Searching for a crowd-pleasing appetizer that’s both delicious and easy to prepare? Look no further than this Easy Barbecue Sweet and Sour Meatball Recipe! Inspired by Spanish-style meatballs called albondigas, these tasty morsels are perfect for potlucks, tailgate parties, or any gathering where finger foods are in demand.

Cooked in a crockpot or slow cooker, these meatballs are simple to transport and keep warm at your event. Let’s dive into the recipe and see how you can impress your guests with this delectable appetizer.

Understanding Spanish-Style Meatballs

Unlike Italian meatballs, which often contain Parmesan or Romano cheese and are typically served with pasta, Spanish-style meatballs are meant to be enjoyed on their own.

They are a popular tapas item, which are small snacks served alongside drinks either before or in place of a main meal. When combined with a savory sweet and sour barbecue sauce, these meatballs become an irresistible appetizer that is perfect for any social gathering.

Sweet and Sour Barbecue Sauce for Meatballs


  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp molasses
  • 1 Tbsp mustard
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder


  1. Combine all ingredients in a crockpot set to high heat. Stir to combine. If not using a crockpot or slow cooker, combine ingredients in a saucepot set to medium heat.

Crockpot Meatballs Party Appetizer Recipe


  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 1 egg, beaten


  1. Heat oil in a sauté pan on medium heat. Sauté onions and garlic until soft and translucent. Remove from heat.
  2. In a large bowl, combine beef, pork, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and paprika. Mix in the cooked onions, garlic, and beaten egg until well combined. The mixture should be slightly wet.
  3. Form the mixture into 1-inch meatballs.
  4. Return the sauté pan to the stovetop on medium heat. Lightly brown the meatballs on all sides, pan-frying for 2-3 minutes each.
  5. Place the meatballs in the crockpot or slow cooker with the sweet and sour barbecue sauce. Cook on high for about 2 hours, or until the meatballs reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F (75 degrees C). Reduce heat to low or the “warm” setting to maintain a temperature of at least 140 degrees F (60 degrees C) while serving.

Makes 36 meatballs

Alternate Oven Baked Barbecue Meatball Directions and Serving Suggestions

If you don’t have a slow cooker, you can bake the meatballs in an oven preheated to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) for 20-30 minutes. Once cooked, toss the meatballs in the sauce and keep warm on the stovetop.

When serving the meatballs directly from the crockpot, use a ladle or serving spoon to place them onto plates. For tailgates or Superbowl parties, where finger foods are essential, serve the

meatballs with pretzel sticks or toothpicks to create easy-to-grab, bite-size appetizers.


This Easy Barbecue Sweet and Sour Meatball recipe is the perfect solution for any potluck or tailgate party. Combining the flavors of Spanish-style albondigas with a tangy barbecue sauce, these meatballs are sure to be a hit at your next gathering. Cooked in a crockpot or slow cooker, they are easy to transport and keep warm during your event.

Serve them with pretzel sticks or toothpicks for an appetizer that’s both delicious and convenient. Give this recipe a try, and enjoy the compliments from your guests as they savor these mouthwatering meatballs.