Last week when I was planning for Super Bowl snacks I decided to make meatballs in the crock pot. But I didn’t want to bring the every day expected meatballs to the family Super Bowl party. Instead I set out to up the playing field and create a party snack with a hint of a southern twist. After a bit of experimentation, and a few sips of bourbon later, Maple Peach Bourbon Glazed Meatballs were born. Sweet from the peach preserves and maple syrup, with a kick of spice from the smoked paprika, and oaky bourbon undertones, these meatballs are not your average party snack.
The best thing about these meatballs? They aren’t just for snacking. The day I was playing with the recipe we had them for dinner as a meatball sandwich on toasted buns. Personally, I think they would be great served with herb butter noodles and a green vegetable. They also make an easy anytime appetizer. You can bake and freeze these meatballs to have on hand whenever needed. Take them out of the freezer, put them in your crock pot with a few easy ingredients, and you have a delicious appetizer waiting for you just a few hours later.
And wait, did I mention you can make these several days before and freeze them? Party prep or dinner prep is a breeze! Like, just take out of the freezer, add a few ingredients, and away you go.
You can use store-bought frozen meatballs for this recipe if you are in a pinch for time, but I highly suggest the meatball recipe. With cinnamon and smoked paprika, and a hint of thyme, these meatballs really complement the maple peach bourbon glaze. I make an extra batch so I have some in the freezer for whenever I need them.
Maple Peach Bourbon Glazed Meatballs
For these meatballs I used a one-to-one ratio of ground beef and mild sausage. I like the added flavor the sausage gives the meatballs. Because I would have fat from the mild sausage, I opted for a 92% lean ground sirloin since I did not want the extra fat, but any ground beef will do. Place the ground sirloin, sausages, eggs, thyme, cinnamon, smoked paprika, garlic powder, minced onion, salt and pepper in a bowl and mix well.
Make sure you mix the ground beef and sausage very well to fully incorporate the two meats.
I used a small cookie scoop to make appetizer size meatballs. If you don’t have a scoop, you can use a spoon and form meatballs about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.
Place the meatballs in a baking dish and bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.
Once the meatballs have finished baking, remove them from the pan and place on a paper towel lined dish or plate to let some of the fat drain off.
You can either continue with the recipe at this point, or let them cool and freeze them.
To finish the meatballs, place the ingredients for the glaze in the bottom of the crock pot and mix well. Then add the meatballs (frozen or just baked) and stir to coat the meatballs well.
Let the meatballs cook on high for 4 hours, or low for 8 hours, stirring occasionally to coat the meatballs in the glaze.
One thing for sure – make sure you have plenty on hand because these meatballs went quick in my house of generally picky eaters!