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!
Cole Saladino/Thrillist