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Christmas Party Meatballs

Updated: Dec 1, 2022

From "The Infinite Feast: How to Host the Ones You Love—Recipes from the Big Easy . . . and Beyond" by Brian Theis, 2020 Click here for more info on my best-selling cookbook!

A mid-century classic and my Mother-in-Law's specialty. These are more sweet 'n sour-ly hard to resist than ever. I normally make 300 meatballs for 100 people. Be sure to take meatballs out of freezer the day before, to thaw in fridge.

Christmas Party Meatballs

Makes 50 meatballs

1/3 cup all fruit grape jelly

1/2 cup chili sauce

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon arrowroot starch or cornstarch

50 frozen plain or Swedish meatballs, thawed. Do not use Italian-flavored.

In Dutch oven or large pot combine jelly, chili sauce, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar.

Over medium heat, whisk vigorously and bring to a gentle boil.

Add 1 1/2 tablespoons water to starch, whisk, stir in to mixture. Continue cooking till mixture thickens, about 4 minutes. Add meatballs.

With large spoon coat meatballs with sauce by turning them repeatedly, 5 minutes. Simmer for another 10, stirring frequently to avoid scorching. Refrigerate meatballs in sauce for at least 3 hours, best overnight.

In foil-covered roasting pan, at 225°F, reheat for 45 minutes then hold in oven at 225°F

till ready to serve.


I had a lot of fun making this recipe live on WGN-TV Chicago (via Zoom from my NYC kitchen) in December of 2021. Click on the man with meatballs below to go to the tape! (Includes one of my most infamous segment quotes, the "Omicron Meatball Tree.")

Merry meat-balling!!!

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