jumbo bbq meatballs with queso and fritos

Jumbo BBQ Meatballs with Queso & Fritos

These jumbo beef meatballs are tossed in homemade scallion BBQ sauce then served over queso and with a side of fritos. I am a big football fan and the one sad thing about summer is the waiting for football season to start. This dish is great because it combines everything I love about football season food --- chili filled with beef, and queso scooped up with fritos - into one dish. It can be served as a summer BBQ alternative or during fall for some upscale tailgating.

Making your own BBQ sauce is extremely easy and most of the ingredients required will most likely already be in your pantry. I added charred scallions and cilantro to the BBQ sauce to give it a smoky, tangy and slightly Asian flavor. Making your own sauce means you can also control the level of sugar in the sauce – this recipe isn’t as sweet as other BBQ sauces, it’s on the tangier side.



For the BBQ sauce:

3 scallions, trimmed

¾ cup beef stock

¾ cup ketchup

½ cup apple cider vinegar

¼ (packed) cup cilantro

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 (packed) tablespoons dark brown sugar


For the brisket meatballs:

¼ pound thick-cut bacon, thinly sliced

1 cup chopped yellow onion

½ cup plain breadcrumbs

½ cup whole milk

1½ pounds ground (80/20) beef

1 egg, lightly beaten

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon chili powder

¼ teaspoon smoked paprika

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon onion powder


For the queso:

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup whole milk

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

2 tablespoons canned diced green chilies

1 Roma tomato, cored and diced

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro


For serving:

¼ cup green onions, sliced on the bias

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

2 cups Fritos®



For the BBQ sauce:

Heat a large cast iron skillet over high heat, add the scallions and char until blackened areas appear on all sides, about 4 minutes total.

Heat a medium saucepot over medium heat add the charred scallions, beef stock, ketchup, apple cider vinegar, cilantro, garlic and brown sugar and whisk until combined. Simmer until the sauce has reduced, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Add the sauce to a blender and puree until completely combined. Set sauce aside in a bowl.


For the brisket meatballs:

Preheat oven to 400º.

Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat, add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally until the bacon is cooked through and crispy. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels. Leaving 1 tablespoon of oil in the pan return the pan to the heat. Add the onions and sauté, stirring occasionally, until tender and translucent, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a small bowl stir together the breadcrumbs and milk until combined and let sit for 5 minutes. In a large mixing bowl combine the beef, bacon, cooked onions, breadcrumb mixture, egg, salt, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder and onion powder. Use your hands to combine the mixture without overworking the meat. Use your hands to roll into large meatballs, each should be about the size of a tennis ball. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Bake the meatballs until cooked through and golden brown, about 35 minutes. Add the sauce to a large mixing bowl and gently roll the meatballs in the BBQ sauce to coat them entirely. Set aside.


For the queso:

Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the butter and allow to melt. Add the flour, whisking to combine. Let the roux cook for a minute until a pale golden brown. Add the milk, whisking to incorporate. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then lower the heat to medium-low, whisking until the sauce thickens, about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the cheddar cheese and once it has all been incorporated stir in the green chilies, tomatoes and cilantro.


For serving:

Add a spoonful of queso to each plate then top with a meatball with BBQ sauce. Spoon, additional sauce over the top and garnish with green onions, cilantro and Fritos®.


Serves 6 as an appetizer.  



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