Apple Butter Brandy Meatballs, the name tells you all you need to know. These luscious meatballs are smothered in a sweet and tangy apple butter brandy sauce that will bring you to your knees. Technically for the cocktail hour, no one will complain if you serve them for dinner.
While these might technically be considered ‘cocktail’ meatballs, I purposely didn’t put that in the title, I didn’t want to discourage anyone from making a dinner out of them, because that’s what we did (two nights in a row 🙂
There’s no second fiddle ingredient in this apple butter brandy meatballs ~ the soft plush meatballs infused with finely minced fresh sage hold their own in that awesome sauce. The apple butter and brandy flavors come through strong, as does the tang from the bbq sauce. It’s rich, complex, and delicious.
I use an interesting technique to cook my meatballs, after forming them I put them on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes first, then I add them to a hot skillet to brown them, keeping the pan moving often, so they stay nice and round. No more flat sided meatballs!
Apple butter is such a wonderful ingredient to cook with in the fall. Most of us have spread it on toast, or baked it up in bread, but don’t count it out of savory recipes like this one, too. The flavor is rich and spicy, and not too sweet. Look for it in the jam or peanut butter section of your supermarket, most stores will stock it. You can make your own quite easily, too. I have a recipe for a quick One Hour No Sugar Apple Butter, but that one has no spices added to it. I also make a delicious Cranberry Apple Butter, which would be an interesting variation in this meatball recipe.
Apple Butter Brandy Meatballs
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 lb ground pork
- 1/2 medium onion finely minced
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp each salt and fresh cracked black pepper
- 2-3 Tbsp finely minced fresh sage
- 1 and 2/3 cups apple butter
- 3/4 cup barbecue sauce bottled
- 1 cup brandy
- 1 cup water
- 4 Tbsp chili sauce
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar optional
- 1 tsp salt
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Mix the meatball ingredients together gently but thoroughly. I like to use my stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, but you can do it by hand, as well. Make sure everything is evenly incorporated into the meat before forming your balls.
- Use a tablespoon or small scoop to portion out the meatballs. You can them to be cocktail, or bite, sized. I use a rounded tablespoon for each ball. Roll them between your palms until they are smooth and round. Set them on an un-greased cookie sheet.
- Bake the meatballs for 10 minutes in the preheated oven.
- To make the sauce, add all the ingredients to a large saucepan and heat, stirring to combine, until the sauce comes to a boil. Lower the heat and let it boil gently for about 5 minutes. Taste to adjust any of the ingredients or seasonings.
- Meanwhile heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a large skillet. After removing the meatballs from the oven, brown them, in batches, in the skillet. Cook, turning often, for about 5-7 minutes, or until done inside The internal temperature should reach 155F (the meatballs will continue cooking in the sauce.)
- Combine the meatballs and the sauce together and bring up to a gentle simmer. Cover and let simmer for a few minutes to heat everything through.
- Serve hot with toothpicks or cocktail forks. If you like you can load everything into a crock pot set on warm and serve from there.
notes and variations
Can’t get enough meatballs? Try these ~
Trust me, you’re going to want these apple butter brandy meatballs during the holidays, so don’t forget to pin them!