Cheesy Bacon Jalapeno Smoked Meatballs

These cheesy bacon jalapeno smoked meatballs will be the hit of your party.  Each bite is loaded with flavor that will make your taste buds sing.  Make a big batch as these disappear quickly.

Take these to the next level by pairing them with pasta for the Ultimate Party Spaghetti and Meatballs.  These bacon-wrapped smoked treats layered on top of spaghetti coated with a creamy cheese sauce will be the talk of the tailgate party. ; )


Cheesy bacon jalapeno smoked meatballs on a square white serving plate with a UW Wisconsin logo as the backdrop.

Ingredients Matter

All bacon is not created equal.  Cuts range from steak (thick) to paper thin.  The width also varies by brand.  For this recipe, slices with a medium thickness and a wide width are ideal.  It will be flexible enough to stretch and wrap around the meatball while ensuring it’s cradled in the bacon. 

The same can be said for cheese.  Here in Wisconsin, we are so fortunate to have so many varieties to choose from.  To ensure the cheddar stands up to the smoky bacon and beef, choose a sharp variety.  Yet don’t go extra sharp because that tends to be drier from its aging process and can crumble.

Cheesy bacon jalapeno smoked meatballs on a square white serving plate with a UW Wisconsin logo as the backdrop.

Cheesy Jalapeno Bacon Smoked Meatballs

Foodie de Froid
Servings 8
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
These cheesy jalapeno bacon smoked meatballs will be the hit of the party. Each bite is loaded with flavor that will make your taste buds sing.  Make a big batch. These meatballs disappear fast.
5 from 1 vote


  • 1 pound ground beef 80/20
  • 1 cup white bread cubed with crusts cut off
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ pound sharp cheddar cheese cubed into small pieces
  • 2 jalapenos seeds removed, finely diced
  • 1 tsp bbq rub or equal parts salt and pepper
  • ½ pound bacon cut in half
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce


  • Preheat your smoker to 225 - 235 degrees F.
  • In a medium bowl, add cubed bread and milk to create a panade, tossing to ensure the bread is fully saturated, and let sit for 10 minutes to soak.
    1 cup white bread, 3 tbsp milk
  • While the bread is soaking, gently crumble the beef into a medium to large-sized bowl.
    1 pound ground beef
  • Prepare the remaining ingredients in a separate dish, and when the bread is soaked, add them to the panade.  Mash the soaked bread with your fingers to break it down and combine it with the other ingredients. Any bits of bread that aren't fully saturated can be removed. Otherwise, add milk if the bread cubes ares not a mushy texture.
    2 eggs, 3 cloves garlic, ½ pound sharp cheddar cheese, 2 jalapenos, 1 tsp bbq rub
  • Pour bread and seasoning mixture over the crumbled meat and gently combine with the meat using your fingers. Work the meat only as much as needed to blend with the ingredients.
  • Using a 1 ¾" meat baller (or your hands) form the meat mixture into balls. Set on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • Wrap each ball with a half piece of bacon and secure each with a toothpick.
    ½ pound bacon
  • Place the meatballs directly on the grill grates and smoke for 40 minutes or until the meatballs reach 155 degrees F.
  • To crisp up the bacon, increase the heat to 375 °F. Brush the meatballs with BBQ Sauce and cook for 5-10 minutes or until they reach 165 degrees F. Alternatively, you can place them on a hot grill or convection broil.
    1 cup BBQ sauce
  • Remove the meatballs from the smoker and remove the toothpicks. Serve with extra sauce on the side, if desired.

Kitchen Equipment

Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Calories 931


Serving: 8gCalories: 931kcalCarbohydrates: 34gProtein: 45gFat: 68gSaturated Fat: 28gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6gMonounsaturated Fat: 25gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 256mgSodium: 1497mgPotassium: 675mgFiber: 1gSugar: 19gVitamin A: 1052IUVitamin C: 9mgCalcium: 481mgIron: 4mg
Keyword best, game day, homemade, jalapeno, party, smoked meatballs, super bowl, tailgate
Have you made this recipe? We'd love to hear how it was!

De Froid Tip: Pasta Tweezers

Have you ever wondered how chefs create a beautiful pasta roll?  It’s all in the fork!  Rolling the noodles around the long tines makes plating pasta easy.  It also gives you a beautiful surface where you can present a second layer of flavor, color, and texture. No worries if you don’t have pasta tweezers. You can use chopsticks or a carving fork to get the same results.

There are times when loading pasta into a bowl is a perfect solution.  Yet, when you want to step up your plating game, using a pasta fork (tweezers) to form a roll will take your presentation to the next level.

Free Pasta with Raw Yolk and Cherry Tomatoes Stock Photo

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Our mouth reacts to flavors in a transitional way.  That first taste creates an exciting experience with the food’s intense flavors, textures, and visual appeal.  Yet after the first few bites, our mouths and minds adjust, and that experience deadens.  

Thus, the tasting experience!  We served 14 consecutive courses at my last tasting party.  Each was purposely selected to bring new flavors, textures, and presentations, creating surprises and wow moments throughout the night.

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