Bourbon BBQ Meatballs

By Brandy O'Neill

These simple appetizer spinach meatballs are the perfect holiday addition – a quick homemade bourbon BBQ sauce mixed with savory meatballs. What's not to love?

  • Yield: 18-20 meatballs
  • Course: Appetizer

All you need for this recipe and more...


For the meatballs:

  • 1 pound ground meatloaf mix (ground beef, pork and veal)
  • 1 cup chopped fresh baby spinach
  • 1/3 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil 
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika 
  • ¼ teaspoon chipotle chili powder 
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste

For the sauce: 

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • ½ cup bourbon 
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon honey mustard
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • Pinch kosher salt


  1. For the meatballs: Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat liner.
  2. In a large bowl, add all meatball ingredients. Using your hands mix together until fully incorporated. Roll into about 2-inch sized balls and place onto prepared baking sheet.
  3. Bake for about 15-20 minutes until no longer pink. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  4. For the sauce: Add all sauce ingredients to a large covered skillet over medium heat. Whisk together to combine.
  5. Let the sauce mixture simmer for 20 minutes – just until it starts to bubble and cook down.
  6. Add meatballs to the sauce, cover and let simmer for 5 minutes. Uncover, flip the meatballs and simmer until ready to serve.
  7. Make sure to keep an eye on the sauce so it does't cook down too much.