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  • The Chopping Blog

Holiday Appetizer: Meatballs with Apple Cider BBQ Sauce

Posted by Roger on Nov 16, 2017


This year seemed to fly by so quickly, and already the holidays are here again! I watched my oldest son become a teenager and my youngest son become a superstar of several sports. Those glorious summer months are now on hold for a while, but that's no excuse to miss out on fun family time cooking for the holidays. This year, the boys and I will make these yummy meatballs for our Thanksgiving and Christmas spreads. 

Pork & Pancetta Meatballs with Apple Cider BBQ Sauce

To make the meatballs:

  • 2 Tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 4 ounces pancetta, fine dice
  • 1 shallot, fine dice
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 TBL fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • Salt & pepper to taste


pancetta diced

Diced Pancetta

1. Heat a heavy sauce pan over medium heat and add the grapeseed oil. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring frequently, until brown and crispy. Stir in the shallot and garlic and cook an additional minute. Remove from heat and let cool for a minute. 

pancetta shallots garlic

2. In a medium bowl, mix the pork, parsley, chili powder, cooled pancetta mixture including the fat, season with salt and pepper. 


3. Portion the meatballs into 1-ounce balls. Using a skillet and 2 Tablespoons grapeseed oil, brown the meatballs on all sides, about 4-5 minutes. Handle them gently so they do not fall apart. There aren't any eggs or flour to help hold them together.

Note: You can alternatively place the meatballs on a sheet tray and bake in the oven at 375 F for about 6 minutes, but you don't get the same crispy texture as you do when frying them. 


4. Remove to a dish to cool and prepare the sauce. 

For the Cider BBQ Sauce:

  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1:2 cup cider vinegar
  • 5 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 5 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 Tablespoons onion powder
  • 1/2 Tablespoons mustard powder
  • 1 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste 

1. Place all ingredients in a small sauce pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes stirring occasionally. 

2. Season with salt and pepper, place cooked meatballs in the sauce or drizzle the sauce over the top. 

3. Serve with a sprinkle of fresh parsley.  

meatballs plated

If you are looking for some other holiday entertaining and appetizer ideas (including vegan ones), The Chopping Block has many classes in the coming weeks to help you with you prepare. Be sure to check out: 


Topics: appetizer, appetizers, holiday, holiday party, meatballs, Recipes

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