Thursday, December 8, 2011

Uncle Sam's Buffalo Balls with Whiskey BBQ Sauce

I’ve never eaten actual “buffalo balls,” and after trying these I’m happy not to.  Tangy buffalo meat and smoky spices give these otherwise very traditional meatballs some added chutzpah.  Paired with a spicy Jack Daniels BBQ sauce your tailgating partners will beg for more!

(serves 8 appetizer portions)

Uncle Sam's Buffalo Balls with Whiskey BBQ Sauce


For the Meatballs
-2 Tbs. Unsalted Butter
-1 Tbs. olive oil OR bacon drippings
-1 large red onion, finely diced
-3 Tbs. flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
-1 Tbs. fresh thyme, finely chopped
-2 cloves garlic, finely minced
-1 lb. ground buffalo meat (90/10)
-1 lb. ground beef (80/20)
-2 egg yolks
-1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
-1 (4 oz.) can diced green chilies
-1/2 tsp. chipotle powder
-1 tsp. smoked paprika
-1 Tbs. Worcestershire Sauce
-1/4 tsp. liquid smoke
-1 Tbs. molasses
-10 quick shakes of Tobasco (or similar hot sauce)
-2 tsp. kosher salt
-2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
-8 oz. finely shredded parmesan cheese

For the BBQ Sauce
-2 cups Kraft BBQ Sauce
-1 cup red pepper jelly
-4 Tbs. Jack Daniels
-Juice from 1/2 lemon


  1. In a large non-stick pan, melt the butter and oil (or bacon drippings).  Add the onion and cook 5-6 minutes over medium heat until it is translucent but not browned.  Add the minced garlic to the pan and continue to cook over medium heat for 2 minutes.  Add the chopped parsley and thyme to the pan and cook for 1 additional minute.  Remove from the pan allow the mixture to cool completely.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
  3. Mix together the ground buffalo, ground beef, egg yolks, bread crumbs, green chilies, chipotle powder, paprika, Worcestershire sauce,  liquid smoke, molasses, Tobasco sauce, salt, and black pepper, and cheese (it’s ok to use your hands).
  4. Add the onion and herb mixture to the meat and spices.  Mix well.
  5. Hand form the meat mixture into 1 in. balls, making sure to press firmly together. Place closely together, but not touching, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  6. Bake in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes. 
  7. Using a wooden spoon, rotate the meatballs and return the pan to the oven.
  8. Cook for 15 additional minutes.
  9. Remove from the oven and transfer the meatballs to paper towel.
  10. Serve with Jack Daniels BBQ sauce (directions follow)
 Jack Daniels BBQ Sauce
  1. Combine the BBQ sauce, red pepper jelly, Jack Daniels Whiskey, and lemon juice in a 1 qt. pot. 
  2. Heat until boiling, reduce the temperature and simmer for 5 additional minutes. 
  3. Serve warm with Buffalo Balls. 


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