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Challenge: Slow Cooker to the Rescue

Cowboy Meatballs

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Bacon & BBQ sauce are the special additions to these meatballs

Cowboy Meatballs


  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 pound breakfast sausage
  • 1 pound bacon, finely diced
  • 1 sleeve saltine crackers, finely crushed
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup BBQ sauce (used: Sweet Baby Ray's)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (for stovetop method)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, sausage, bacon, crushed saltines, milk, bbq sauce, salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes and eggs. Mix together well with your hands.
  3. Scoop out 1-tablespoon portions of meat mixture and roll them into balls with your hands.
  4. Place the meatballs onto parchment-lined baking sheets and put the baking sheets in the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes for the meatballs to firm up.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together sauce ingredients until well blended.
  6. Cover and heat on high in microwave for 2 minutes. Remove and whisk. Continue heating until mixture is warm.
  7. Pour over meatballs in slow cooker.
  8. Set slow cooker to low and cook for 1-2 hours gently stirring occasionally.
  9. Switch cooker off or to “keep warm” setting.
  10. Serve warm as an appetizer or as a main dish with steamed rice.

Recipe Tags

Oven Method:

  1. Bake in oven on the center rack for about 25 to 30 minutes, turning once halfway through

Stovetop Method:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a heavy pot or large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add meatballs in batches, making sure not to overcrowd the pan.
  3. Cook, turning the meatballs occasionally to make sure they brown all over, 5 to 7 minutes per batch.
  4. Drain on paper towels.
  5. Place browned meatballs into crock of a slow cooker.

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