Eat, drink and be merry!

Eat, drink and be merry!

Tasting menus, bite-sized treats and finger foods are always a hit at holiday functions — and this recipe for “Mini Merry Meatballs,” courtesy of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, is sure to please. Paired with a cranberry barbecue sauce, these savory appetizers are bursting with flavor and holiday appeal.

Mini Merry Meatballs (Serves 24)

½ lb. ground beef brisket

¼ lb. ground beef ribeye steak boneless

¼ lb. ground beef (80% lean)

1   cup seasoned stuffing mix

1 egg, beaten

3 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1⁄4 teaspoon salt

1⁄8 teaspoon pepper

Cranberry Barbecue Sauce:

2 tsp. vegetable oil

½ cup chopped white onion

1 tbsp. minced garlic

2 ½     cups fresh cranberries

½         cup orange juice

½         water

1/3       cup ketchup

¼         light brown sugar

2 tbsp. cider vinegar

2 tbsp. molasses

1⁄2 tsp. ground red pepper


Preheat oven to 400 F. Combine brisket, ribeye, ground beef, stuffing mix, egg, water, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large bowl, mixing lightly but thoroughly. Shape into 24 1 ½ -inch meatballs. Place on a rack in a broiler pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes until the internal temperature reads 160 F.

Meanwhile, prepare the Cranberry Barbecue Sauce. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic; cook and stir 2 to 3 minutes, or until tender, but not brown. Add remaining ingredients, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, or until cranberries burst and the mixture has been reduced to a thick consistency, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; cool slightly. Transfer mixture to blender container. Cover, allowing steam to escape. Process until smooth. Season with salt, as desired.

Serve meatballs with barbecue sauce.

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