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Maple-barbecue pork meatballs on top of rice.

Maple-Barbecue Pork Meatballs

  • Author: Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen - Ashley Covelli
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 6 Serving (makes about 42 small meatballs) 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American


These sweet, comforting meatballs can easily be made spicy if you're craving a bit of kick.


  • Canola or vegetable oil, for oiling the pan
  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce, plus more for dipping if you like
  • 1/2 cup grated peeled apple
  • 1/3 cup minced onion
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Kosher or coarse salt, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup, or see the Fork in the Road for a spicy swap-in
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground pork


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Combine the bread crumbs, barbecue sauce, apple, onion, egg, and salt in a large bowl. Add the maple syrup and stir to blend. Add the pork and combine well using your hands, but try not to squeeze the mixture too much. Form 1-inch-round meatballs and place them on the baking sheet.
  3. Bake the meatballs until cooked through, 16 to 20 minutes. Serve hot, with extra barbecue sauce on the side.


Fork in the Road: Spicy Pork Meatballs:
Instead of the maple syrup, add 2 teaspoons chili powder and a pinch of cayenne pepper to the apple mixture. Add the pork, combine, and bake as directed.

To go half sweet and half spicy, divide the panko mixture at the beginning of step 2 into 2 bowls. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons maple syrup and half the pork to one bowl, and 1 teaspoon chili powder, a small pinch of cayenne, and the other half of the pork to the other bowl. Blend, form, and bake as directed (be sure to separate the spicy and non spicy meatballs on the baking sheet).

What the Kids Can Do:
Measure the ingredients, maybe peel and grate the apple, blend everything up, and form the meatballs.

Make Ahead:
The baked meatballs can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 3 days. Reheat briefly in the microwave, or in a 300°F oven for 10 minutes.

Reprinted with permission from Katie Workman


  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 376
  • Sugar: 2.8 g
  • Sodium: 144 mg
  • Fat: 21.1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 12 g
  • Fiber: 5.2 g
  • Protein: 35.2 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Keywords: meatballs, kids cooking, spicy meatballs, pork

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