August 23

Smoked Meatballs Recipe on an Offset Smoker


Smoked Meatballs Recipe on the Meadow Creek SQ36 Offset Smoker

In this story, we're cooking up a generous batch of smoked meatballs on my offset smoker

Let me say up-front, these may not be the kind of meatballs you're expecting. We're not talking about spaghetti or sub meatballs or Swedish meatballs with a gravy... these are cooked in a sweet BBQ-style sauce that pairs excellently with mashed potatoes for a satisfying homestyle meal.

If meatloaf is the ultimate soul food, I'm gonna have to put it in second place because these babies are comfort food at its finest!

Smoked Meatballs

Smoked meatballs in the SQ36

Growing up with Amish-style cooking, we frequently ate meatballs served with mashed white potatoes and a vegetable, such as green beans. In fact, I may have eaten meatballs in a sub roll no more than once in my lifetime, and my Mom's spaghetti was a casserole-type dish without meatballs. My wife also grew up Amish, so we still enjoy many meals like the one in this recipe. 

Smoked Meatballs

Meatballs served with potatoes and beans

In the last couple of years, our family has made some major changes in our diet, including a limit on grains and refined sugars. With some trial and error, my wife was able to create a grain-free version of her classic meatball recipe. In this post, we're making her meatball recipe exactly like she would in the kitchen except we're cooking them in my wood-fired offset smoker.

Hang on tight, because things are about to get really tasty!

Firing the SQ36 Offset Smoker for Smoked Meatballs

We fired the SQ36 smoker with Chef's Select charcoal briquettes and a seasoned hardwood log split from my stash of firewood. Our target temperature is 250 degrees F and the estimated cook time is 1-1/2 hours.

The temperature isn't critical because in the kitchen we'd cook these at 350 degrees. When making these in the smoker, I like to drop the temperature and extend the cook time so that the smoke has more time to flavor the meat and sauce. 

We fired the smoker about an hour in advance so we added a second log split when we put the meatballs on the smoker and added a couple of pounds of charcoal about 45 minutes into the cook.

If your smoker produces a burst of heavy smoke for 10 minutes after adding the wood, don't worry about it on a 1-hour cook like this. Over-smoking is more of an issue on a longer cook.

Offset Smoker

The beauty of an offset smoker is your ability to access the fire.

Need tips on firing and maintaining temperature in the SQ36?

Mixing the Smoked Meatballs

We enjoy cooking in cast iron skillets and I'm using them for this recipe. Measure the mix for each ball so they are uniform in size. A 1/8 cup (2-tablespoon) measuring spoon is the perfect size for these, but you can make them any size you prefer.

I've included the meatball and sauce recipe at the end of this post.

Meatball Ingredients

The ingredients we add to the meat

Meatball Ingredients

Adding the egg

Meatball Ingredients

Ready to mix

Meatball Mix

"The ball"

Measuring the Meatballs

Measuring the meat

Measuring the Meatballs

We're using a 1/8 cup measure (2 tablespoons).

Meatballs in Skillets

In the skillets ready for the smoker

The SQ36 offset smoker is an ideal choice for backyarders who appreciate handmade quality and the chance to become a real "pitmaster." 

The Sauce for My Smoked Meatballs

Mix the sauce and pour it over the balls. Use a brush to spread the sauce evenly over the balls.

Sauce on Meatballs

Pouring the sauce

Sauce on Meatballs

What a cheerful looking dish!

Sauce on Meatballs

Brushing the sauce

Sauce on Meatballs

Almost ready for the smoker

Smoking Meatballs

On the smoker

Meatballs on Smoker

Three skillets fit on the SQ36 grate nicely.

I couldn't be happier with the versatility of the SQ36. Maintaining temperature is very easy once you get the vents at the right spot.

—Kevin Rau

We've got many more happy customers. Read some of their stories here:

SQ36 Offset Smoker

The SQ36 offset smoker is perfect for a barbecue enthusiast who appreciates handmade quality and wishes to become a real pitmaster.

Skillets on Smoker

Meatballs hanging out in the smoke


Another peek...

SQ36 Offset Smoker

My patio would be sad without my SQ36!

Fire in Offset Smoker

Small, hot fire in the SQ36 firebox

Meatballs on Smoker

Getting there

Smoked Meatballs in Skillets

The color on these is fantastic!

Smoked Meatballs Meal

Served with mashed potatoes, gravy, and beans.

Smoke Ring on Meatball

Cut view of a meatball

Cooks Done on the SQ36

Here is a collection of stories and recipes from the fun times I've had cooking on my SQ36 offset smoker.

Smoked Meatballs Recipe

Here is our family's favorite meatball recipe that my wife has been using for years. Currently, she replaces the oats, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce with equal amounts of the paleo-friendly ingredients listed in parentheses. Use the recipe that suits you best. If you're avoiding dairy, it would be easy to swap the milk with almond milk too.

It has taken some experimenting to figure out how to make a grain-free meatloaf and meatball that we really love. The pork rinds are a healthy and perfect alternative for the oats. To prepare the pork rinds, simply pulse them in a food processor until they have a texture similar to that of oats.

Credits go to my wife Esther and her passion for cooking food that's both healthy and delicious!

Meatballs Ingredients

  • 3 pounds ground beef
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups quick oats (or crushed pork rinds)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder

Combine the ingredients by hand in a mixing bowl. Use a 1/8 cup measuring spoon to size the meatballs and form them with your hands. Arrange the balls single-layer into cast iron skillets.

Sauce Ingredients

  • 1-1/4 cups ketchup
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1-1/4 cups brown sugar (or coconut sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (or coconut aminos)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped

Combine the ingredients until the sugar has dissolved, then pour the sauce over the meatballs and use a brush to evenly coat the meat. Next, cook the meatballs in the smoker at 250 degrees until the internal temperature of the balls reaches 170 degrees (around 1-1/2 hours).

Where to Buy an SQ36

On the product page, click on "Customize" to see a list of available options or "Request a Quote" to send a quote request to your nearest dealer. You can also do a dealer search to find the nearest retail store that carries our equipment.


offset smoker, smoked meatballs, sq36 smoker

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