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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!!
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.
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?!
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!
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.
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!
Smoked Meatballs Recipe FAQ
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.
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.
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!
With love, from our simple kitchen to yours.
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Other Simple Smoker Recipes
- 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.
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.
Originally published August 2022, updated and republished April 2023
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Made these for a work potluck, everyone loved them!