So, yes, maybe I have a thing going on with meatballs. You guys seem to love them so I doubt we really have a problem, right? I decided to do a little searching about the history of meatballs (nerd alert!) and I found out that nearly every region of the world eats meatballs in some form.
I don’t do much thinking about sports – not that I don’t like them – but other things take priority in our house. Sports are fun, tailgating is more fun and (I’ve said this before), sports are more about the food than the actual game. I know this is true for some of you, too. So that one big, super football game that is coming up? Well, here’s your appetizer: cheeseburger meatballs.
Cheeseburgers are a tailgating must, am I wrong? So I was brainstorming some tailgating recipes and my mind kept going back to a classic cheeseburger – you can’t have a tailgate party without cheeseburgers. But how do I turn those into a bite-sized, travel-friendly snack? Why not just throw all of the traditional cheeseburger toppings into some ground meat with an egg, seasonings and some breadcrumbs and call it a meatball? B.i.n.g.o.
A few weeks ago I was received a load of new toys from Calphalon. Included was an XL Digital Convection Oven. You guys, Paul has never been so excited about a new kitchen tool as he was when we pulled this one out of the box. I just so happened to be making the meatballs that very day and the oven was the perfect way to cook them. It heats up so quickly, cooked the meatballs with a really even brown on all sides and my 9×13 pan fits in the oven – perfection! I think Paul has used it nearly daily since we took it out of the box and just yesterday I said to him “I really love this little oven”!
Oh, and come back on Wednesday for a “round 2” recipe with these meatballs!
Cheeseburger Meatballs with Copycat "Special Sauce" Recipe
Yield: 24 meatballs
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
A twist on a tailgating favorite: cheeseburgers. A savory meatball recipe with cheese, pickles, ketchup and onions and a "special" dipping sauce on the side.
for the meatballs:
1 pound lean ground beef
1 package onion soup mix
2 Tbs. chopped dill pickles
1 Tbs. ketchup
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
for the copycat “Special Sauce”:
1/3 cup mayonnaise
3 Tbs. ketchup
2 Tbs. sweet pickle relish
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. distilled vinegar
3/4 tsp. onion powder
Salt & pepper to taste
In a large bowl, mix the beef, onion soup mix, chopped pickles, ketchup, garlic powder, egg, salt and pepper together until combined. Add the breadcrumbs and cheese and mix well. At this point the mixture should hold together very well. If it doesn't, add another 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs and mix, repeating until the mixture holds together, as if you were making a meatloaf.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly spray a 9x13 cookie sheet with non-stick spray. (I use a Misto sprayer.) Roll the meatballs into approximately 1-inch balls and place, evenly spaced, onto the baking sheet.
Bake in the 375 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, until cooked through.
While the meatballs bake, mix the ingredients for the sauce and refrigerate until ready to use.
Baking the meatballs helps to cut down on added fat of frying. I also used very lean ground beef for these as well. To cut down on fat even more, use ground turkey in place of ground beef. Note that if you use ground turkey, you will need more bread crumbs for the mixture to hold together.
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