The Most Traditional Of My
Barbecue Meatballs Recipes

Crock pot or slow cooker barbecue meatballs recipes are really tasty and easy to do. In this one I’ve concentrated on getting that barbecue flavour from a very traditional homemade BBQ sauce.

crock pot barbecue meatballs in sauce

I've also chosen to add one of my favourite ingredients; smoked paprika. This will add a different dimension and a natural smoky flavour compared to the false processed flavouring that is liquid smoke.

One of the benefits of using the slow cooker is not only having the ability to mimic the low and slow process of smoking meat but practically speaking, you can prepare in advance, go out do a days work and come back to beautiful barbecue cooking.

To fully get the flavor out of this recipe there is slightly more preparation than you might expect because the meatballs need to be browned in a frying pan first. Not only does this add a color dimension it also adds flavor so it's well worth the extra 5 or 10 minutes.

Serves:- 8 people

Preparation Time:- 20 minutes
Cooking Time:- 6 hours

Total Time:- 6 hours 20 minutes


  • Gluten is present in the breadcrumbs and flour but can be easily substituted out using the respective gluten free alternatives.
  • Both fish and gluten is present in the Worcestershire sauce but note that some gluten free alternatives also contain no fish.
  • Mustard - just omit this element.
  • Egg - try egg replacer, it works just as well as a binder.

Meatball Ingredients:-

  • 1Kg / 2.2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 100g / 4 oz breadcrumbs
  • 1 beaten free range egg
  • 1 teaspoon mixed dried herbs
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil

Sauce Ingredients:-

  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 400g or 14oz can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dry English mustard
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ground black pepper to taste


Throw all the ingredients for the meatballs into a bowl (with the exception of the flour and oil), get stuck in with your hands and give it a good mulch around until everything is well mixed together.

TIP - Wash your hands and keep them wet. If you use wet hands to shape the meat balls then the meat won't stick to your hands.

Take a small handful of the meat mix and shape it into a ball. Repeat this exercise until there's no mix left.

Place a frying pan over a medium heat and add a tablespoon of cooking oil. Roll the meatballs lightly in the flour and then pop them into the frying pan for about 5 minutes (moving them around) to add some color.

pan fried meatballs add colour and flavour

Once brown they are going in the slow cooker so it's not essential to ensure that they are cooked through.

For the sauce, just mix the sauce ingredients together in a saucepan and warm gently until the sugar has dissolved.

When the meatballs are nicely brown all over, place them in the slow cooker and pour over the BBQ sauce. Set on low and cook for six hours.  

When barbecue meatballs recipes turn out looking like this...

For a variation on a theme, try my Barbecue Meatballs Italian Style

Or if you prefer your barbecue meatballs recipes with pork rather than beef then simply adapt my oven recipe with crock pot timings.

Related Pages:

More Crock Pot Recipes
Tasty Barbecue Sauce Recipes
BBQ Beef Recipes

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