Saucy Asian Meatballs

Meatballs aren't usually my thing. Prior to these, I had never made cocktail meatballs before and though I make spaghetti somewhat frequently, I typically make a meat sauce as opposed to meatballs. 

But, I found this recipe via Pinterest, which comes from the blog Gimme Some Oven and the pictures looked great and I loved the flavors of the ingredients.  This looked like another perfect tailgate recipe, especially for a game where the weather was finally looking a bit more like fall.

These really turned out great.  The meat itself had good flavor and the sauce was delicious - sweet, savory and a bit tangy all at the same time.  Definitely a big hit at our tailgate.

I also think this could be a great meal instead of an appetizer if you doubled the amount of sauce and served over brown (or white) rice.

A few notes:
- I used a mix of ground beef and ground venison.  I'd say this is a great recipe for using different varieties of meat, but be sure if you use a lean protein like elk or venison to use a higher fat ground beef or pork to ensure the meatballs aren't dry and crumbly.
- After baking, I transferred the meatballs into a slow cooker, poured the sauce over top, mixed gently and set the temperature to warm. This was perfect and made sure the meatballs didn't dry out.
- I discovered at the last minute we were out of sesame oil. I used almond oil instead.  I think this was a great substitution.

Saucy Asian Meatballs

2 lbs. ground pork or ground beef
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 cup Panko or breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
2 eggs
3 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 cup thinly-sliced green onions
optional garnish: toasted sesame seeds, sliced scallions

Asian Sauce:
2/3 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. ground ginger

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix together meatball ingredients until well-combined.  Shape into balls (I made mine about 1.5 inches, which yielded about 35 meatballs, but 1 inch is probably standard), and place on a greased baking sheet or in a 9×13 baking dish.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until meatballs are golden on the outside and no longer pink on the inside.

While the meatballs are baking, whisk together all of the sauce ingredients until blended.  Once meatballs have finished cooking, you can either dip each meatball individually (using a toothpick) in the sauce mixture.  Or you can pour the sauce over the meatballs and gently stir them until covered.

Serve warm, and sprinkle with additional garnish if desired.

Note: You can also keep these warm (after cooking) in the crock pot on a low setting!