Instant Pot Sweet n’ Smoky BBQ Meatballs

I don’t often follow a pre-made recipe. In fact I’d say that unless I’m baking something, I basically never follow a formal recipe. Recipes are like jumping off points, inspirational guidelines, if you will.

I say this because you’ve probably seen a recipe or two already that calls for grape jelly to make those slow cooker party meatballs or lil’ smokies sausages. The recipe below also calls for grape jelly, so you might think this recipe is just more of the same that you’ve seen before. But you’d be wrong my friend.

Most of those recipes call for frozen pre-made meatballs. We’re not going to do that. Oh no. We’re going to whip up a batch of homemade meatballs and it’s going to be so easy and tasty you’re going to wonder why you ever bought those frozen ones.

(Of course, no judgement if you DO want to use frozen meatballs. You do you, boo.)

NOTE: YOU WILL NEED A FOOD PROCESSOR FOR THIS RECIPE!

ingredients:

  • 1/2lb ground hamburger
  • 1/2lb ground country style sausage (not italian!)
  • 4 slices maple or hickory bacon
  • 1-2 eggs
  • 1 jar grape jelly
  • 1-2 bottles bbq sauce (I recommend something like Sweet Baby Ray’s in an original or hickory flavor.)
  • Cardamom (about 1-2tsps)
  • Ginger (about 1-2tsps)
  • Ground Sage (1/2 TBSP plus 1/2 TBSP)
  • 1tsp Salt
  • 1tsp Black Pepper
  • 2TBSP Oil
  • 1/2 cup water.

directions:

Step 1: Prepare the meatball mixture

In a food processor, add all meats, 1 egg, cardamom, ginger, 1/2TBSP sage, salt, and black pepper. Pulse until everything is well mixed. If the mixture does not combine well enough (should be easy to scoop and roll into ball shape), add the second egg and re-mix.

Note: Go light on the cardamom, you can always add more into the sauce if you feel it’s needed. Too much cardamom can be overpowering.

Step 2: Shape meatballs and brown

Using a soup spoon, scoop mixture and shape into roughly 1 inch balls. (If you make them too big, they will need to cook longer in the IP). Heat oil in a skillet and brown meatballs, gently turning so they don’t fall apart. You do not need to cook them all the way through! Browning helps them retain some shape and keeps them from sticking together in the IP. (You can skip this step if you’re short on time. I’ve done this recipe both ways and they’ve turned out fine without pre-browning.)

Step 3: Pressure Cook

Place meatballs in IP. Add 1/2 cup water to bottom.Add in 1/2TBSP ground sage. Pour bbq sauce over meatballs. Scoop out grape jelly on the very top. DO NOT STIR/MIX!!!!
Cook on high pressure for 10 minutes. Allow to naturally vent for 5 minutes, then quick release the pressure.

Step 4: Thicken sauce

You MAY need to thicken the sauce if it is too thin for your liking. You can do this by removing the meatballs, and placing the IP on sauté. Allow sauce to boil in IP with the lid OFF until it thickens to your liking. For a faster method and creating a super thick sauce, remove meatballs, place IP on sauté and add a bit of dissolved cornstarch 1TBSP at a time. Stir constantly until sauce reaches desired thickness.

Step 5: Serve

Return meatballs to IP to coat in sauce. Add salt/pepper/spices to taste. Serve hot over homemade mashed potatoes, pasta, or rice!

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