Grit Blogs > Midwest Living - Small Communities but Big Adventures

Homemade Meatballs and Grape Jelly

Sue-Head-ShotSo, this weekend I made my first homemade meatballs. I winged it. My husband has a "secret" recipe for burgers where he takes ground venison, Italian bread crumbs, one egg, and some seasoning and mixes it all together to make yummy burgers. Well, I made him mix the meat like he does for the burgers and proceeded to make meatballs.

First, I took out two cookie sheets and sprayed them with non-stick baking spray and rolled the meat into little balls and placed them on the cookies sheets. I baked them in the oven for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees. I opened one up to make sure it was cooked, and accidentally dropped it on the floor. So my dog got a little treat ... a very hot treat, but a little treat nonetheless. I'm pretty sure my little dog burnt her tongue.

Once the meatballs where cooked I put them in a cooking pot, and we added (I had a friend over helping) half a jar of grape jelly and a jar of chili sauce. Okay, now some of you might be a bit confused by the grape jelly part, but for someone like me who doesn't like BBQ sauce (I know what you're thinking ... how can a Midwest girl like me NOT like BBQ?! I can't explain it myself, it's an enigma) this sauce is a wonderful alternative. It has a tangy sweetness to it that is absolutely refreshing. You don't taste grape jelly, somehow it mixes in nicely with the chili sauce. We cooked on medium heat for roughly 20 minutes, I didn't really time it. Until it was cooked down nicely and was a smooth mahogany mix cooking the newly made meatballs.

And Wa-la!! Meatballs even a non BBQ fan can love!! It was absolutely delicious. My husband tried it and continued to say, "I can't believe that's grape jelly!"

I suggest you give both homemade meatballs and the grape jelly/chili sauce a try. Turned into a great home cooked lunch for us, and I guarantee you'll be pleasantly surprised.


2/5/2014 8:29:58 AM

I use my metal cookie scoop to form my meatballs. Just scoop press done.Nice round balls no rolling needed. Scoops come in different sizes also. The sauce recipe I received from my husbands great aunt 29 years ago. It is weird that you never taste the grape flavor.

mary ann macleod
9/24/2011 12:24:08 PM

This is a very familiar, common sauce recipe that has been used since back inthe seventies around here! Common for appetizers , meatballs, little smokies etc. Used it many times, and experimented with other jellies as well.

mary ann macleod
9/24/2011 12:16:05 PM

This is a very common recipe already! Especially for Game day! I heard of it many years ago for hordourves such as meatballs , little smokies, and other appetizers. Made it many times and have expeimented with other jellies as well.

p anne ward
9/23/2011 11:59:25 AM

I love the idea of pressing the meatloaf to a cookie sheet then cutting into uniform squares before rolling. what an excellent idea!!!

nebraska dave
6/22/2010 7:21:51 PM

Sue, not liking BBQ and being from the Midwest certainly is an anomaly. Venison would be a nice touch. I suppose when cooked together with the chili sauce the grape jelly just becomes a sweetener. It does sound kind of weird though. I will have to try it and the recipe definitely goes into my Grit blog file of recipes. I use my best meatloaf recipe for meat balls. The meatloaf mixture is pressed down flat on an oiled cookie sheet. Then I take a knife and divide the mixture into squares however large I want them to be. Then each square is rolled into a ball and placed back on the sheet. The delightful little morsels are cooked in the oven until done. Then when used, sauce (BBQ, Spaghetti, or …. Grape sauce) and meatballs go into the cockpot until hot through and through. Thanks for sharing your secret ingredient in the sauce.

6/22/2010 2:24:07 PM

Hi Sue, This mixture is what we've always put on little smokies in my family. I remember the first time I made them -- I had called my mom for the "recipe." The people I was with were ... skeptical, but the taste won them over in the end. Thanks for sharing!