I brought some ‘beer balls’ to a potluck lunch at one of the offices the other day. I knew we’d have some Islamic folks who could not eat the combo pork and beef meatballs, so I purposely included some all beef ones but they were touching the porkie ones, leaving me feeling sort of sheepish and those folks missing out on the pleasure of that which is a ‘beer ball’. What is a beer ball, you ask? I knew it was only a matter of time before that question would arise. The sauce idea came from a girl I worked with a few years back, whose mother would send her to work with these amazing meatballs. As elementary as it sounds, all she did was mix ketchup and beer and this incredible sauce was born. I toyed and toyed with the recipe and I only suggest using it with fresh, homemade meatballs. In talking with one of my friends at the potluck, she asked “don’t the meatballs fall apart?” Nope. I use the same recipe over and over, although in cooking intuitively I actually never measure the ingredients. I did that one time so I could put the exact recipe on paper. The recipe below is for my Italian meatballs and the beer ball sauce.
- 2 lbs. ground beef
- ¼ cup fine bread crumbs
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp. granulated garlic
- ¼ cup fine diced onions
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 20 oz. beer (I use miller lite but it’s a personal preference)
- 1 cup + ketchup
- Olive oil
How to make it!
Mix the ground beef, bread crumbs, egg, garlic, onions, salt & pepper together in a large bowl. Shape into small meatballs. Wipe a large frying pan with olive oil, and cook meatballs on medium heat until done. Drain the grease. Pour the beer into a large pot, over medium-low heat. Add the meatballs and let simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Add enough ketchup to thicken the beer, into a nice sauce. Let simmer over medium-low heat for at least 1 hour. Serves 8-12.
Non-beer ball variations
Feeling frisky, like you want to switch things up a bit? Leave out the beer and ketchup for the sauce, and add the following to the meatballs before shaping:
- ¼ cup strained, chopped pineapple bits, and 3 tablespoons of soy sauce
- ¼ cup feta cheese and ¼ cup drained (very well-drained) chopped spinach
- ¼ cup apricot preserves and 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
What other combinations can you come up with?