Texas Sweet and Spicy Meatballs
The pairing of sweet and spicy exists in most worldly cuisines. We all know Texas is its own country, lol, so we like to do things a little bit differently down here??. Adding spice to food is a given for us, but that does not mean we are trying to burn someone’s mouth out with spice. That just doesn’t make sense for many people’s tastes. It’s about the balancing act of flavor-to-spice, but to be a supporting member of the recipe, not the lead role.
Texas Sweet and Spicy Meatballs is very much like Italian meatballs, but better, you know, Texas? We took a classic recipe like our Italian meatball recipe found HERE, and turned up the flavor. I can hear the Italian guy ?? accent now, “You don’t like the spicy meatball?”. I think this one will do the job very nicely.
What ingredients are we using that makes this a TEXAS recipe?
- Jalapenos (Learn how to control the hotness/spiciness HERE)
- Vidalia Texas Sweet Onion
- Poblano Pepper – Fresh version of dry ancho pepper
- Dried Chipotle powder
- Chipotle’s in Adobe sauce
- Rice (optional) crop of Texas
WATCH Our How-TO Video below
This the balancing act of the ingredients, how much when you added them, and to which part.
Start by using the highest quality beef you can find. I suggest using USDA Prime beef. Will offer more flavor. If you cannot find Prime beef look for USDA Choice next
Begin by using a box grater or handheld grater. Get the Vidalia onion cut along with the poblano and jalapeno pepper. Place into a large mixing bowl.
What we are doing at this point is creating a base for our ground beef and sausage. This combination of vegetables and our seasonings will make it easy to evenly distribute to the entire Texas sweet and spicy meatballs flavor profile. Just sprinkling the seasoning over the beef and sausage creates uneven season and small pockets of ingredients here and there. NOT good eats.
What is Chipotle?
Chipotle Pepper: is a jalapeno pepper that has been smoked. When jalapenos mature the color changes from green to red, giving them a special color. The peppers get canned with adobe sauce.
Adobo Sauce: is the immersion of raw food in a stock (or sauce) composed variously of paprika, oregano, salt, garlic, and vinegar to preserve and enhance its flavor. The Portuguese variant is known as Carne de vinha d’alhos.
In a large bowl, add 1 egg, 1 T minced garlic along with chipotle powder, p
Next step we are going to add something fresh. This is how Chefs think when creating recipes. The addition of a fresh element takes the recipe over the top.
Add-In chopped Italian parsley, half of the fresh tomato (keep the other half of the tomato for garnish),
Optional Ingredient: Uncooked Rice
The addition of the rice reminds me of stuffed peppers or stuffed cabbage rolls. If offers a nice texture and creates a more tender meatball overall. One point to make is the rice puffs up during the cooking process and pokes out of the sides of the meatballs. Not a big deal. Once the meatballs are cooked, we will roll them around the sauce to make sure they are completely covered before we plate them. The sauce helps hide the rice.
Add 1 cup of Italian bread crumbs to the meatball, this acts as a binder.
I like using an ice cream scooper to form the meatballs. Then finish using my hands
Making the Sweet and Spicy Sauce
Making the best sauce possible starts with an excellent plain tomato sauce. I have the very best technique and the recipe you’ll find anywhere on the internet right here. Just click the photo below or right here to get the recipe and technique.
Start with adding your tomato sauce to a large bowl
Then add in chipotles in adobo sauce. This is where you can go a few different directions. I only used the adobe sauce. If you like extra spiciness then add in some of the chipotles, just make sure to cut them up before you add them.
The next ingredient is our special ingredient. To some, this might sound odd, but I’m telling you you’ll love it if you like pineapple. It’s the ingredient that makes this sweet. When dinner is served, you’ll be fighting over the cooked pieces of pineapple.
One more ingredient to help balance out the flavors and spice, turbinado sugar.
Stir all the sauce ingredients together and take a taste. Does it taste good? Need more turbinado sugar? More adobe sauce? More chipotles? A bit of salt?
I would add a good pinch of salt to the sauce and sprinkle salt over the meatballs in the casserole dish.
While the meatballs are cooking, closer to the end of the cooking time prepare some goodies to top the meatballs.
- Fresh onion
- Italian Parsley
Once out of the oven and before you plate the meatballs. I like to roll them around in the sauce for even coating of the sauce.
Plating: add some sauce to the base of the plate. Add the meatball and over with onion, poblano, fresh tomato, and Italian parsley.
Texas Sweet and Spicy Meatballs
- Casserole Dish 9 by 13
- Large Bowel
- Sharp Knife
- 1 pound Ground Beef 80/20 fat to fat
- 1/3 pound Favorite Sauage Add more if you love sauage
Ingredients For The BASE
- 1/2 Vidiala Texas Sweet Onion chopped / Use Yellow Onion if you cannot find them
- 1/2 Poblano Pepper chopped / reserve some for garnish
- 1 tbsp Garlic / Minced
- 1 Egg
- 1 1/2 tbsp Italian Parsley / Chopped
- 1/2 Fresh Tomato / chopped
- 1/2 Jalapeno chopped / remove seeds
- 1/2 tsp Chipotle Powder / use 1 tsp if you like spicy food
- 1/2 tsp Smokey Paprika
- 1/4 tsp Dried Thyme
- 1/4 tsp Fennel Seed
- 24 ounces Tomato Sauce / 3 Cups
- 3 tbsp Adobe Sauce (/ Chipotles in Adobo)
- 1 can Pineapple Chunks + Juice / At Lease 8oz can - Or more
- 1 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
Making The BASE
- Add the egg first and whip it in a large bowl. Then add the onion (reserve some for garnish), the poblano (reserve some for garnish), and jalapenos.
- Measure out each dry ingredient. Chipotle, paprika. With the thyme and fennel seed be sure to crush them in the palm of your hand to releases the natural oils. Mix everything together, then add in the parsley and tomato. Doing the premix helps preserve the tomato and parsley from being overworked.
- Add the beef and sausage and rice next. Using your hands do a quick mix to combine then add in the Italian bread crumbs.Important TIP: The reason you add the bread crumbs after you mix meat is so the BASE can get into the meat. The bread crumbs will suck up the BASE instead of the meat.
Making the SAUCE
- Add the fresh tomato sauce to a separate bowl, then measure out the adobo sauce ( add come of the chipotles if you like spicy food. Then add in the turbinado sugar and pineapple plus the juice. If using a larger can of pineapple. Use your best judgment on how much of the juice you think needs to be added. You can always ask me a question in the comments section for help.
Finishing & BAKING
- Spray a 9 by 13 casserole dish with cooking spray to help avoid sticking.I like using an ice cream scooper to shape the meatballs then finish shaping them with my hands to create perfectly shaped meatballs. Your hands are the best tools in the kitchen. If the scooper is too large, no problem, you can still use one, just be mindful to not completely fill it. Try to repeat the same scoop on each meatball.
- Cover the meatballs with the sauce, making sure every single inch of the meatballs is covered.Add all of the pieces of pineapple into the sauce bowl. Distribute them evenly around the casserole dish.
- BAKE: @ 250 degrees for 2 plus hours. The key is you HAVE to cover the casserole dish.The low temperature is just like a slow braising. The meatball becomes very soft and tender.Using aluminum foil works to cover. Be sure to check on your meatballs along the cook in the oven to make sure everything is going well.
- Plating: Add some of the sauce to a plate first, then add a sprinkle of chopped poblano, onion, and tomato. Plate the meatballs and garnish with chopped Italian parsleyDon't forget the pieces of pineapple.
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