How to Make Buffalo Chicken Meatballs
Recently my wife and I have been eating less meat. We generally only eat meat on the weekends and it is more of a treat to us that an everyday or every meal staple in our diet.
The problem is, when we decided to do this, I had previously purchased a lot, and I mean a lot, of chicken when it was on sale. So our freezer was packed with chicken breasts, boneless chicken thighs, bone-in chicken thighs and chicken wings. It was crazy. Thankfully my meat buying was pretty limited to chicken, so I didn't have an excess of other random meats also taking up space in the freezer.
The second problem I have had is that it's been cold here in Pennsylvania. This winter started early November 2017 and is still going strong early April 2018. Normally I would bust out my BBQ/Smoker and smoke some wings or chicken thighs and be done with it over a few weekends. But with the extended cold I have not been in the mood for spending excessive amounts of time outside.
Lastly, I have had people over a few times in the past month and needed to make some finger food. I like being creative so I started looking for ideas. After a little bit of searching I came across chicken meatballs. I had never heard of and never made chicken meatballs, but with pounds and pounds of chicken I was ready for the experiment.
Have you ever made Chicken Meatballs?
The ingredientsfor success!
Doing it from Scratch
As you may have noted above, I have a lot of chicken. You make have also noted that I did not mention that I had a lot of ground chicken. That's because I didn't and don't. But fate was kind to me. I had recently come into possession (I bought) of a kitchen aid meat grinder, so now was the time to put it to use and turn all that regular chicken into meatball chicken!
As you can see from the picture above I cut up about two pounds of chicken (consisting of chicken breasts and thighs) for use in this recipe. Chicken breast is my least favorite cut of chicken, so I used it here just to get rid of it. I trimmed off most of the skin from the thighs and most of the fat as well.
I have done this two ways now, simply grind the chicken and then add the spices and also adding everything together and grinding all at once, which effectively mixes in the spices as well. I prefer the latter method and that is the one I am showcasing in this article.
After mixing the chicken and spices together it's time for the grinder!
In the video above I show how the meat grinder is in action. I was told by many people that for large jobs the kitchen aid meat grinder might be a little laborious, and I can see why. But for smaller jobs like this it is perfect! I have nothing but good things to say about using it and will continue to use it in the future!
Now, this is obviously a step that is not needed in making your meatballs. You can make your life easier by just buying ground chicken at the store. The difference is in the price. I got all my chicken for .99 or less a pound. Pre-ground chicken will never be at that price.
With the meat grinder paid for, I will make sure to get as much use and money out of it as possible!
After everything is ground, we will add the last two ingredients. While you could probably add the egg and bread crumbs before grinding, I prefer to do it after. I feel like I got a better mix that way.
Once everything is done start making meatballs! I think I made about 20 large meatballs for this but you could do more at a smaller size or less at a larger size. I prepped mine the day before cooking so they went into the fridge overnight (I suggest this - prep the meatballs the night before and you'll have everything ready when it's cooking time).
Let's get the sauce ready!
Now that it's cooking time you need to prep your sauce. I went heavy on buffalo sauce and hotness, but you don't have too. In all honesty though, my next try with these will be even heavier on the buffalo sauce and less with other ingredients.
For this use a mixture of spices you will like. I used Franks Red Hot Wing Sauce, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, garlic powder, salt, pepper and red chili flakes.
Combine all these in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Once boiling reduce heat to a simmer for about 10 - 15 minutes then remove from heat and allow to cool. Next time I might reduce the amount of sugar used in the sauce, but after cooling for about 30 minutes it starts to thicken and I could almost spoon it directly into my mouth. It really is that good. The only reason I will change it next time is to make sure it has move buffalo flavor and hotness!
With the sauce cooled it is time to cook. You can probably find similar recipes that will have you bake in the oven, but if you want really great flavor, do it on the stove top in a cast iron skillet. Place the meatballs in the skillet and cook on medium high temp, as they are cooking, slather the sauce all over them. Continuously, and carefully, turn them to make sure the cook evenly! Make sure they get to 165 degrees F to be cooked completely.
I love the video above. There is something just so soothing about cooking with cast iron.
Once everything is cooked serve these with some celery, carrots and blue cheese! They are really pretty amazing. I made two batches and they were destroyed. If had know I would have made more!
The best part is that this can be versatile. Serve them as finger food like I did, or making make a buffalo chicken meatball sandwich? Maybe even a salad topped with blue cheese dressing? Do you have any other ideas for it? Let me know in the comments. I will continue to experiment with this recipe. It was truly a crowd pleaser and if you go the route of buying the chicken pre-ground it is very easy to make!
Rate My Buffalo Chicken Meatballs
Ingredients - Meatballs
- 2 pounds chicken, ground
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 3 TBS garlic, minced
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 2 eggs
- For the Sauce For the Sauce
- 1 cup Brown Sugar
- 1/2 cup Wing Sauce or Hot Sauce
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 2 TBS Apple Cider Vinegar
- Start by prepping your Meatballs. Add all the top ingredients to a large bowl (chicken, bread crumbs, garlic, salt, pepper, red pepper, onion powder, paprika and eggs) and mix throughly.
- Separate into 20 large meatballs. If prepping the night before place in the fridge until ready to cook.
- About an hour before cooking, add all the ingredients for sauce to a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer for 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Place meatballs in a preheated (medium high) large cast iron skillet. Brush with sauce and cook. Turn and and continue to burst with sauce until the sauce is gone and the meatballs are cooked (internal temp to 165 degrees F).
- Serve with celery, carrots and blue cheese and reap the praise of your friends and family.