Bacon-wrapped, cheese-stuffed, smoky barbecue meatballs

Contains pork – recipe is for non-Muslims only

This is all-American 'tailgate' food. The magic ingredient is liquid smoke. Added to the basting sauce and meatballs, it gives a moreish quality you won't be able to resist!

  • Prep:35 mins
    Cook:35 mins
  • Easy

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 109
  • fat 5g
  • saturates 3g
  • carbs 6g
  • sugars 4g
  • fibre 0g
  • protein 9g
  • salt 0.7g


  • 240g cider vinegar
  • 120g ketchup
  • 55g soft brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke (see tip below)
  • 1 tsp red chilli flakes
  • 500g lean beef mince
  • 1 egg
  • 2 thick slices brown bread, blitzed into breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 20 mini mozzarella balls
  • 10 slices smoked streaky bacon


Liquid smoke

Buy liquid smoke from for around £3. It also goes well in burgers and chilli.


  1. Put all the ingredients for the smoky BBQ sauce in a pan, add 125ml water and season well, then bring to a simmer, whisking until combined. Leave to cool.

  2. In a bowl, mix together all the meatball ingredients, except the cheese and bacon, and season well. Take a walnut-sized piece of the mixture and flatten it with your hands, then wrap it gently around a mozzarella ball and roll it into a circle the size of a ping-pong ball. You should end up with 20 balls.

  3. Cut each slice of bacon in half across the short side and wrap half a slice around each ball. Transfer the balls to a baking tray with the overlapping bacon edges underneath, and cook at 190C/170C fan/gas 5 for 20 mins. Brush with the BBQ sauce and return to the oven for 8-10 mins more or until nicely browned. Brush again with sauce and eat warm, with even more sauce on the side for dipping.

Suggested recipes from this collection...