adequate Salt and Pepper to provide them an initial flavor when removed from oven, but they will be slightly bland.
  • Roll into a ball that is small enough to be cupped in both hands, roughly an inch or two across.   These are good size meatballs that if you put four on a plate of spaghetti they would be a full meal for a big eater.  You can make smaller meatballs but then you will be spending much more time making meatballs and will need to adjust the cook time and heat.
  • Using a good metal baking pan line up the meat balls on the pan, space them out, but no need to leave too much space.   Note for easy cleanup a good heavy aluminum foil like what you would use for grilling would help.
  • Place the baking pans in the oven for 20 minutes if working with the larger size meatballs recommended.   If the meatballs are smaller then reduce to 10 minutes if roughly half the size recommended.
  • You may need to run multiple batches through oven, if planning this for a party.
  • Once their 20 minutes in oven are done you should have a firm meatball, cooked through that has a nicely browned exterior.
  • Place in Slowcooker.
  • Pour in the completed Sauce and place slow cooker on warm for two hours and wait for your guests.
Total active time in kitchen:  Roughly an hour and most of that is due to batch size, if making this for two servings about 15 minutes active time work needed.
Total Cook time:  Roughly 3 hours.  Note the longer that the Meatballs soak in the sauce in the slow cooker the better the flavors.
Serving Size:   2-3 meatballs per person.   I had 10 people over yesterday and I still have 10 servings left for myself as leftovers.   We also had other items on the potluck including a salad for non-meat eaters and as a side to the meal, as well as some samosa's that were brought from a local restaurant.
Sizing this for families:   I would cut the measured ingredients by 4 to serve this for a family of four.   You should be roughly coming up with 2-3 meatballs per person and with other sides this should be a good size meal.
Spice Level:  This recipe should be considered spicy for the average person.   To reduce the spice level stick with dried ancho or guajillo chiles.