If you have ever tried to grill meatballs, you may have encountered a few challenges. If you don’t know how to grill meatballs properly, you end up with crumbled bits of beef falling into your fire and not much to eat! My husband and I have a Big Green Egg ceramic grill and we use it year round. We try to create all sorts of new recipes on the grill and not just stick to burgers or chicken breast. If you want to try grilled meatballs this summer, I thought I would share a few tips that might increase your chances of success. I will also share a few meatball recipes to help get you started.
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How To Grill Meatballs
As a general rule of thumb when grilling meatballs, for 3-inch meatballs you want to cook them on one side for about 4 to 5 minutes. Then gently roll them over to the opposite side and grill another 4 to 5 minutes or until cooked through. Use a grill that is heated to approximately 350 degrees and oil the grates with olive oil. Add some wood chips to give them a nice smokey flavor. Before you get started, however, keep in mind these meatball grilling tips!
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- Start with a clean grate: Any bits and pieces of your last grilled recipe that are left behind may end up sticking to your meatballs. This will cause them to fall apart. Preheat your grill and give it a good scraping with a grill brush before you start cooking.
- Brush meatballs with olive oil: Brush both the grill grate AND the meatballs with olive oil before you cook. Seriously…any amount of sticking is going to ruin your meatball recipe!
- Make them the right size: You need to know how far apart your grill grates are if you are placing them directly on the grill. You also have the option of making smaller meatballs and threading them on wooden skewers . Consider investing in a meatball grilling basket.
- Firm up your meatball recipe: You want to make a fairly basic meatball recipe. That means one without a ton of vegetables or one that is too ‘wet’. Keep it to a basic meat, egg, spice, breadcrumb type of recipe, especially if you aren’t using a grilling basket. If it is too wet, add more breadcrumbs.
- Chill them before grilling: To help firm up your meatballs, chill them before you put them on the grill. I have even seen recommendations for freezing them for 15 minutes before grilling.
- Turn them only once: Don’t roll the meatballs around any more than you have to. Turn them once halfway through cooking. Then leave them alone.
Mouthwatering Meatball Recipes
You can probably try just about any meatball recipes on the grill but I thought I would share a few that might inspire you to pull off the grill cover this weekend. Remember the tips above about how to grill meatballs and adjust the recommended cooking times as needed for your particular recipe.
- Meatballs without breadcrumbs: If you are gluten-free or Paleo, you can make these meatballs without breadcrumbs from Confessions of an Overworked Mom.
- Grilled Turkey Meatball Kebabs: Want to skip the beef and eat a little bit lighter? Try these Grilled Turkey Meatball Kebabs from My Columbian Recipes.
- Caribbean Jerk Meatballs with Dipping Sauce: If you love the flavors of the Caribbean, try these grilled meatballs from Suburbia Unwrapped.
- Sweet and Sour Meatballs: This is one of my favorite flavors for meatballs. Head over to Taste and Tell for this delicious meatball recipe!
- Firecracker Chicken Meatballs: I love spicy foods and these firecracker chicken meatballs from Little Spice Jar look divine!
Once you know how to grill meatballs you will never want to cook them in the oven again! Your meatball recipes will taste SO much better grilled over an open fire!
Have any other meatball grilling tips to share?
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Diane has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology with a Minor in Health Management and Policy. She spent many years working in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging as a way to share this knowledge with others. While passionate about health and the environment she can’t quite give up her favorite Cheetos and Diet Coke! Learn more about her HERE.