Verna Bender’s BBQ Meatballs . . . high marks for these tasty morsels

“Totally Homemade"— Verna Bender's style of cooking falls into the category of "totally homemade." She has cooked at several restaurants—the home-style ones where they cook food from scratch.
For her husband’s recent birthday, she must have cooked for days! An array of his favorite dishes literally covered a large buffet table: fried chicken, mashed potatoes and cream gravy, chicken and noodles, meatballs, baked beans, a layered lettuce salad, a gelatin-based salad, and homemade rolls . . . for the main course. Birthday cake for dessert . . . and four different kinds of pies—two fruit, coconut cream and banana cream with meringue, all encased in melt-in-your-mouth pie crust!
It was an amazing meal, and Verna was kind enough to share her meatball recipe. I must admit that I am picky about meatballs and rarely order them at restaurants as I have had way too many disappointments. And, I must admit I was a little reluctant the first time through the buffet—I cut one in half but it took only one bite and I was back to reclaim the other half. These meatballs are DELICIOUS!

Verna Bender's BBQ Meatballs     Makes 20 (¼ cup capacity) meatballs
Meatball Mixture
3 lbs. ground beef (I used 80-85% lean)
2 cups oatmeal  (I used old-fashioned but the quick-cook variety would work, too)
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon pepper
2 eggs
½ cup chopped onion
½ teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons chili powder

BBQ Sauce
2 cups ketchup
½ cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons liquid smoke
½ teaspoon garlic powder
  1. Meatballs: Mix ingredients well. Shape into balls and arrange on a baking pan. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes (longer for larger balls).

    I used a 1/4 cup capacity scoop to form uniform sized meatballs.
  2. While meatballs bake, combine ingredients for the sauce.
  3. Remove from oven, cover with sauce and bake another 20 to 30 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through.
    Covered with sauce and ready to go back in the oven
    for another 30 minutes of baking .

Note: This recipe freezes well . . . at any stage (raw meatballs, partially cooked with sauce added or after being baked).

Recipe without photos . . .
Verna Bender's BBQ Meatballs     Makes 20 (¼ cup capacity) meatballs
Meatball Mixture
3 lbs. ground beef (I used 80-85% lean)
2 cups oatmeal (I used old-fashioned but the quick-cook variety would work, too)
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon pepper
2 eggs
½ cup chopped onion
½ teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons chili powder

BBQ Sauce 
2 cups ketchup
½ cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons liquid smoke
½ teaspoon garlic powder
  1. Meatballs: Mix ingredients well. Shape into balls and arrange on a baking pan. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes (longer for larger balls).
  2. While meatballs bake, combine ingredients for the sauce
  3. Remove from oven, cover with sauce and bake another 20 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through.
Note: This recipe freezes well . . . at any stage (raw meatballs, partially cooked with sauce added or after being baked).

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