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Holiday Parties Call for Great Appetizers!

Updated: Feb 27

And great appetizers call for Bacon Bourbon Meatballs!

When it comes to any recipe for a nursing blog, it's all about something wonderful to share at home, parties, or those potlucks at work. Wherever you take them, these savory, slightly sweet warm morsels of gooey yumminess are sure to please!

A photo of bacon in a food processor and a bottle of Makers Mark whiskey next to it, preparing to make Bacon Bourbon Meatballs.


6 slices bacon

1/2 yellow onion- chopped

1 lb. ground beef

1/2 cup breadcrumbs

2 tbsp. fresh parsley- chopped

1 large egg

1 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. vegetable oil

1/2 cup beef broth

3 tbsp. bourbon


1. Place the uncooked bacon into a food processor and process for about one minute or until the bacon is finely ground up. Add the onion and process until the onion is finely chopped and mixed in. (Easier to do in small batches.)

2. Spoon the bacon and onion mixture into a large bowl. Add ground beef, breadcrumbs, parsley, egg, chili powder, and salt. Stir to combine.

(Who are we kidding? Get your hands in there and smoosh it all together!)

A photo of Bacon Bourbon meatballs fully assembled and ready to cook.

3. Scoop out the meat mixture and roll it into approx. 1-inch balls using the palms of your hands.

4. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat (I use my cast iron skillet) Place the meatballs in the pan and turn frequently to brown on all sides. You can cook them in the skillet for 8-10 min. until done, but I usually brown them in the skillet, place them on paper towels to soak up some of the grease, and then finish cooking them in the oven on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes.

After removing the meatballs from the oven, I place them on paper towels again before adding them to the sauce. (Just feels healthier to get rid of some of the fat.)

5. Make the sauce by combining the barbeque sauce, broth, and bourbon. Add the meatballs and simmer for at least 10 minutes. (I throw everything into a crockpot, this way you can transport them in it, and it also keeps them warm!)

Check out the best-rated crockpots at

Note: I usually double this recipe and it makes about 60 meatballs.

You can omit the bourbon if you prefer. This might be a good idea if you're taking them to a potluck at work ... unless you want a really happy staff! Finally, 80/20 ground beef works best for flavor, any barbeque sauce is fine, and be sure to use unseasoned breadcrumbs.

Happy Holidays & Enjoy!

Published by Jennifer Tipton / This post may contain affiliate links.

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