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The best smoked meatball sliders

These are the best smoked meatball sliders and I’m so happy to finally be able to share them with you. These delicious meatballs are made from scratch using a 50-50 blend of ground beef and pork. They are seasoned well with salt, pepper, fennel and garlic as well as Italian bread crumbs and eggs to make them come together.

Smoking the meatballs really takes them to another level and right before they are assembled they sit in some marinara to really soak up all that flavor. These sliders are perfectly portioned for snacking and sharing with friends and family.

Smoked meatball sliders
Photos for this recipe are from Erin Hungsberg (IG: erin_hungsberg)

Ingredients you will need for smoked meatball sliders

  • Hawaiian roll sweet slider buns
  • Marinara Sauce
  • Provolone cheese
  • Ground beef
  • Ground pork
  • Eggs
  • Bread crumbs
  • Seasonings for meatball
  • Butter
  • Parsley
  • Garlic paste

How to make smoked meatball sliders

These meatball sliders are really easy to make just follow the instructions below or check out this video. If you want to make smoked meatball subs I have the recipe for that too!

Making the meatballs.

Any good meatball starts with a nice blend of ground meat, seasonings, and binder. For this homemade meatballs recipe, we recommend using a mix of beef and pork for a well-rounded flavor. 

Place a pound each of ground beef and pork in a large mixing bowl. Add your preferred mix of herbs and spices. I use salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, fennel seed, crushed red pepper, parlsey and Italian bread crumbs.

Some people also add grated parmesan cheese and/or Italian seasoning for extra flavor.

Next, add the binder. Eggs work well to add moisture and hold the meat mixture together. Crack one egg into your bowl and mix everything together with a fork or your hands until it’s evenly combined.

Now comes the fun part—making the meatballs. Use your hands or a cookie scoop to form golf ball-sized meatballs. You want them to be about 3 ozs in size.

Homemade meatballs

Smoking the meatballs.

Once the meatballs are formed, it’s time to smoke them. You can use any type of smoker you have on hand. Preheat your smoker to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and place the meatballs directly on the grates. Let them smoke for 30 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees.

Smoked meatballs

Saucing the meatballs.

While the meatballs are smoking, make the tomato sauce, either from scratch or using your favorite store-bought Marinara. I prefer the convenience of store-bought, but homemade sauce will certainly make your sliders even more delicious. 

Heat Marinara sauce on medium heat, toss the smoked meatballs in the sauce and simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes to let the flavors combine.

Meatballs simmering in sauce

Once the meatballs are fully cooked and coated in sauce, it’s time to assemble your sliders. You can use any Hawaiian rolls but I’m using King’s Hawaiian sweet slider buns as they already come pre-sliced, making my life much easier.

Assembling the meatball sliders.

Remove the top buns and layer the bottom buns with a layer of cheese, thin layer of Marinara sauce, a meatball, and more provolone cheese (or mozzarella cheese, if you prefer). You can add more if you like it extra saucy and cheesy.

Next, prepare some garlic and herb butter by combining melted butter with chopped parsley and garlic paste. Place the top buns back on and brush with the butter mixture.

Put the assembled sliders into a sheet pan and pop into the smoker or oven for an additional 15 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly and the tops are lightly toasted. 

Once done, remove from the smoker and let them cool for a few minutes before serving.

Make a complete meal out of these smoked Italian meatball sliders by serving them with some crispy French fries, fresh salad, or homemade pasta salad.

Variations

  • Cheese it up – Stuff the meatballs with cubes of your favorite cheese, such as mozzarella or cheddar, for an ooey-gooey surprise inside.
  • Bbq meatball sliders – Instead of marinara sauce, coat meatballs with a sweet and tangy bbq sauce. I have a recipe for smoked bbq meatballs here.
  • Extra hot – Grab your favorite hot sauce and add a few dashes to the meat mixture for a spicy kick.
Smoked meatball sliders

How to store smoked meatball sliders

Although these sliders are best enjoyed fresh off the grill, leftovers can be easily stored in the fridge for 4-5 days. Wrap the sliders individually in foil and store them in an airtight container for maximum freshness and easy reheating.

A great tip is to reheat them in the oven rather than the microwave for a better overall texture and flavor.

On the other hand, any leftover meatballs, whether coated or uncoated, can be used in other dishes such as pasta, pizza, sandwiches, soups, and salads.

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The best smoked meatball sliders

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  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 pack slider buns (Kings Hawaiian preferred) 
  • 1 jar marinara sauce 
  • 8 slices of provolone or mozzarella cheese 
  • 1 pound ground beef 
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 2 beaten eggs 
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs 
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper 
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seed 
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder 
  • 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter 
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley 
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste 

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl mix ground pork, ground beef, eggs, Italian bread crumbs, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, fennel, and crushed red pepper flakes together. 
  2. Form golf ball sized meatballs and place them on your smoker at 350°F for 30 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 145°F internal. 
  3. Heat up a jar of marinara on medium low heat in a pan and place meatballs in. Stir them around to make sure sauce is coating the entire meatball. Let them simmer for another 30 minutes. 
  4. To the bottom of the slider buns add a layer of provolone cheese, followed by marinara sauce from pan, and one meatball per slider, then top with more cheese. 
  5. Place the top buns back on and brush with garlic and herb butter. To make the butter combine melted butter with chopped parsley and garlic paste. 
  6. Place sliders back into your smoker or oven at 350°F until the cheese has melted and the top buns are slighty toasted. 

Notes

  • Author: Jordan Hanger
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

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