There’s only a few days left to September, but there’s still time to squeeze in creating something in line with this month’s theme – bourbon. They make a great appetizer or a perfect snack for Monday night football. I made these bourbon meatballs back in May for the Kentucky Derby, and they were quite a hit. When it comes to making these, we didn’t go with anything off of our fairly extensive shelf. Definitely don’t recommend using the finest of anything to prep these. They’ll turn out just fine with less fancy stuff.
- 3/4 lb ground beef
- 3/4 lb ground pork
- 1/2 cup (1 sleeve, finely crushed) Ritz Cracker crumbs (you can use plain bread crumbs)
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- lots of fresh cracked pepper
- 1 egg
- 2 Tbsp olive oil (for browning the meatballs)
Bourbon Sauce Ingredients
- 1 jar apricot preserves (about a cup, give or take)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 3 Tbsp hot chili sauce (use mild chili sauce if you can’t take the heat)
- 1/2 cup bourbon
- 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
- 1/4 cup water
Preheat the oven to 350°. Place all of the meatball ingredients, except for the olive oil, in a large mixing bowl. You want to break up the meat as you add it in. Mix everything together with your finger tips so you won’t compact the meat as you mix. Form into 1″ small balls, and set to the side.
Heat up a skillet, pouring in the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Slowly cook the meatballs, browning them in batches. Transfer the meatballs to a baking sheet. You’ll want to bake them for about 10 minutes (until they cook completely through). If you check with a thermometer, it should read 160°.
To prepare the sauce, add all of the sauce ingredients in a skillet and bring to a simmer. Simmer gently for about 10 minutes until thick.
Then place cooked meatballs into the sauce, allowing them to warm and the sauce to thicken until ready to serve. You can serve with toothpicks or just in bowls for guests. You’ll want to drizzle the sauce and serve with more on the side for extra dipping (it’s quite good, so you’ll want to put all of the sauce to use!).
If you want to pair in theme, hard to go wrong with a good mint julep. Simple. Classic. Refreshing.
- Leaves from 4-5 mint sprigs
- 2 sugar cubes or 1/2 ounce simple syrup
- 2 1/2 ounces bourbon whiskey
- Mint sprig for garnish
Make the simple syrup first, mixing 1 part sugar to 1 part water on medium heat on the stove top. Pour into a container and allow to chill in the fridge before preparing.
Place the mint and simple syrup into a double old-fashioned glass. Muddle the mint well. Add the bourbon. Then fill the glass with crushed ice and stir well until the glass chills. Use the additional mint sprig to garnish.