Blogs, Recipes, Small Bites

Smoke Spicy Meatballs

These smoked meatballs are slowly smoked on the grill, and then finished with a homemade spicy & sweet BBQ sauce glaze. The ultimate game day food or appetizer for your next party.

I start with the meat. In this case I combined ground Italian turkey and pork for added flavor. You can  also use chicken or ground beef. Then added flavor and binding with Panko bread crumbs, garlic and egg. For the cheese, I used blue cheese but there are plenty of options (cheddar, mozzarella, fontina, provolone, anything that melts well). 

Here’s my little secret to help the meatballs stay moist, I use butter. I know Paula Deen would be proud! 

Just form your ball and make a little well in it, and place a small square of butter in the well, then cover it up and reshape the ball.

I made this recipe on my Green Mountain smoker, but you can make it on your grill or in the oven.

Once the meatballs are cooked, add the homemade BBQ sauce. Gently toss the meatballs around (or use a large spoon) to get the balls fully covered in the sauce.

Make sure to dig in while they’re still warm!.

INGREDIENTS:

  • ½ lb Italian ground chicken or turkey sausage
  • ½ lb ground Pork 
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 teaspoon of Frank’s Red Hot Ranch Dip seasoning packet 
  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup Blue Cheese crumbles 
  • ½ stick of butter, cut into tiny pieces- about the size of your pinky finger nail. 

The Sauce:

  • ½ cup Frank’s Red Hot sauce
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes – you can add more or less depending on your spice preference
  • Pinch of salt

INSTRUCTIONS

Makes about 28 medium sized meatballs

Prepare the meatballs: 

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the meatballs. 

Use your hands to mix all the ingredients together. Shape the meat mixture into balls, about 3 tablespoons per ball. I like to use my medium size cookie scooper. 

Now here’s my little secret to help your meatballs stay moist, once your meatball is formed poke one piece of butter into the center and roll back into the meatball shape. 

The Smoker Method:

Preheat the smoker to 225ºF

Place the meatballs on your smoker at 225ºF. After 20 minutes of cooking, brush each meatball with the sauce. Continue cooking until internal temperature reaches 155ºF (one hour).

Turn the smoker up to 350 for 15 minutes to finish them off! You will know they are done when the internal temperature reaches 165ºF.

The Oven Method:

Preheat the oven to 475ºF. 

Place shaped meatballs on a baking sheet.

Bake for 11-13 minutes or until the meatballs are completely cooked- internal temperature reaches 165ºF.

Brush each meatball with the sauce. 

Place back on the baking sheet and bake for an additional 1-2 minutes. 

Place on a serving tray and drizzle with additional sauce.

The Sauce:

In a saucepan, combine the ingredients of the sauce over medium high heat, allow it to come to a boil, reduce the heat so it simmers. 

Let simmer for 8-10 minutes. 

Remove from heat and allow the sauce to cool. 

The sauce will thicken as it cools so don’t worry if it looks thin.

Gently toss the meatballs around (or use a large spoon) to get the balls fully covered in the sauce.

Serve and eat them while they warm!

Blogs, Recipes, Small Bites

Buffalo Chicken Rolls with Blue Cheese Frosting

It’s my best friend, Jason’s Birthday and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ first home game of the season! I wanted to make something special for our tailgate to celebrate Jason’s birthday. 

Jason doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth so I wanted to create something that looked like a cupcake but was savory! He loves Buffalo chicken dip, so I created these Buffalo Chicken Dip Rolls with Blue Cheese frosting! 

Think Cinnamon Rolls but with Buffalo Chicken Dip flavor! You basically are making cinnamon rolls but instead of cinnamon and sugar you are using chicken, onions, cream cheese, mozzarella and hot sauce.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 8 ounce Whipped Cream cheese
  • 1 packet Ranch Dressing mix
  • 1 tablespoon Ranch dressing
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Oregano 
  • 1 cup favorite Buffalo Sauce (I used Texas Pete Buffalo Wing Sauce)
  • 2 cups fresh mozzarella
  • 1 Pillsbury Thin Crust Pizza dough 

BLUE CHEESE FROSTING INGREDIENTS 

  • 10 ounce cream cheese room temperature
  • 3 tablespoon butter room temperature, cut in small pieces
  • 1 cup Blue Cheese Crumbles
  • 1 teaspoon Ranch Dressing mix
  • ½ teaspoon Powdered Sugar

INSTRUCTIONS 

Heat a pan over medium heat. 

Melt the butter.

Saute chopped onions in butter over medium heat. Once onions are cooked, add the garlic and sauté for one more minute. 

Add the chopped chicken to the same pan. 

Sprinkle half of the Ranch dressing mix and oregano over the chicken and stir. 

When chicken is done, add ½ cup of the Buffalo Sauce and heat for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and set aside.

While the chicken is cooking, mix the cream cheese, mozzarella cheese, the other ½ cup Buffalo sauce, rest of the Ranching dressing mix and the one tablespoon of the Ranch dressing in a medium sized bowl. 

Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

Roll the pizza dough out. 

Spread cheese mixture evenly across rolled out dough. Then spread the chicken mixture over the top of the cheese mixture.

Starting from the long side of the dough, begin rolling the dough up like a cinnamon roll. 

Pinch ends when done. Wrap in the parchment paper and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to overnight.

Preheat the oven to 400.

Slice into 1 1/2 to 2 inch rolls. 

Place in a muffin pan each 1 1/2 roll into a muffin pan, using a muffin pan will keep the roll together.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling and the dough is lightly browned. 

Carefully pop the rolls out of the muffin pan and cool on a cooling rack while you make the frosting. 

BLUE CHEESE FROSTING INSTRUCTIONS 

Place all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and mix together until there are no lumps left.

Spread the frosting on top of the cupcakes or pipe it out using an icing nozzle and pastry bag.

Serve!

Recipes

Blackened Chicken Wings with Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing

These Blackened Chicken Wings are tender and juicy on the inside. The blackened seasoning spice mixture almost forms a crust on the chicken to seal in the juices. Of course, you have to serve the chicken wings with homemade Blue Cheese dressing! This easy homemade blue cheese dressing is better than anything you can buy at the store. 

My friend, Adam lives in Asheville, NC during one of this hikes he came across some Ramps, wild leeks. He dried and powdered the leaves and mailed Brian and I some to get creative in some of our recipes. I thought I’d sprinkle a 1/2 tablespoon into my Blackened seasoning, it was AMAZING! But don’t worry if you can’t find Ramps, the seasoning is still delicious!

I can not wait for football season so we can make these at our tailgate!

Thanks Adam for the special deviltry!

To make the blackened chicken, I mix all the spices together in a small bowl, and then generously coat the chicken wings with the seasoning on all sides, using my fingers to press the seasoning on to the chicken. 

The bright green seasoning is the Ramps from Adam.

Heat your skillet until it is searing hot skillet (use your cast iron skillet if you have one!). Drop 4 tablespoons of butter into the skillet and allow it to melt and bubble. Then place the chicken wings into the HOT skillet and cook until the chicken is blackened on each side and fully cooked inside. 

I used butter for this recipe to give the chicken a richer flavor, but you can certainly use a healthier oil, such as canola oil or coconut oil. I wouldn’t recommend olive oil because the skillet needs to be searing hot, and olive oil smokes at high temperature.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 pounds of chicken wings 
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons blackened seasoning, divided

BLACKENED SEASONING

  • 4 tablespoons sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 ½  teaspoon Garlic powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoon Onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

DIRECTIONS

Combine all the spices and herbs in a small bowl. Mix well. 

Place the chicken wings into the spice mixture on both sides to coat the chicken. 

In a large skillet heat 4 tablespoons of butter. 

Carefully place the spice-coated chicken wings into the butter, and cook over high heat for about 5 minutes on each side, or until the chicken is fully cooked. 

If the chicken is blackened but not fully cooked, just lower the heat and cover with a lid, cooking until the internal temperature reaches 165F.

Serve the blackened chicken wings with blue cheese dressing.

BLUE CHEESE DRESSING

INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 3 to 4 ounces Blue Cheese crumbles, chunky
  • Milk, buttermilk or water to thin out the dressing, optional

DIRECTIONS

In a bowl, combine all the ingredients except the blue cheese. Whisk until combined. 

Crumble in the blue cheese and fold together. 

Store in the refrigerator.