Classic Meatballs Simmered in a Tomato, Bacon and Brown Ale Sauce

Sierra Nevada Tumbler Brown Ale Meatball

This recipe has all the essence of a meatball, but with an extra touch of brown ale and bacon, the flavor is transformed to a more adult taste profile.  The Brown Ale giving this recipe a richer depth of flavor from the melanoidin malt using in brewing this style of beer, adding the flavors of toasted bread, toffee and hints of caramel.   Sierra Nevada’s version of a Brown Ale uses a a small percentage of smoked malt in their Autumn Tumbler Brown Ale, which adds a wonderful addition of umami and light smoky campfire goodness that a grill or smoker would add to this recipe. Using this beer, I can inject these flavors without needing to start my smoker and still get some of these flavors into this recipe.  This is why I love cooking with  beer, it adds flavors and layers to food, that I can’t add otherwise.  The tomatoes acid combines with these malt flavors and the smoked bacon echo’s the smoked malt from the beer, making for a lick your plate clean experience when eating this recipe.

 

 

This recipe will serve 4 as an entrée, making about 14 meatballs, but can be made into smaller cocktail sized meatballs and feed 8-12 very easily.

 

Sierra Nevada Tumbler Brown Ale

Classic Meatball
Classic Meatballs Simmered in a Tomato, Bacon and Brown Ale Sauce
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Rate this recipe!
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This recipe has all the essence of a meatball, but with a touch of brown ale and bacon, the flavor is transformed to a more adult taste profile.
Servings Prep Time
4 guests 20 minute
Cook Time
45 minute
Servings Prep Time
4 guests 20 minute
Cook Time
45 minute
Classic Meatball
Classic Meatballs Simmered in a Tomato, Bacon and Brown Ale Sauce
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
This recipe has all the essence of a meatball, but with a touch of brown ale and bacon, the flavor is transformed to a more adult taste profile.
Servings Prep Time
4 guests 20 minute
Cook Time
45 minute
Servings Prep Time
4 guests 20 minute
Cook Time
45 minute
Ingredients
Meatball Directions:
Tomato, Bacon and Brown Ale Sauce Ingredients:
Servings: guests
Units:
Instructions
Meatball Directions:
  • In a medium to large bowl, add the ground beef, lamb and pork.
  • Take the garlic cloves and place onto a cutting board and add the salt. Using the blade of the knife, chop the garlic and salt together. Then turn the knife sideways, having the blade parallel to the surface of the cutting board, press and scrape the blade into the garlic, using the salt to grind up the garlic into a minced paste consistency.
  • Transfer this to a smaller bowl, adding the cracked eggs, brown ale, oregano, pepper and onion: mix well until combined. Pour this mixture over the meat and add the bread crumbs on top. Using clean hands, mix until all the ingredients are evenly combined.
For Entree Portion Directions:
  • Portion out the meatballs to the size of a lime. Roll each between the palms of the hands to create round spheres. Repeat with the remaining meat mixture and place the finished meatballs onto a tray.
Tomato, Bacon and Brown Ale Sauce Directions:
  • Place a large skillet over medium high heat, adding the chopped bacon. Cook the bacon until the fat has rendered and the bacon is still tender and not crispy, about 6 minutes.
  • As the bacon is cooking, add the tomatoes to the pitcher of a blender, along with the brown ale and salt, pulsing to chop the tomatoes to a medium fine texture.
  • When the bacon is cooked, add the onions and cook another 6 minutes or so. The onion should be transparent. Pour the prepared tomatoes to the bacon and onions and bring to a simmer.
  • Preheat the oven to 325°F/163°C. In a separate skillet or saute pan, placed over medium high heat, add a touch of oil; brown the prepared meatballs on all sides.
    Classic Meatball
  • Once the sauce is at a light boil, add the meatballs, spacing them so they do not touch. Transfer the skillet, uncovered to the center of the oven and cook for 35 - 45 minutes, or until they are cooked through (reaching an internal temperature of 165°F/74°C ).
    Classic Meatball
  • Remove the pan from the oven and remove the meatballs to a serving container/platter, wrapping with aluminum foil to keep warm.
  • Place the skillet over a high heat and reduce to a medium thick sauce. Taste the sauce, adjusting more salt or a pinch of brown sugar (if the sauce is too bitter), then pour the finished sauce over meatballs and serve.
Recipe Notes

Suggested Beer Pairing Ideas:

Try a Bell's Porter, Founder's Robust Porter or a Anchor Porter.  A porter style will have some roasty/coffee elements, that when mixed with the acid in the tomato, will contrast each other, while playing up the hints of roast found  in the brown ale used in the dish.

 

Other ways to use this recipe:

Beer Meatball Sub Sandwich

Classic Beer Meatball Sub Sandwich:

Make the recipe above, then place three meatballs in a soft hoagie roll, brioche bun or ciabatta roll and smother with the Tomato, Bacon and Brown Ale Sauce.  Top with fresh mozzarella that has been sliced or extra sharp provolone.

 

Spaghetti and Beer Meatballs:

Cook your favorite brand of dried spaghetti or linguine to al dente.  I usually look at the suggested cooking time and take off a minute of cooking, starting the timer once the water comes to a boil.  Then drain the cooked pasta, not rinsing it, and add it to a bowl with a touch of olive oil.  Toss to coat and portion onto you plates, topping with 1/3/5/7 meatballs (odd numbers almost always look best plates), then spoon some sauce over each meatball and a garnish of fresh chopped herbs, even a grating of Parmesan/Romano/Asiago cheese.

 

Other Meatball Recipes:

Flemish Meatballs

Here is also an article in DRAFT Magazine with another version of Beer Meatballs.

Sean Paxton

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