Smoky Cider-Glazed Meatballs

Smoky Cider-Glazed Meatballs
Smoky Cider-Glazed Meatballs

Apple cider season is nearly over! I can’t believe the holidays are upon us. I feel like this past Autumn really flew by in a whirlwind of busy days. But alas, all good things must come to an end and new seasons must start.

Not to get off on a rant or anything, butttt I kind of love all seasons. I just really enjoy the changing weather, clothes, activities and what not. I guess it’s one of the perks to living in Pittsburgh. The weather is literally always changing. I don’t think ‘consistent’ is a word that Pittsburghers are familiar with when it comes to weather. Now, I’m probably also not the first to say that the winter weather is really slushy and gross. Bottom line: It generally sucks, but there are a few days here and there with some nice crisp snow.

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Anyyyywho, little rant over. Back to business. So I’ve been wanting to try my hand at meatballs for a while now. It’s kind of embarrassing to say that I’ve actually never made them. But of course, since I can’t have things normal like your regular Italian meatballs with spaghetti, I wanted to try my hand at cider-glazed meatballs. Yep, that’s right. The sweet, tangy cider with savory spiced meatballs. Ohhh yeah.

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I had done some research earlier in the week about y’know, the meatball basics; what I need to bind everything together, basic savory flavors that would pair well with the tanginess and tartness of the cider, etc. This was pretty helpful, though, I gotta say. (I need to tone it down on the commas. I know.) I knew I had some frozen ground pork and so I went with that. (You can also use ground turkey for a healthier, leaner option.)  It did not take me very long at all to make these little guys and they turned out exactly how I wanted them to!

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Ingredients for the Meatballs:

  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup Panko crumbs (Italian crumbs also work well for this recipe!)
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp apple cider
  • 1 tbsp chopped green onion
  • 1 tsp brown sugar

Ingredients for the Cider Glaze

  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider
  • 1 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp honey mustard
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For the Meatballs: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray two medium baking sheets.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the meatball ingredients and mix thoroughly with hands until well-combined.
  3. Roll out tablespoon-sized balls and place onto the baking sheets.
  4. Bake for 25-35 minutes, remove about 10 minutes before timer is up to pour some of the glaze on and then resume baking until cooked completely and brown all the way through.

For the Glaze: 

  1. In a small mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except for the corn starch and whisk well.
  2. Over medium heat, pour mixture into a small saucepan. Add the cornstarch and bring mixture to a boil, stirring frequently, for about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and pour half of mixture over meatballs and save half of mixture to pour after meatballs are done cooking.

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