meatballs in bowl

Bubie’s Meatballs …

Well, this isn’t exactly Bubie’s Meatball Recipe — the turmeric and chipotle should give that away — but I’ll still refer to it as such!

All amounts are guesstimates; making meatballs, and the sauce, is more of a, “pinch-of-this handful-of-that”, sort of recipe.

I suggest you don’t use less than  3 pounds of meat. It only takes a few minutes to roll out the extra meat, other than that the time invested is the same. I made meatballs a few days early, while one of my sons was home visiting and ended up having to make a second batch so I’d have some to serve at Rosh Hashana dinner!! They also freeze beautifully.

meatballs in bowl 3Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a sheet-pan with tin foil and parchment paper.

Prepare the meatballs first and while they’re baking in the oven make the sauce.


4 lbs lean ground beef, or a combination of beef and ground chicken

1/4 cup Barbecue Sauce (I like smokey-sweet)

2 tbs grainy mustard or dijon mustard

3 green onions (scallions), chopped

Fresh Herbs, chopped — I often use Rosemary, but will use thyme if that’s what I have

a sprinkle of Turmeric (“because I can…”)

1 large egg, beaten

1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper

1 Tsp chopped chipotle in adobo sauce

1 Fuji Apple, peeled and finely grated

Kosher salt – using kosher meat I add less than 1/2 tsp, but if you’re using an un-brined meat, use a more generous amount of salt to help bring out the natural flavor

meatball ingredientsCombine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

Meatballs -rawGently roll into balls, approximately 1.5″ in diameter. Do not over-roll, leave them light and imperfect.

Place the meatballs on the prepared sheet pan.

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, turning them over after 10 minutes.

Meatballs - partial roastThe meatballs end up sitting in a pool of fat. After removing the meatballs I just roll up the tin foil with parchment and discard ~~ makes for a simple clean-up!

Meatballs on paper towelRemove from oven and place on paper towels to absorb any excess fat.


Olive Oil, just enough to cover the bottom of your pot

1 large Red pepper, coarsely chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1″ grated fresh ginger

cranberry juice – approximately 1/2 bottle (64oz/1.89L)

tomato juice – approximately 1/2 bottle (46oz/1.36L)

1-2 tbsp brown sugar

1-2 tsp chopped chipotle in adobo sauce – optional

Kosher salt and black pepper

1/4 cup Barbecue Sauce

Heat olive oil in a dutch-oven.

Meatballs - sauceSaute the onion and red pepper over medium-high heat. When they begin to soften, about 5 minutes, add garlic and ginger. Cook just until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add all other ingredients and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer.

meatballs cooking- croppedAfter draining the meatballs, place them in the sauce and cook uncovered, on medium-low heat, for an hour, allowing the favors to meld and the sauce to thicken.

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