VIDEO: Texas Sweet and Spicy Meatballs

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 thing a little bit different 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 peoples 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

This the balancing act of the ingredients, how much, when you added them, and to which part.

Texas Sweet and Spicy Meatballs

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

tip shop for usda prime beef for the texas sweet and spicy meatballs


Begin by using a box grater or hand held grater. Get the Vidalia onion cut along with the poblano and jalapeno pepper. Place into a large mixing bowl.

grating Vidalia onion poblano pepper and jalapeno peppers into a large bowl

What we are doing at this point is creating a base for our ground beef and sauage. 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. 

adding chipotle powder to the meatball base

What is Chipotle? 


What is Chipotle?

Chipotle Chili Powder

Chipotle Pepper:  is a jalapeno pepper that has been smoked. When jalapenos mature the color changes from green to red, giving its a special color. The peppers get canned with adobe sauce.

Adobe 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, paprika, fennel seed and dry thyme. (Be sure to crunch the thyme and fennel in the palm of your hand to open the flavors/oils).

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 a fresh tomato (keep the other half of the tomato for garnish),

adding fresh ingredients to the meaballs parsley fresh sliced tomato

adding fresh parsley to the meatball recipe base

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.

optional ingredient - adding half a cup of rice

Add 1 cup of Italian bread crumbs to the meatball, this acts as a binder.

adding 1 cup of Italian bread crumbs to the meatball this acts as a binder

shaping the meatball and cooking with an over braise

I like using an ice cream scooper to form the meatballs. Then finish using my hands

form and shaping the texas sweet and spicy meatball


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 recipe you’ll find anywhere on the internet right here. Just click the photo below or right here to get the recipe and technique.

Peak Of The Season Tomato Sauce Techniques


Start with adding your tomato sauce to a large bowl

homemade tomato sauce for the sweet and spicy meatball sauce

Then add in chipotles in adobe 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.

chipotles in adobe sauce being adding to the sweet and spicy sauce

Next ingredient is our special ingredient. To some this might sound odd, but I’m tell 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.

special ingredient that makes the sauce sweet the addition of pineapple

One more ingredient to help balance out the flavors and spice, turbinado sugar.

adding turbinado sugar to the sauce to help balance flavors


Stir all the sauce ingredient 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.

pouring the sweet and spicy sauce over the shaped meatballs in a casserole dish

bake in a 250 degree oven for 2 hours or more

While the meatballs are cooking, closer to the end of the cooking time prepare some goodies to top the meatballs.

Chop Up:

  • Fresh onion
  • Poblano
  • Tomato
  • Italian Parsley

preparing the onion fresh tomato poblano and parsley garnish

Once out of the oven and before you plate the meatballs. I like to roll them around in the sauce for even coating of sauce.

Plating:  add some sauce to the base of the plate. Add the meatball and over with onion, poblano, fresh tomato and Italian parsley.

plated Texas sweet and spicy meatball with garnish



Texas Sweet and Spicy Meatballs

Texas Sweet and Spicy Meatballs

A southwestern approach to the classic Italian meatballs. The sweet and spicy sauce is the best.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 12 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 12 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Texan / Southern
Servings 10 Meatballs


  • Casserole Dish 9 by 13
  • Large Bowel
  • Spachula
  • 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 japapenos.
  • 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 over worked.
  • Add the beef and sauage 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 parsley
    Don't forget the pieces of pineapple.
  • Please Enjoy & Share


Keyword Texas Sweet and Spicy Meatballs
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