Rich and flavorful Bacon Meatballs simmered in an indulgent Bourbon BBQ sauce. Ready in 30 minutes, they make a perfect appetizer or a delicious weeknight family dinner served on sandwich rolls or over a bed of creamy mashed potatoes.

White skillet filled with bacon bourbon meatballs and topped with fresh parsley.

About these Bacon Bourbon Meatballs:

  • Texture & Taste: The meatballs are crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside and ultra flavorful thanks to the rich and indulgent Bourbon BBQ sauce they are simmered in.
  • Great for family dinner: serve these bacon meatballs on some sandwich rolls with melty provolone cheese. Or over a bed of creamy, white cheddar mashed potatoes. 
  • Fun Appetizer Meatball option: add some flair to the appetizer table with this recipe! They will stay nice and warm in a small slow cooker. 

Ingredients: 

Ingredients needed to make bacon bourbon meatballs laid on the counter.

Notes on Some Ingredients:

  • Ground Beef: an 80/20 mixture is good, you want to keep some fats in the meat. And all excess grease will be drained after cooking before adding the sauce. 
  • BBQ Sauce: use your favorite kind. Some good store-bought options include: Sweet Baby Rays or Kraft, or you can grab your favorite specialty sauce. 
  • Breadcrumbs: use an original style, not already seasoned. 
  • Bourbon: use what you have on hand, a favorite, or grab a mini bottle of Maker’s Mark from the liquor store.

How to Make (step-by-step)

Step by step how to make bacon meatballs, showing processing bacon to grind it and being added to additional ingredients in a glass bowl to mix.
  • Step 1: Process the bacon with onion. This ensures a smooth finish to the meatballs by grinding up the bacon and the onion. If you don’t have a food processor you can use a blender, just be sure not to over-blend. Or you can finely dice those ingredients if needed. 
  • Step 2: Mix ingredients for meat mixture.  Using your hands mix up the meats with the remaining ingredients needed. 
Step by step how to make bacon meatballs showing meat being scooped out and formed into round balls and cooked in skillet.
  • Step 3: Form Meatballs. Using a cookie scoop, or tablespoon, scoop up the meat and roll with your hands to form round ball shapes about 1 inch in diameter. Using a scoop helps to ensure a consistent size. 
  • Step 4: Cook the meatballs in a skillet until cooked throughout. Remove from the skillet, pour out any excess grease and then add in the sauces. 
  • Step 5: Simmer in the sauce. Let the meatballs cook in the sauce for at least 10 minutes (can always do this longer for more flavor). 
Spoon serving up cooked bacon meatballs in a bourbon BBQ sauce.

Expert Tips:

  • Don’t overwork: mixing by hand makes it easier to mix the ingredients together without overworking the meat mixture.
  • Use a cookie scoop to make your meatballs, this helps keep them the same size which is important for even cooking.
  • How to taste test: you can always test your meatballs before cooking up the entire batch by making one small patty of meat and cooking it completely. This allows you to taste and adjust before cooking up all the meatballs. 

F.A.Q’s

Which Bourbon is best to use?

Any bourbon you like or have on hand is going to work in this recipe. If you don’t have any on hand you can find small miniature bottles at the liquor store, Maker’s Mark is a good option to try.

Does the alcohol cook out?

Not completely. For more information check out this article. If you are cooking for someone who is unable to have any amount of alcohol in their system I would advise against adding the bourbon.

Can I freeze these meatballs? 

Yes. Cook the meatballs completely through, then allow to cool. Lay them on a cookie sheet in a single layer, not touching, and freeze until solid (overnight is great). Then transfer the meatballs to a freezer bag or freezer safe container for up to 2 months.

Up close view of a skillet filled with cooked bacon meatballs in a rich bourbon bbq sauce.

Serving Suggestions:

If you tried this recipe please leave a comment and a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating below! Thank you so much!

White skillet filled with bacon bourbon meatballs and topped with fresh parsley.

Bacon Bourbon Meatballs

These indulgent meatballs are made with bacon and ground beef and simmered in a bourbon bbq sauce. Perfect to serve as an appetizer for the big game or on a sandwich for family dinner!
4.97 from 30 votes

Ingredients

  • 6 slices bacon
  • ½ yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce
  • ½ cup beef broth
  • 3 tbsp bourbon

Instructions

  • Blend: Place the uncooked bacon into a food processor and process for about 1 minute or until bacon is finely ground up. Add in the onion and process until onion is finely chopped and mixed in.
  • Meat Mixture: Spoon bacon and onion mixture into large bowl. Add ground beef, breadcrumbs, parsley, egg, chili powder, and salt. Stir to combine.
  • Form Meatballs: Scoop out the meat mixture and roll into balls using your palms, should make about 24 1 inch meatballs.
  • Saute: Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Place the meatballs into the sauce pan and cook, turning every couple minutes to ensure all sides cook evenly. Cook for about 8-10 minutes until fully cooked.
  • Grease: Remove the meatballs and set aside. Remove the pan from the heat and pour out the excess grease.
  • Simmer: Add the barbecue sauce, broth and bourbon to the saucepan and return to heat. Stir to mix the sauce together. Add in the meatballs and allow them to simmer in the sauce for at least 10 minutes.

Video

Notes

*Recipes containing alcohol are intended for those 21 years of age and older only. Please drink responsibly. If you are cooking for someone who is unable to have any amount of alcohol in their system I would advise against adding the bourbon. Be aware that cooking does not remove all traces of alcohol.
  • Ground Beef: an 80/20 mixture is good, you want to keep some fats in the meat. And all excess grease will be drained after cooking before adding the sauce. 
  • BBQ Sauce: use your favorite kind. Some good store-bought options include: Sweet Baby Rays or Kraft, or you can grab your favorite specialty sauce. 
  • Breadcrumbs: use an original style, not already seasoned. 
  • Bourbon: use what you have on hand, a favorite, or grab a mini bottle of Maker’s Mark from the liquor store.
  • Don’t overwork: mixing by hand makes it easier to mix the ingredients together without overworking the meat mixture.
  • Use a cookie scoop to make your meatballs, this helps keep them the same size which is important for even cooking.
  • How to taste test: you can always test your meatballs before cooking up the entire batch by making one small patty of meat and cooking it completely. This allows you to taste and adjust before cooking up all the meatballs. 
  • Freezing: Cook the meatballs completely through, then allow to cool. Lay them on a cookie sheet in a single layer, not touching, and freeze until solid (overnight is great). Then transfer the meatballs to a freezer bag or freezer safe container for up to 2 months.

Nutrition

Calories: 113kcal, Carbohydrates: 7g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 24mg, Sodium: 290mg, Potassium: 104mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 98IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 13mg, Iron: 1mg
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Recipe first published January 18, 2016. Updated August 27, 2021 with new images, video and information. Recipe is unchanged.

Photography done by the talented @KJandCompany.co