Bacon-wrapped, cheese-stuffed, smoky barbecue meatballs

Bacon-wrapped, cheese-stuffed, smoky barbecue meatballs

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(2 ratings)

Prep: 35 mins Cook: 35 mins


makes 20

This is all-American 'tailgate' food. The magic ingredient is liquid smoke. Added to the basting sauce and meatballs, it gives a moreish quality you won't be able to resist!

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per meatball

  • kcal109
  • fat5g
  • saturates3g
  • carbs6g
  • sugars4g
  • fibre0g
  • protein9g
  • salt0.7g
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    For the smoky BBQ basting sauce

    • 240g cider vinegar
    • 120g ketchup
    • 55g soft brown sugar
    • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
    • 1 tsp liquid smoke (see tip below)
    • 1 tsp red chilli flakes

    For the meatballs

    • 500g lean beef mince
    • 1 egg



      The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition packed with protein and a…

    • 2 thick slices brown bread, blitzed into breadcrumbs
    • 1 tsp smoked paprika
    • 1 tsp cumin



      An aromatic spice native to eastern Mediteranean countries and Upper Egypt. This warm,…

    • 1 tsp liquid smoke
    • 20 mini mozzarella balls
    • 10 slices smoked streaky bacon


    1. Put all the ingredients for the smoky BBQ sauce in a pan, add 125ml water and season well, then bring to a simmer, whisking until combined. Leave to cool.

    2. In a bowl, mix together all the meatball ingredients, except the cheese and bacon, and season well. Take a walnut-sized piece of the mixture and flatten it with your hands, then wrap it gently around a mozzarella ball and roll it into a circle the size of a ping-pong ball. You should end up with 20 balls.

    3. Cut each slice of bacon in half across the short side and wrap half a slice around each ball. Transfer the balls to a baking tray with the overlapping bacon edges underneath, and cook at 190C/170C fan/gas 5 for 20 mins. Brush with the BBQ sauce and return to the oven for 8-10 mins more or until nicely browned. Brush again with sauce and eat warm, with even more sauce on the side for dipping.

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    Comments, questions and tips

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    25th Feb, 2017
    Great recipe, and was very tasty. Meatballs succulent. However, sauce turned out much thiner than shows on the picture (I would leave out the water next time) and had a very strong vinegar taste.
    cosmic226's picture
    8th Jun, 2016
    It was the sauce that made these meatballs otherwise they were extremely bland. Followed the recipe but maybe it needs more smoked paprika or even chilli? Mozzarella is a great melting cheese but again not much flavour. The sauce was great, very intense and recommended for burgers!
    5th Jun, 2016
    These are delicious (even without the liquid smoke which wouldn't have arrived on time!) But to add to vixvix's comment below, I did make the BBQ sauce which had a really lovely flavour but was way more liquidy than I thought it would be or than the pic suggested! Quite spicy too with the full tsp of chilli flakes but that depends on your tastebuds I suppose! I also think that I would wrap each meatball with bacon directly after I put the mozzarella ball inside - I had some escaped mozzarella and I think this could have been avoided had I sealed the joins with bacon.
    5th Oct, 2016
    These are lovely meatballs which were straightforward to make and easy to cook. My rating refers only to the meatballs and cooking method (I used a jar of homemade BBQ sauce which I already had in my fridge for basting and serving so I can't comment on the sauce recipe given here). I made double the quantity and froze a batch of the raw meatballs for defrosting and cooking at a later date. This worked well.
    12th Jun, 2016
    Is the cider vinegar meant to be 240mls? I've never measured a liquid in grammes before.
    27th Feb, 2017
    Waitrose sell Stubbs Liquid Smoke, £1.89
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