These meatballs were created as my second entry for our great Meatball Showdown! We came together with friends to have a little meatball cook-off, and needless to say it was a delicious afternoon!
The spicy little bites have become quite popular since the Meatball Showdown! They frequently make an appearance as a casual dinner in our house, and I have also shared them as an appetizer… even once as a savory breakfast treat!
Spicy Meatball Bites
Savory, homemade meatballs wrapped in bacon, and with a sweet-hot bite! *Inspired by the Sweet and Spicy Meatballs recipe found at www.thegunnysack.com.
- 1 pound ground chicken
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 1-1/2 tablespoons cayenne pepper, divided
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 pound smoked bacon
- toothpicks, soaked in water for at least 1 hour
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons Vermont maple syrup
Set a wire rack into a baking sheet and cover the rack with foil. Poke holes through the foil in several places.
In a large mixing bowl, mix together by hand the chicken, pork, diced onion, parsley, Parmesan, 1 tablespoon of the cayenne, salt, and pepper. Mix just until ingredients are evenly combined.
Roll into 1-1/2" balls, repeating until all of the meat mixture is used.
Cut the bacon strips into thirds. Wrap a piece of bacon around each meatball and skewer the meatball with a toothpick to hold the bacon in place. Place on the foil-covered rack. Repeat with the remaining bacon and meatballs. (Any meatballs leftover after the bacon is used up can be frozen for future use, or just baked naked alongside these.) Cover the meatballs loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375° F.
When the oven is hot, remove the plastic wrap from the meatballs. In a shallow dish mix together the brown sugar and remaining 1/2 tablespoon of cayenne. One at a time, roll each meatball in the brown sugar mixture and place back on the rack. Sprinkle some of the remaining sugar mixture over the tops of the meatballs. Drizzle the VT maple syrup over the tops of the meatballs as well.
Bake in the hot oven for about 30 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through (to an internal temperature of 160° F.)
Use tongs to place the meatballs on a serving platter, and serve while hot. Makes about 50 bacon-wrapped meatballs.