When I think of meatballs, I always first think of those made with ground beef. I actually prefer meatballs made with ground chicken, turkey or pork instead so it’s strange that my brain immediately goes there. Ground chicken and turkey were on sale that week so I started my search for chicken meatballs and these spicy little bites caught my eye.
for the sauce:
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup Frank’s hot sauce
- 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
for the meatballs:
- 2 lbs. ground chicken
- 1 cup Panko
- 2 eggs
- 4 tsp. minced garlic
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 1 tsp. pepper
- 1/2 tsp. paprika
1. Preheat the oven to 475. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Combine the ingredients for the sauce in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and allow to simmer for 8-10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. The sauce will thicken as it cools.
3. In a large bowl whisk the eggs, then add the Panko, garlic, salt, onion powder, pepper and paprika until combined. Add in the ground chicken and gently toss the meat into the seasonings until fully combined. Don’t overmix or the meatballs will become tough.
4. Form into 20 golf-ball sized meatballs and place on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through. Dip each meatball in the firecracker sauce or brush the sauce on the meatball. Return to the baking sheet and bake for 1 minute more.
Everyone loved these as much as I hoped they would. You can adjust the level of heat by reducing the amount of crushed red pepper flakes you put into the firecracker sauce. I listed Frank’s hot sauce because its not as spicy as Texas Pete or some of the other varieties out there. You could also use Frank’s wing sauce which is less spicy as well.
I made these in advance, refrigerated them and then put them in a warming dish a little bit before the party. I was worried about not having enough sauce, but these were perfectly coated and there was still enough in the dish to dip them in. If you’re serving this over rice or something as a meal, you’d likely want to double the sauce to coat the rice as well.