Carolina Pork-&-Bacon Meatballs Are a Panthers Super Bowl Party Necessity

Carolina Barbecue Meatballs -- Thrillist Recipes
Cole Saladino/Thrillist

When it comes to Super Bowl snack and apps, putting out a jar of onion dip and some greasy chips is totally acceptable, but there's no sense in settling. This year, put a little work in and serve these epic pork meatballs, instead. They're drenched in a vinegar-spiked 'cue sauce -- an ode to Carolina's famous Eastern-style barbecue -- and then wrapped in thick slabs of bacon.

Be forewarned, they're a total show stealer. I'm talking to you, Coldplay.

Carolina BBQ Meatballs

Score.#SB50Pin for later:

Posted by Thrillist on Thursday, February 4, 2016

Carolina Barnecue Meatballs -- Thrillist Recipes
Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Carolina Pork-&-Bacon Meatballs Recipe

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
Yield: 24

  • 2 pounds ground pork shoulder
  • 4 slices white sandwich bread, broken down in a food processor
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons liquid smoke
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 12 slices thick-cut bacon, sliced in half crosswise

  • 1 ½ cups cider vinegar
  • ¾ cup water
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine pork, bread crumbs, eggs, liquid smoke, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika; mix by hand.

 Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line a baking sheet with foil and place a wire rack on top.
  • With wet hands, roll the meat mixture into 24 golf–size balls. Wrap half a slice of bacon around each meatball and place on the wire rack with the seam side down. Bake for 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, make the sauce. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat and stir until sugar dissolves.
  • Spoon 1 tablespoon of sauce over each meatball. Bake for 10 minutes. Spoon another tablespoon of sauce over each meatball and bake for 10 more minutes.
  • Remove baking sheet from the oven and let meatballs cool on the rack for 5 minutes. Serve with extra sauce on the side for dipping. Don’t forget the toothpicks!
Carolina Barnecue Meatballs -- Thrillist Recipes
Cole Saladino/Thrillist

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Perry Santanachote is Thrillist's recipes editor and would like to thank Cam Newton for winning her the Fantasy Football Super Bowl. Follow her at @perrysant.