Tangy BBQ Meatball Sliders

Ingredients

  • cooking spray
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • ⅔ cup molasses (such as Grandma’s®)
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 ½ tablespoons dry mustard powder (such as Colman’s®)
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco®), or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • ½ pound ground beef
  • ½ pound ground pork
  • ¾ cup fresh bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon stone-ground mustard
  • 1 teaspoon grill seasoning (such as Montreal Steak Seasoning®)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 12slider-size burger buns
  • Directions

  • Step 1

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Place a baking rack sprayed with nonstick cooking spray onto a foil-lined baking pan.

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  • Step 2

    Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and saute for about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add ketchup, molasses, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard powder, hot sauce, and cayenne pepper; mix well. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Add a bit of water if sauce gets too thick.

  • Step 3

    Meanwhile, combine beef, pork, bread crumbs, milk, egg, mustard, steak seasoning, and garlic in a bowl. Use a 2-tablespoon cookie scoop to form meat mixture into balls, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Place meatballs on the rack, leaving enough space between them so they’ll brown on all sides.

  • Step 4

    Bake meatballs in the preheated oven until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F (71 degrees C), 25 to 30 minutes.

  • Step 5

    Gently stir meatballs into the BBQ sauce. Simmer until meatballs are heated through, 10 to 15 minutes. Divide saucy meatballs among the slider buns.

  • Cook's Notes:

    After simmering the meatballs in the sauce, you may transfer both to a slow cooker on Low for serving later in the day. Both can also be made in advance and frozen.

    Brioche rolls, if available, make good slider buns.

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