Smoked Meatballs Stuffed Mini Super-Bowls
Description: Smoked beef & pork meatballs, dotted with cheese with hints of pesto, are grilled and tucked into a cast iron skillet, with mozzarella slices, to simmer in Arrabbiata sauce. The ooey gooey smoked meatballs are stuffed in mini Super-Bowl bread bowls for a festive game day food or any day super delicious bite!
Thankful for my partnership with Primo Ceramic Grills! What incredibly delicious smoked recipes I get to make!
SMOKED MEATBALL INGREDIENT TIPS
Smoked meatballs are always a favorite because they are easy to prepare and smoke on the Primo Ceramic Grill.
*CHOOSE YOUR FAVORITE MEAT: ground pork, beef, bacon, lamb, turkey, or chicken; you choose! I have two favorites, a combo of ground beef and ground pork, and ground chicken. Explore and have fun with your combinations of meat just remember meatballs need fat! Once I added bacon to my beef mixture, and it was fantastic!
*ADD A BINDER: egg yolk, cracker crumbs, bread crumbs, Panko crumbs, ricotta cheese or even rice!
*ADD SPICES: granulated garlic, cumin, coriander, and smoked paprika OR dried Italian spice blend. Do you have a favorite dry spice rub, go ahead and use it!
*ADD AROMATICS: sautéed onions, fresh garlic, green peppers, red bell pepper, poblano and jalapeño peppers. Or try some fresh herbs like minced oregano, parsley, basil, cilantro, and tarragon. No limits ~ just your favorites!
MAKING A TASTY MEATBALL THAT IS NOT DRY OR TOUGH
*ADD MOISTURE: If you are creating your own meat mixture for smoked meatballs, make sure to add binders that are moist. In the recipe below the eggs, ricotta, and milk bring moisture and help to bind the Panko crumbs and spices to the meat. When there is not enough fat and binder in a meatball the protein will shrink and the meatball will be touch.
*SEASON AGGRESSIVELY: To check to see if your spice blend is to your applause, mix the meatball mixture and form a little, 1-inch meatball. Microwave the mini meatball for 20-40 seconds to cook through. Taste and adjust meatball seasoning to your palates desire.
*MIX LIGHTLY: Mix meatballs in a small rimmed baking half sheet pan instead of a mixing bowl. A 9”x 13” baking pan will do! This will help you not to over-mix. The recipe instructs to combine the Panko crumbs and seasoning before adding to the meat. The wet ingredients are combined before adding to the meat as well. These two steps will allow for less mixing of the meat mixture. I will way it again, lightly mix the meat mixture!
*FORMING A MEATBALL: To make meatballs that are the same size, use a measuring cup, I like 1/3-cup. Oil both of your hands, and make a cup with the palm of one hand. Place 1/3-cup meat mixture in the cupped hand, and gently roll with your top hand, without pressing down. Once a ball is formed do not press or pack the meatball or it become tough, rubbery, and chewy.
HOW TO SMOKE MEATBALLS
Make the meatballs first, cover, and place in the refrigerator. Set the Primo Ceramic Grill for 275°F indirect heat. Place the Primo Heat Deflector Racks on the lowest position and the the Primo Ceramic Heat Deflector Plates on the highest position. Place a aluminum drip tray, store bought or homemade, under the grill racks. My meatballs were cooked through after 25 -30 minutes when checked by breaking one open; surprised me! The meatballs simmer in Marinara or Arrabbicata Sauce for another 10-15 minutes to absorb more pecan smoke and juiciness! Meatballs have completed cooking when 165°F has been reached on a probe thermometer. Don’t be alarmed if the internal temperature goes higher, the cheese in the meatball will raise the temperature. Serve the meatballs as soon as possible so that you and your diners can enjoy every bite of the ooey gooey melting mozzarella cheese.
MINI SUB SUPER-BOWLS
To hollow a mini sub or French roll, cut a center circle about the size of the meatball, a little larger than a quarter. Use your fingers to pinch out the bread, leaving at least 1/4-inch rim. Meatballs are so sauces you might need to eat the Super-Bowls with a fork! Oh by the way, don’t use soft dinner rolls choose stiffer French, Sourdough, or day old rolls!
You can use any favorite store bought or homemade pasta sauce! You will need 28-32 ounces to adequately cover the meatballs in a 12-inch cast iron skillet. If you use a 10-inch cast iron skillet you can probably get by with 24-ounces. The day I made the meatballs I happened to have a 32-ounce jar of Arrabbiata in the pantry so I grabbed it, and it was so fabulous I will choose the exact sauce again.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MARINARA SAUCE and ARRABBIATA SAUCE
Both sauces use tomatoes as a base but arrabbiata sauce includes red chile peppers for a touch of spice. Arrabbiata (feminine) or Arrabbiato (masculine) is an Italian word for angry, meaning you are making angry or spicy sauce! If you cannot find Arrabbiata sauce make some by adding 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes to your favorite pasta sauce.
Review the Primo Cooking Configurations card, found in your Primo Grill box, on how to set up your Primo Grill for “Grill & Sear”, “Grill & Roast”, “Bake, Roast, Smoke”. For smoked meatballs use a full load of charcoal. You will be using indirect heat in this recipe by using two ceramic heat deflector plates. Insert the heat deflector racks on the lowest position. Wrap the heat deflector plates in foil to help keep clean before inserting onto the heat deflector racks. Center a shallow aluminum pan or formed foil pan on top of the heat deflectors. Place the grilling racks on the highest position in the Primo Ceramic Oval Grill.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Website: Primo Ceramic Grills
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Smoked Meatballs Mini Super-Bowls
Serves: 16 meatballs Prep Time: 15 minutes Smoke Time: 45 minutes
16 ounces ground beef
12-16 ounces ground pork
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 1/2 teaspoon Pink Himalayan Salt
1/2 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Zest from one lemon, optional
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/3 cup refrigerated pesto
1/4 cup whole or 2% milk
2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella, store bought or hand grated
1 (32 ounces) Marinara or Arrabbiata pasta sauce
1 (8 - 12 ounces) mozzarella ball, cut in 14-16 slices
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, store bought or hand grated
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
16 French or mini submarine rolls, cut center hole and hollow slightly
Primo Lump Charcoal
2 pecan (3-inch) wood chunks
Primo QuickLights Fire Starters
Primo Heat Deflector Racks, Primo Ceramic Heat Deflector Plates
Break up ground beef and pork, and place on a small rimmed baking sheet.
Combine Panko, salt, paprika, red pepper flakes, black pepper, and lemon zest. Sprinkle crumb mixture over ground meat, and lightly mix.
Combine ricotta, pesto, milk, and egg yolks. Pour over seasoned ground meat then sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese, and lightly mix.
Use an 1/3-cup measuring cup to form 16 meatballs. For best results cover and place in refrigerator 30 minutes or up until 5 hours.
Cut mozzarella ball in about 1/8-inch wide slices. Grate Parmesan Cheese. Mince parley.
Hollow out the inside center of each roll, leaving at least 1/4-inch rim.
Use a full load of Primo lump charcoal. Light the charcoal with one or two fire starter cubes and leave the dome open. Place 2 pecan wood chunks at different ends of the lump charcoal. Wait 5-8 minutes for the charcoal to build a small bed of embers.
Invert Primo Heat Deflector Racks to the lowest position above the embers. Wrap the Primo Ceramic Heat Deflector Plates in aluminum foil, and place on deflector racks. To catch fat and juices from meatballs, position a shallow aluminum pan or homemade rimmed foil drip pan, on top of the deflector plate, directly under the grilling surface.
Place grilling racks on the highest position.
After small embers can be seen, close the dome with the bottom draft door and top vent fully open. Allow the temperature to reach 250°F then set the draft door to 1/2-inch open and the top vent to 1/2-inch open with the daisy wheel holes fully open. Adjust the top vent as needed to maintain the target temperature of 275°F.
Open the dome. Brush the grill grates with cooking oil. Place the meatballs in the center of the grilling surface, over the drip pan.
Smoke meatballs for 30-45 minutes at 275°F, or until the internal temperature has of the meatballs reaches 150°F to 155°F.
Pour half of the pasta sauce into a large cast iron skillet. Transfer the meatballs into the skillet. Spoon sauce over meatballs. Arrange mozzarella slices in between meatballs. Pour remaining pasta sauce over meatballs and cheese.
Increase heat in grill to 300°F by opening the bottom and top vents half way. Smoke meatballs in sauce, with the dome down, for 10-15 minutes or longer. Meatballs are ready to eat once the internal temperature of the meatballs reaches 165°F.
Open dome, grill rolls, cut side down, for a few minutes to warm and lightly brown.
Spoon pasta and cheese into the super-bowl sub roll and top with a meatball. Sprinkle with parsley and parmesan cheese. Serve warm.