Are you tired of the average meatball? Then here we have the smoked meatball. The ingredients alone make this a delicious ball, but the smoke tops it off. If that’s not enough, we serve them with a spicy beer-cheese sauce.
For this recipe, we use ground beef with a fat/meat ratio of 20/80. You can also use half and half ground beef and pork, as long as it’s not lean meat. To smoke meat, you need fat, and besides that, fat just tastes good.
You can make about eight thick meatballs from a kilo of minced meat. Of course, you can also make smaller balls to serve as a snack. As long as they don’t get too small. Otherwise, they fall through the grates.
We place the meatballs on the top grates of our smoker. The smoke stays the longest in the lid, and that’s where the meat will catch the most smoke. We insert a thermometer into the left and right meatballs. Every smoker has a hotspot where the temperature is slightly warmer. This way, we can watch whether the meatballs have the same doneness. You could swap them halfway through if you see that the left or right balls go a little faster.
After an hour or two, the balls are a beautiful reddish-brown due to the smoke from the cherry wood. You can see that the balls are certainly not dry. This is why we need fatty meat. At around 60ºC (140F), fat and moisture will be pushed from the meat, and the longer this takes, the drier the balls will become. The little bit of fat in lean ground beef will quickly disappear, resulting in dry balls.
You can make the cheese sauce on the lower grates when the balls are ready. We set the smoker to 250ºC (482F) and let a cast iron skillet heat up. We first make a roux that will become the base of our beer-cheese sauce. This is one of those dishes where you can really taste the beer. We used Belgian blond beer that makes the sauce a lot less heavy.
We use a mix of 3 different types of cheese. We used grated Gruyere with a sweet, nutty taste, aged Gouda that is a bit sharper and Cheddar. We let the cheese melt before placing the meatballs in the sauce.
If you are ready too early, you can keep the meatballs nice and warm in the sauce. We set the smoker to 100ºC (212F) and closed the lid. If you don’t do this, the cheese in the sauce will cool down and thicken again.
These are our smoked meatballs in beer-cheese sauce. They taste great on a white bun or with a plate of pasta. If you are going to make these balls, let us know in a comment below. Or better! Take a photo and post it on Instagram. Tag @bbq.heroes so we can see what you made.
- 1 kilo of minced beef
- 1 white onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 25 grams breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tbsp chipotle pepper
For the cheese sauce
- 100 grams of butter
- 40 grams of flour
- 400 ml whole milk
- 250 ml beer
- 1 tbsp mustard
- 1 chilli pepper
- 300 grams grated cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Place all ingredients for the meatballs in a large bowl and mix well. Then make the meatballs into balls.
- Prepare a barbecue or smoker with an indirect temperature of 120ºC (248F) and some smoke wood.
- Place the balls on the grates and smoke them to a core temperature of 70ºC (158F).
- Meanwhile, make the cheese sauce by making a roux. Place a pan on the stove and melt the butter in it. Sprinkle in the flour while you beat it with a whisk, so you don’t get lumps. Let the roux brown slightly before adding the beer and milk.
- Let the sauce thicken, and then add the grated cheese. Let the cheese melt completely, then stir in the mustard, chopped chilli pepper and garlic.
- Toss the meatballs in the sauce to keep them warm.