Yep. You read correctly. Your eyes are not deceiving you. I’m finally giving out my recipe for the special sauce you’ve all grown to know and love. A given at my many a holiday parties, exuding effervescence from the crock pot; behold. This recipe contains a LOT of ingredients and ALL are crucial. There are no substitutions.* If you leave out ingredients or swap for something else it might be okay, it might even be great, but it will not be the irresistible. “I’ll have one… no ten more of these,” kind of dish. Proceed with the following directive:
Prep at least 6 hours before serving. Be on site for tasting and stirring in between. Perfection is not "a set it and forget it" option here. The crock pot is a vessel, not a time machine.
- salted butter - 1 Tbs
- brown sugar - 1/8 cup
- granulated sugar - 2 Tbs
- worcestershire sauce - 1.5 tsp
- soy sauce - 1 Tbs
- ketchup - 3/4 cup
- tomato paste - 1, 4 oz. can
- barbecue sauce - 1/4 cup honey mesquite
- dijon mustard - 1 Tbs
- paprika - 1 tsp
- water - 1/.2 cup
- chili powder - 1 Tbs
- smoked salt - 1 tsp
- fresh basil - 1 tsp
- fresh ginger - 1 tsp
- fresh garlic - 2 cloves
- fresh oregano - 1 Tbs
- lemon juice - 1 Tbs, or about one whole lemon
- apple cider vinegar - 1/4 cup
- cayenne pepper - 1/4 tsp
- black pepper - 3/4 tsp
- Melt butter in a sauce pan.
- Add sugars and whisk on medium low heat until dissolved.
- Add the next eight ingredients in the pot. Stir occasionally until fragrant and well combined. Evaporation is cool, but do not boil.
- For the next six ingredients, you can place in a food processor or mince/grate/knife it up by hand. The goal is to break down and incorporate these ingredients into a near paste, then combine with the lemon juice and vinegar.
- Take the heat down and add the cayenne and black pepper to taste after the pot has simmered for at least 30 minutes.
- Add more water or tomato paste or sauces as necessary to get the desired consistency.
- Remove from heat and cool. Refrigerate 6 hours or overnight.
When you're ready for party prep, fire up the crock pot to high heat and dump in the meatballs and sauce. I have a certain brand preference for this recipe found at a warehouse store. Once I master making my own, I'll link to that here. Any-hoo...
Once the sauce and meatballs get hot and steamy, turn to low and let the combo simmer for at least an hour minimum on low. They can go like this for the duration of your party. Just make extra sauce for larger numbers of guests and you can re-load midway.
Hope you enjoy this secret barbecue sauce for meatballs. Cheers!
*There may be a secret ingredient or two that is not discussed here. But you can come pretty close with this recipe.