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Smoked Meatballs

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Smoked meatballs are the best way to elevate your next meal. These quick and easy meatballs are smokey, tender, and delicious!

As a naturally curious person, I'm always looking at ingredients with a critical eye. How can I re-invent this? Or recreate that?

These smoked meatballs are no different! They're perfectly smoked, tender, and totally delicious!

This recipe is dedicated to curiosity.

Smoked meatballs in a bowl with spaghetti.
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Tips + tricks

No. 1 --> I've kept the seasonings pretty simple in this recipe, for a couple of reasons. 1) Over-seasoned meatballs take away from the flavour of the meat, and I like to taste the meat! 2) Keeping the flavour neutral makes this smoked meatball recipe more adaptable.

If you know you're going to make these specifically with spaghetti + marinara or pizza subs in mind, feel free to add a little garlic, a pinch of oregano, and some basil!

Add any seasonings you like to this recipe that you think would pair well with your desired dish!

No. 2 --> Be gentle when forming your meatballs. The resulting ... batter?.... meatball mixture is quite moist, it doesn't take much to roll it into shape. Avoid mashing the mixture together.

No. 3 --> If you're feeling extra fancy, grind up your own meat! For these meatballs, we used my Kitchen Aid meat grinding attachment to grind up a fresh pork butt and beef chuck roast! Yum!

Cast iron dutch oven with spaghetti and smoked meatballs.

Ingredients

  • lean ground beef
  • ground pork
  • eggs
  • onion
  • milk
  • saltine crackers
  • salt + pepper

How to make

  1. Preheat your Traeger or another pellet grill to 180f. Prepare a baking sheet by lining with parchment paper.
  2. While the grill is heating, mix the pork and beef until completely combined. I like to get in there with my hands, it's much easier than using a spoon.
  3. Work in the eggs, onion, and milk.
  4. Add the crushed crackers, salt, pepper and any other desired seasonings. Mix well.
  5. Using an ice cream scoop for large meatballs as seen in these photos, or a cookie scoop for small meatballs, scoop up the meatball mixture and roll meatballs before placing on the prepared baking sheet. I usually scoop a bunch of meatballs into the corner of my baking dish, then roll and place them.
  6. Take the meatballs out to the smoker and place directly on the second rack of your smoker, and place a tin foil-lined baking sheet or chafing pan underneath the meatballs to catch the drippings.
  7. Smoke meatballs at 180f for 20 minutes, then increase the heat and cook for another 17-20 minutes for large meatballs or 7-10 minutes for smaller meatballs. Check doneness - meatballs should be 160-165f internal temperature.
  8. Remove meatballs from the smoker and serve as desired.

How to serve

These meatballs are delicious with spaghetti and marinara, as I've shown in these photos. To serve them, I simply sauteed a chopped yellow onion and red bell pepper in bacon grease then added my favourite marinara sauce and cooked down for 15 minutes. Tossed in some cooked spaghetti noodles and Bob's your uncle!

I have a hunch that these smoked meatballs would be amazing in meatballs subs. And excellent tossed in some BBQ sauce and quickly broiled to caramelize the sugar.

Make ahead

This recipe can definitely be made ahead!

Simply prepare and roll all the meatballs up to 8 hours before serving time, cover with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge until ready to cook.

I'm not a fan of freezing meatballs raw, so I would avoid that!

Smoked meatballs on a baking sheet.

Leftovers?

This recipe can easily be doubled or more, and is a great candidate for freezing.

To freeze these smoked meatballs, cook them as per the directions in the recipe, then cool completely after smoking. Spread them on a baking sheet and place in the freezer until frozen, then transfer to a freezer zip lock bag or vacuum seal for longer term storage.

To use, remove the smoked meatballs from the freezer, spread in a single layer on a baking sheet, cover with foil and heat at 300f until heated through.

Smoker - We own a Traeger Timberline 1300. It's an absolute workhorse in our lives. It runs multiple times a week, year round. Even in our bitterly cold Alberta winters! We LOVE it.

Cookie Scoop - If you're wanting small bite sized meatballs, grab yourself a cookie scoop, it makes the process MUCH easier and as an added bonus, all the balls end up the same size.

Ice Cream Scoop - If you're craving big, showstopper meatballs, I've found the muffin scoop to be the perfect size! This scoop made portioning a breeze for this photo tutorial.

3 large smoked meatballs in a bed of spaghetti and marinara sauce.

Love smoking meat?

Check out these smoked meat recipes!

📖 Printable Recipe

Cut open smoked meatball.
Yield: ~20 large meatballs

Smoked Meatballs

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Tender, smokey meatballs in under an hour! These homemade Traeger / pellet grill meatballs are made with ground beef, ground pork and just the right seasonings. Bet you didn't think smoked meatballs would be so easy to make!

Ingredients

  • 2 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 12 saltine crackers, crushed
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat your Traeger or another pellet grill to 180f. Prepare a baking sheet by lining with parchment paper.
  2. While the grill is heating, mix the pork and beef until completely combined. I like to get in there with my hands, it's much easier than using a spoon.
  3. Work in the eggs, onion, and milk.
  4. Add the crushed crackers, salt, pepper and any other desired seasonings. Mix well.
  5. Using an ice cream scoop for large meatballs, or a cookie scoop for small meatballs, scoop up the meatball mixture and roll meatballs before placing on the prepared baking sheet.
  6. Take the meatballs out to the smoker and place directly on the second rack of your smoker and place a tin foil-lined baking sheet or chafing pan beneath the meatballs to catch drippings.
  7. Smoke meatballs at 180f for 20 minutes, then increase the heat and cook for another 17-20 minutes for large meatballs or 7-10 minutes for smaller meatballs. Smoked meatballs are done when the internal temperature reaches 165f.
  8. Remove meatballs from the smoker and serve as desired.

Notes

Seasonings:

This recipe as written is a very mild flavoured meatball, suitable for addition to any dish that has meatballs. Feel free to add in any desired seasonings that would pair well with your chosen dish.

Make ahead:

Make these meatballs up to 8 hours ahead, leaving them covered with plastic wrap in the fridge until ready to smoke.

Leftovers:

Smoked meatball leftovers can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days, or in a freezer ziplock / vacuum-sealed bag in the freezer for up to 3 months.

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