Bacon Meatballs with Port Wine–Bacon Marinara Sauce


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves

    4 to 6

    ; Makes 20 to 22

Appears in

The Bacon Bible

The Bacon Bible

By Peter Sherman and Stephanie Banyas

Published 2019

  • About

These are some of the best meatballs that you will ever eat. Chock full of savory goodness courtesy of the usual suspects: onion, garlic, red chile flakes, and Parmesan cheese and a not-so-usual ingredient—bacon. I serve them at the restaurant simply in a bowl of port wine marinara sauce; not exactly your grandma’s recipe. You can use them for a meatball sandwich smothered with provolone or on a bed of perfectly cooked spaghetti.


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • Pinch of red chile flakes
  • 1 pound (455 g) ground chuck (80/20)
  • 6 thin slices bacon, finely diced
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • ¾ cup (70 g) grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¾ cup (60 g) panko bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup (13 g) finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Canola oil
  • 1 recipe Port Wine–Bacon Marinara


Heat the oil in a medium sauté pan, add the onion, and cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and chile flakes and cook for 30 seconds longer. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the onion mixture, beef, bacon, eggs, Parmesan, panko, and parsley and gently mix until just combined; season with the salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 24 hours to allow the flavors to meld.

Line a sheet pan with several layers of paper towels and set aside. Form the meat mixture into meatballs about the size of Ping-Pong balls. Heat about ½ inch (12 mm) of oil in a skillet over medium heat until it begins to shimmer. Fry the meatballs until they are browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. (They will continue to cook through in the sauce.) Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meatballs to the prepared baking sheet.

In a large, deep sauté pan, bring the sauce to a simmer over medium heat. Carefully place the meatballs in the sauce, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Uncover, turn the meatballs, and cook for 10 minutes longer, until tender and cooked through and sauce has reduced slightly. Serve immediately or let cool to room temperature and store, tightly covered in the refrigerator, for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.