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A New Twist – The Grilled BBQ Turkey Meatball Recipe #sfsmarties

by Carolyn West on June 2, 2012

Can we all agree that most everything tastes better on the grill? Good! I thought so. One of the things I love to do is surprise my family with new recipes and if they are grilled… all the better. When I was asked by Smart & Final to create a recipe using Jennie-O Turkey, I knew I had to think outside the box. Turkey, especially ground turkey, is not always the most flavorful product. So what could I do to make it new and delicious? Burgers are boring, but meatballs? Now those are a lot more fun. And what if I threw some of those meatballs onto the grill? Hmmm… could it be done?

Jennie-O Turkey Products at Smart & Final

I did my shopping at Smart & Final and picked up the ingredients I would need to make an amazing grilled dinner for my family.

First Street Pasta

Along with the Jenny-O ground turkey, I bought some First Street pasta to complete my dinner.

Grilled BBQ Turkey Meatballs

1.25 lb. Jennie-O Lean Ground Turkey
1 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. oregano
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

For the BBQ Sauce:
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 tbs Dijon mustard
1 tbs brown sugar
salt to taste

This recipe will be yield approximately 12 meatballs.
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Grill Time: 15 minutes

Jenny-O Lean Ground Turkey

Meatballs are traditionally made with beef and/or pork but since we’ve been working hard to eat healthier, I usually substitute turkey for the beef. It’s lower in calories and more heart-healthy. Plus… I can digest turkey better and I don’t feel like I’ve eaten really heavy food.

Jennie-O Ground Turkey

I admit it, ground turkey can taste a little bland, but with the right mix of seasonings it become quite flavorful. I doubled the recipe to make two batches. With my family of 5, we tend to eat a lot, but also like to have a few leftovers to snack on. This recipe will make 12 meatballs so doubled we get 24. Yum.

In a large glass bowl, you’ll want to mix in all the meatball ingredients. The ground turkey, bread crumbs, spices and cheese should be blended together.

Adding spices to ground turkey.

I use my hands to mix everything because I don’t want to overwork the mixture and have it turn out too hard.

Blend meatball ingredients together. Ground turkey all mixed.

When all your ingredients are blended together well, it’s time to form those meatballs. Meatball size depends on your own preference, but I like a meatball about 1 1/2 – 2 inches diameter.

Turkey meatballs.

Once your meatballs are ready, you can store them in the refrigerator until you are ready to use them. Just make sure you take them out prior to grilling so they can come back to room temperature. They will cook more evenly if the temperature is the same throughout. Meanwhile, I prepare the BBQ sauce.

Making BBQ Sauce

This sauce is very tangy which goes perfect with the turkey meatballs. Add all the BBQ Sauce ingredients together and mix well. Ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, brown sugar and salt. It doesn’t take a ton of ingredients to make something super delicious.

Tangy BBQ Sauce

Now that your BBQ sauce is ready, it’s time to get those meatballs on the grill.

Meatball Skewers

Now when you think about putting meatballs on the grill, the first thing that probably comes to mind is how on earth you are gonig to keep those things from rolling all over the place? I decided to use skewers to hold the meatballs in place. I bought an entire package at Smart & Final for only 99 cents. These things are fabulous… for kebobs, toasting marshmallows… and grilling meatballs.

Skewered meatballs

I soaked my skewers in water for a few minutes prior to putting on the meatballs. The reason for soaking in water is so the wooden skewers don’t burn on the grill. The last think you need is for them to catch fire. I put 3 meatballs on a skewer but you could do 2 if your meatballs are larger. Make sure there is plenty of room between them so they will cook completely.

Meatballs on the grill.

Depending on your grill, you might need a grill spray to keep the meatballs from sticking. I grilled the meatballs on a medium flame with the lid of the grill closed for about 5 minutes. Then I brushed on the BBQ sauce.

BBQ meatballs

Once they are brushed with sauce, turn them over and brush the other side. Then close the lid and cook for another 5 minutes. The brown sugar in the BBQ sauce will turn the sauce all tangy and sticky and yummy.

Tangy BBQ Meatballs with Linguini

I chose to serve my meatballs with a simple linguini that’s been mixed with butter and brown sugar. It complements the tangy BBQ meatballs in such an amazing way. You can also serve them with wide noodles as well. I have to say, my family was way impressed. You know when your husband asks you to make this again (before he’s even cleaned his plate) you’ve got a winner.


If you are heading to Smart & Final, check out all this week’s sale items.

Jennie-O Ground Turkey, Links or Patties, selected varieties, 14-20 oz. 2 for $6
Fresh Sweet Cantaloupe Melons 3 lbs. for 99c

Bar S Sliced Bacon, 12 oz. $1.99

I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™. #CBias #SocialFabric  All opinions are my own.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Sara @ June 4, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Wow, I would have never thought to grill them. Great recipe! Thanks for sharing!
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Marie Czarnecki June 6, 2012 at 4:41 am

I never ever thought of BBQ ing these turkey balls or meat balls..


Heidi Clark June 6, 2012 at 5:51 pm

I got hamburger out of the freezer to make these… YUM!


Andie June 8, 2012 at 6:16 pm

Wow I may have to get the DH a grill so we can try this. I never wuld have thought of butter and brown sugar. That is genius!
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temysmom June 8, 2012 at 6:18 pm

The butter and brown sugar make a nice change from just tomato based sauce. Plus, it really brings out the flavor of the meatballs.


Trina June 10, 2012 at 7:30 pm

That looks delicious! And the skewers are a great idea. We tend to get the flavored Ground Turkey since the non flavored is so bland. But this is a great way for us to change up the flavors! Thanks for the write up with the great pictures!
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