Sweet and Sour Meatballs

A sweet and sour sauce coats tender meatballs that can be made ahead of time and frozen until you’re ready to serve them.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Hubby and I have really been enjoying our new house here in Cincinnati. Specifically the fact that it’s great for entertaining and can accommodate more than 4 guests for a party. Back in Boston, it took us a few years to figure out how to entertain in our tiny condo. Once we figured it all out, we were able to host a few get togethers, but we always had to keep a close eye on the guest list and make sure it wasn’t growing past our max capacity in the condo.

We didn’t realize how much we missed entertaining until last summer when we threw our first big party at the house. It was to celebrate my birthday in June. Hubby manned the grill, we had a great spread of food (including Funfetti Oreo Cupcakes), and everyone had a good time. Since then, we try to have people over on a regular basis. Whether it’s a small group hanging out by the firepit, a dinner party for 6, or a legit party.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

So when the holidays rolled around and we realized we didn’t have New Years Eve plans, we decided to throw a party. If you follow me on Instagram, you already know this. The party was a huge success. We had about 20-25 people over and the last guests left at 4:30am. It was a blast.

AND, I got to wear a little bitty hat.

I love little hats. Not sure why, but I guess why do I need a reason? They’re cute and festive and basically awesome.

These meatballs are one of the appetizers we made for our NYE party. They were great because we had made them a couple weeks earlier and froze them until the party. We defrosted everything in the fridge overnight, then threw everything in a the crockpot a few hours before the party. Since we both had to work that day, it was great to have an appetizer which required very little effort the day of the party.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

It’s no surprise these meatballs were great. They’re from America’s Test Kitchen. Those guys really know what they’re doing. The sauce is sweet and sour and exactly what you’d expect in a party meatball. So if you’re looking for a snack to take to a Superbowl party next weekend, give these a shot. You can make them this weekend and then just reheat them the day of the game.

Two Years Ago: Mini Roast Beef, Goat Cheese, and Radish Sandwiches and Amped Up Rice Krispies Treats
Three Years Ago: Oatmeal Chocolate Cinnamon Cookies and Mini Whole Wheat Bagels
Four Years Ago: Butternut Squash and Spinach Casserole
Six Years Ago: White Chocolate Mocha Cupcakes

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Sweet and Sour Meatballs

A sweet and sour sauce coats tender meatballs that can be made ahead of time and frozen until you're ready to serve them.

Yield: ~80 meatballs


For the Meatballs
4 slices white sandwich bread, torn into pieces
1/2 cup milk
2 egg yolks
1/2 lb ground pork
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 lb 85% lean ground beef

For the Sauce
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, minced (~1 cup)
1 (28 oz) can tomato sauce
2 1/2 cup apricot preserves
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
3 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes


For the Meatballs
Preheat oven to 450 degF.

Using a fork, mash the bread, milk, and egg yolks in a large bowl until smooth. Add the pork, parsley, garlic, pepper, and salt. Mix until incorporated. Add beef and gently knead until combined.

For the mixture into 1 1/4 inch meatballs. Bake meatballs on 2 rimmed cookie sheets until cooked through, 12-15 minutes. Switch and rotate the sheets halfway through.

Let the meatballs cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until firm. If freezing, throw meatballs into a large Ziplock bag and freeze for up to 1 month.

For the Sauce
Heat the oil in a dutch oven over med-high heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the tomato sauce, preserves, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and red pepper flakes. Bring to boil.

Reduce heat to med-low and simmer until the sauce is thickened, about 15 minutes. Let cool to room temperature. If freezing, transfer to large airtight container and freeze for up to one month.

If meatballs and sauce are frozen, defrost meatballs and sauce in the fridge overnight before you want to serve them.

Add sauce and meatballs to crockpot and set on low for 2+ hours until completely heated. Alternatively, heat in a large pan on the stove top.

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33 Responses to “Crockpot Pulled Pork”

  1. #
    Taylor — March 24, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    I don’t really like pork, but you make it looks so good! 🙂

    Happy 250th post. <3


  2. #
    Jen — March 24, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    Thanks Taylor! This really is an amazing pulled pork recipe if you are ever in the mood for pork.

  3. #
    Mermaid Sweets — March 24, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    I really need a crock pot – this looks great and I am bookmarking it for when I do get one, my husband loves pulled pork sandwiches.

  4. #
    Ashley — March 25, 2009 at 12:15 am

    This looks awesome! I love making pulled pork in the crockpot 🙂

  5. #
    Stephanie — March 25, 2009 at 2:27 am

    This looks great! I have been in search of a good pulled pork recipe.

    Happy 250th post!

  6. #
    Kerstin — March 25, 2009 at 3:15 am

    I love all the spices you used on the pork – it looks so tender and yummy! Congrats on 250 posts!

  7. #
    Ashley — June 12, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    Hey Jen, this is Ashley (formerly) from Performance in Evendale! I found your blog through some others and I love it …. we tried this recipe last night and it. was. amazing. Thank you! Your kitchen is going to be gorgeous, can’t wait to see the final pictures.

  8. #
    Katrina — June 14, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    Hi! I made your recipe last night for my extended family. They RAVED about it! I posted a link back to this post. Thanks again!

  9. #
    Jen — July 1, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    Hey Ashley! I always get a kick out of when people I know in real life find my blog. We LOVE this recipe.

  10. #
    michelle — October 5, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    Well, 6 months later, I come upon your recipe through Google and it is amazing!! I served this up to some dinner guests and we all loved it!! It IS the best pulled pork recipe and I thank you for leaving it here for me to find!

  11. #
    nupike — February 1, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    We tried this recipe over the weekend (with a couple of minor tweaks) and it came out great!

    Thanks for posting.

  12. #
    alamodestuff — February 6, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    This is our new favorite pulled pork recipe! Thanks for posting it!

  13. #
    Joshua and Stacie — March 6, 2010 at 1:23 am

    About how many did this serve?

  14. #
    Jen — March 7, 2010 at 4:29 am

    Joshua and Stacie – the recipe says it serves 6, but I’d say it serves more like 8.

  15. #
    Nichole — August 10, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    thanks for the recipe. I’ve been searching for a good one.

  16. #
    Anonymous — October 18, 2012 at 2:19 am

    This was a great recipe! It was my first pork roast, and it was so easy. My 7 lb roast was fork tender in 8 hours.

  17. #
    MK — June 1, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    Started this the other day and had it in the crockpot all day today. So delicious. Very satisfied husband. Thanks for posting this!

    • beantownbaker — June 10th, 2013 @ 12:33 pm

      So glad your husband enjoyed this. This recipe is in our regular rotation.

  18. #
    nonniz — July 4, 2013 at 10:52 am

    Love this recipe. Have used it many times and it always gets rave reviews. Making it again this weekend.

    • beantownbaker — July 4th, 2013 @ 1:44 pm

      Glad you enjoy it! We love it too and make it on a regular weekend. Especially since it freezes so well!

  19. #
    Lauretta Dane — August 22, 2013 at 10:12 am

    What Barbeque sauce did you prefer. There are so many different flavors out there these days?

  20. #
    Stephanie Walsh — October 10, 2013 at 9:41 pm

    Only complaint from people when I made this was…”Why didn’t you make more??!?!” Love Love Love this recipe!
    Thanks for publishing!

    • beantownbaker — October 23rd, 2013 @ 12:25 am

      I get that a lot too! So glad you enjoyed it!!

  21. #
    Val — October 21, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    This recipe is awesome!!! I have only made pulled pork a few times but was never a huge fan as I found them to be too BBQ sauce flavored! I saw this recipe on pinterest and decided to try it tonight for dinner! OMG it is FANTBULOUS!!!!!! I love the rb idea and honestly I could have done without the BBQ sauce as the drippings and sauce in the pot was amazing with the pork on its own! I did add the bq sauce however and was still quite impressed! This recipe had changed my whole opinion of pulled pork! Kudos on a great spice rub blend!!!

    • beantownbaker — October 23rd, 2013 @ 12:28 am

      So glad I was able to convert you to a pulled pork fan! I actually have a batch of this cooking in the crockpot as I type. It’s going to cook overnight for my sister and her husband since they’re new parents and it freezes so well.

  22. #
    Brooke — October 22, 2013 at 12:21 am

    This is the easiest and I’m sure tastiest recipe I’ve ever found. I just rubbed all the spices on the pork and it’s marinating in the fridge right now…. I will cook it tomorrow morning I’m very excited about serving this to my family. I’ll come back and post how it was!

    • beantownbaker — October 23rd, 2013 @ 12:29 am

      I’ve got a batch cooking in the crockpot right now! I hope you and your family enjoy it.

  23. #
    Brigette — December 12, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    I tried this tonight and OMG it was delicious! That rub really makes it. I couldn’t let it sit in the fridge for days but it was still amazing. I will definitely be making this again.

    • beantownbaker — December 17th, 2013 @ 10:55 am

      So glad you enjoyed it! We really love this recipe and make it all the time.

  24. #
    Mary — July 3, 2015 at 12:56 pm

    Hi. I am making this as we speak for tomorrow. My only concern the spices seem a little over powering. When I opened the crockpot to check on it it seemed very spicey. Is that what you experience?

  25. #
    Robin — January 17, 2016 at 11:41 am

    This is one of the best crockpot pork recipes ever! I use Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce or make my own secret barbecue sauce. Either way it is the best. We also use the rub when my husband cooks a shoulder on the grill. Great find – thanks!

  26. #
    Jen Brothers — February 15, 2016 at 7:48 am

    Sounds delish! What brand and flavor bbq sauce did you use, exactly?

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