Party Meatballs


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You know those SAD (standard American diet) party meatballs, right? The sauce is made with store bought chili sauce and cranberry sauce. You simply throw a bag of frozen meatballs into a slow cooker along with the sauces and wait for the party meatball magic happen.

Since we were hosting a simple {who am I trying to kid?} Thanksgiving feast three years back, I was thinking of other meats to serve alongside the turkey. Then I remembered the party meatballs… “I must paleofy them!

Party Meatballs | Enjoying this Journey...

Making the meatballs was simple enough. I don’t add eggs to my meatballs anyway, just plenty of seasoning and they don’t fall apart. Now for the sauce, I wouldn’t be able to use a chili sauce… or tomato sauce for that matter (nightshades are 86ed on the paleo autoimmune protocol). I figured the ginger in my cranberry sauce would lend its spice, the cranberries would bring their tartness, and the barbecue sauce would add an unexpected layer of smoky yumminess.

Two sauces cleared the path for the experimentation and creation of this recipe:

I used: #60 cookie scoop, it measures 9/16 oz or 1 TB. It is perfect for consistently sized meatballs!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Party Meatballs
Recipe type: Entree, Appetizer
Cuisine: Paleo, Primal
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-5
Everyone knows the well-known "party meatballs". Not only did I make it paleo-friendly, but I managed to make it autoimmune protocol paleo-friendly as well!
  • 1.15 lb grassfed ground beef
  • ½ tsp organic sage
  • ½ tsp organic turmeric
  • ½ tsp organic garlic powder
  • ½ tsp organic thyme
  • ½ tsp organic parsley
  • 1 tsp sea salt of choice
  • ½ cup Ginger Pear Cranberry Sauce
  • ½ cup Smoked Cherry Barbecue Sauce or KC Naturals Primal Cherry Barbecue Sauce
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper and a wire rack and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the ground beef with the seasonings. Do not over mix.
  3. Scoop out the mixture using a #60 cookie scoop and form into uniform meatballs. Place each on the wire rack. Continue until the meatball mixture is gone.
  4. Bake in the oven 15-20 minutes. I don't bother turning them, but I do check to see how they are coming along. 🙂
  5. Once they are cooked, remove from the oven and set aside.
  6. In a large skillet, heat the Ginger Pear Cranberry Sauce and Smoked Cherry Barbecue Sauce over medium heat.
  7. Gently roll the meatballs around the sauce to coat and cook letting the flavors meld together - about 5 minutes.
  8. Remove from heat and serve immediately.
Note: alternatively, you could make the meatballs ahead of time, let them cool, and freeze them to use later.

Party Meatballs | Enjoying this Journey...

You can throw everything together in one small batch like I did. But recently, I made a batch of Ginger Pear Cranberry Sauce and a double batch of the Smoked Cherry Barbecue Sauce. I also pre-cooked a triple batch of meatballs, cooled, and tossed them in the freezer. It was lots of prep work, but it was all worth it because on Thanksgiving, I just loaded my slow cooker, tended to the turkey and ham, and the 1,291 other things I needed to do… all while the paleo party meatball magic happened.

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Party Meatballs | Enjoying this Journey...

This recipe was shared on the Little Bites of Beauty AIP Christmas Recipe Party.

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  7 comments for “Party Meatballs

  1. February 23, 2014 at 8:45am

    These look amazing! I can’t read the other measurements in the recipe though. What is the fraction? Thank you for posting this! Can’t wait to try them!
    Melinda recently posted…How Mama Love Can Change The WorldMy Profile

    • February 23, 2014 at 9:12am

      Thank you, Melinda! I tweaked the font size, but just the same – it’s half of a cup of both ginger pear cranberry sauce and smoked cherry barbecue sauce and half of a teaspoon each for the spices.

  2. Sara B
    February 23, 2014 at 11:39am

    I love that this has Turmeric, as I’m always looking for ways to incorporate that spice into foods. I’ll be making these soon! Thank you for sharing.

    • February 23, 2014 at 11:55am

      Thanks, Sara! I feel like I’ve been adding turmeric to everything! I giggled when my rheumatologist asked if I had heard of it before, he suggested I start cooking with it. 😉

  3. December 16, 2016 at 12:08am

    Erin, what a cool idea to serve your meatballs on pretty spoons like that!!
    I love them!!!

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