Smoked Meatballs With Bacon (Pellet Smoker Recipe)

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Smoked Meatballs are beyond juicy, SO scrumptious, and great for appetizers or an easy dinner. With pockets of ooey-gooey cheese and tangy sauce, this truly is the perfect smoked meatball recipe!!

titled image for smoked meatballs


I have an infatuation with meatball recipes — I can’t help myself! 

There are countless ways to make them, from classics like oven baked Italian to outrageous jalapeno bacon meatballs!! 

But, I’m telling you, barbecued meatballs are one of the most delicious ways to enjoy them.

ingredients for smoked meatball recipe

Smoked Meatballs

This smoked meatball recipe couldn’t be easier to make. 

With just 10 minutes of prep and 2 hours of cook time, you’re set for the most tender, juicy, and flavorful meatballs you’ve ever had! 

Traeger meatballs are smoky and spicy, with plenty of cheese, peppers, and bacon — what’s not to love?!

This is my favorite way to make homemade meatballs. It’s such an easy recipe to do! 

ingredients for bbq bacon meatballs in white bowl

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Ground Beef – When smoking meatballs, you want to choose a pack of beef that isn’t too lean. An 80/20 ratio is perfect! 

    Some recipes call for a mix of beef and pork – feel free to combine or use any proteins you like, but be sure to adjust the cooking time to compensate.
  • Cream Cheese & Shredded Cheese – If you aren’t as obsessed with cheese as I am, you can leave this out. 

    But for fellow cheese lovers, I recommend either Monterey Jack, cheddar, or Colby Jack for this smoked meatballs recipe!
  • Seasoned Bread Crumbs – You have a couple of options!

    Italian or panko breadcrumbs are two awesome choices, but you can also add your own seasonings to regular breadcrumbs. 

    Try paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, or really any powdered herb.
  • Bacon – Feel free to cook some bacon and dice it up, or take the easy route and use bacon bits! Or, you could even cook your bacon in the air fryer!
  • Jalapeños – The perfect partner for cream cheese and bacon! If these peppers are too hot, you can sub in banana peppers instead or leave them out entirely.
  • New Mexico Chili Powder – I just adore this spice for its fruity, earthy heat. 

    Any chili powder you have in your cabinet can be used as a substitute in this smoked meatball recipe, but I really recommend giving this one a try!
scooped meatballs in foil tray

Tips for Smoking Meatballs

The last thing you want is a tough, dry meatball! There are two ways to avoid that: with quality ingredients, and during preparation!

You want to avoid overmixing the ground beef. One way to easily control the speed is with a stand mixer and a dough hook, keeping the speed at low to medium. 

But whether mixing by hand, with an electric hand mixer, or stand mixer, mix only until just combined.

As for the ingredients, the breadcrumbs and eggs will do their part to keep the smoked meatballs tender. 

The cream cheese and shredded cheddar cheese really helps, too! And as I advised above, you should use beef that isn’t too lean.

smoked meatballs in aluminum pan

Storing and Reheating Leftovers

Refrigerate leftover BBQ bacon meatballs for up to 4 days in an airtight container along with the sauce. 

To reheat, you can toss them in the oven between 300°F and 350°F until they’re warmed to the center. Or, just microwave them!

Smoked meatballs are also great to freeze, though you should do so before cooking. 

Form the balls and freeze for up to 2 months. Let them thaw in the fridge, then smoke as usual!

close up: smoked bbq bacon meatballs

Smoked Meatballs Recipe FAQ

How can you tell when meatballs are done cooking? 

When you’re working with smoked meats, the best way to judge doneness is with the internal temperature of the food. 

The safe internal temp for meatballs made with ground beef is 145°F. 

So as soon as your digital thermometer reads 145°F, get them out of the smoker and let them cool! 

And be sure to let them rest for at least a couple of minutes before serving.

Can you smoke ground meat? 

Absolutely! I’m not sure if there’s a meat you can’t smoke. You can smoke ground beef on its own, or in a recipe like with these smoked meatballs.

What makes a meatball fall apart? 

Without a good binding agent, even the tastiest meatball will fall apart when cooked! 

Luckily, we have a couple in our smoked meatballs recipe: eggs, breadcrumbs, and then a bit of shredded cheese for good measure!

What’s the easiest way to make moist meatballs?

The key to a tender meatball, and one full of moisture, is to not overcook it. Use a meat mixture that has a higher fat content as well for the best results. 

If all else fails, and if the meatballs are somehow dry, this is where you can smother then with BBQ sauce! 

How can I use leftover meatballs?

Once you smoke meatballs, you can save some for the next day! One of my favorite ways to use leftover meatballs is to make meatball subs. That smoke flavor paired with the sauteed onion is something that the whole family will love to eat.

You can also dip the meatballs in your favorite sauce as well. The only thing that you have to do is make sure to reheat the leftovers all the way, and then you can enjoy them again.

The juicy meatballs reheat really well, so the next time you make this recipe, consider making a double batch! This easy smoker recipe is the first thing that I think of when I’m craving Italian flavors. It’s a great addition to any party, and everyone who tries this meatball mixture loves it. 

smoked meatball with parsley on toothpick

With love, from our simple kitchen to yours.

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bowl of saucy meatballs garnished with parsley

smoked meatballs closeup

Smoked Meatballs With Bacon (Pellet Smoker Recipe)

Donna Elick
Smoked Meatballs are super juicy and scrumptious, and great for appetizers or an easy dinner. This is the perfect smoked meatball recipe!!
5 stars from 1 review
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Course Appetizer, Main
Cuisine American
Method Smoker
Servings 10 4 meatballs each


  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup shredded cheese, (Monterey Jack, Cheddar, or Colby Jack)
  • 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked and diced
  • 6 jalapeños, finely diced
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoon New Mexico chili powder
  • 2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper


  • Preheat the smoker to 200°F.
  • Add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl and use gloved hands to combine. Be careful not to overmix, as this causes tough, dry meatballs. *See Notes
  • Using a cookie scoop, portion out meat mixture; lightly wet your hands and roll or shape mixture into meatballs. Place meatballs into a single layer in the aluminum pans; do not overlap..
  • Smoke for 1 to 1 ½ hours; no tossing or flipping is necessary..
  • While warm, toss smoked meatballs in BBQ sauce or other sauce of choice, if desired.

Donna’s Notes

Alternatively, all ingredients can be added to a stand mixer bowl and combined using a dough hook on medium speed. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl periodically.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 391cal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 128mg | Sodium: 900mg | Sugar: 2g | Fiber: 1g | Calcium: 117mg | Iron: 3mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
titled image for smoked meatball recipe

Originally published August 2022, updated and republished April 2024

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