When we grill, Jason is definitely the outside guy and I am the in charge of anything that may happen inside, like making the sauce or marinade. We decided to try something new and make this awesome Grilled Meatball Recipe.
I didn’t want a normal ketchup-based BBQ sauce to go with those. Instead, it had to be something a bit different. I started with the core ingredients in Cherry Cola BBQ Sauce and experimented. What I came up with was DELISH! The final product has a bit of a kick to it thanks to the Asian Sweet Chili Sauce. It isn’t too spicy – but there is hint. I wanted to mention it just in case you wanted to adjust.
Making the Cherry Cola Asian Sauce
This sauce took no time to make and stores very well in the refrigerator. I didn’t make it ahead this time and wish I had because it also thickens beautifully overnight in the fridge!
First, combine the onion and the oil in a pan to saute until they turn golden brown. This took about 7 minutes on our range – which is due for a replacement, so you’ll be the judge on your stove. Add the garlic and stir. Add the remaining ingredients, bring it to a boil and let simmer for up to 45 minutes. This process helps the delicious concoction thicken.
FYI – the diet soda doesn’t work well because it doesn’t add the sugar into the mixture to make the sauce.
Preparing the Meatball Recipe
These meatballs come together very quickly. To make them, combine all the ingredients (listed below) and gently mix with your hands. Don’t overmix!
Add breadcrumbs instead of Panko if you like. We tried both in the past and gravitate to the Panko in our cooking!
Once you’ve mixed everything, form them into 1 -1 ½ inch balls and set aside for the grill.
Heat the grill to 325 degrees. Once it’s up to temperature, place the meatballs on the grill for 7 minutes and flip them; keep the meatballs on for another 5 minutes or so after you’ve flipped them to the other side. In between each flip, brush the meatballs with this delicious sauce! Brush 2-3 times in the last few minutes of grilling. Brushing more than once allows the sugar to thicken and really start to mesh with the meatball rather than just falling off into the coals. Brushing and waiting for a few seconds before brushing again is key to a nice, thick sauce and delicious meatballs.
Watch them as you don’t want them to overcook and become hard like golf balls! We found it is very easy – and fast – for them to go from a medium cook temperature to too-hard very fast. Break one open to see done they are or use a food thermometer.
FYI – we grilled them 7 minutes on the first side because the grill wasn’t quite up to temperature yet. We both agreed that we should have started with 5 minutes and check on them. When you flip the meatballs, check them at the 3-4 minute mark to see how they are progressing.
Serve with a side of sauce to dip meatballs in!
Cherry Cola Asian Sauce
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion chopped
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 12 oz bottle Asian Sweet Chili Sauce
- 1 12 oz cherry jam
- 1 cup cherry cola
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 lb ground beef 80%
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1 egg whisked
- 1/2 cup panko crumbs
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
Cherry Cola Asian Sauce
- Heat the oil in a sauce pan over medium heat.
- Add the onions and cook until golden.
- Add garlic and cook an additional 1 minute.
- Stir in the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Once it boils, simmer on low for 45 minutes.
- Allow to cool.
- Heat grill to 325.
- Combine all the ingredients and form into 1- 1 1/2 inch balls.
- Grill for 7 minutes. Flip over and grill for an additional 5 minutes.
- Brush on sauce and turn again so both sides are covered. Grill an additional 3-5 minutes depending on how large the meatballs are, how hot the grill is cooking. Always check internal temperature for doneness.