Slow-Cooker Smoky Blackberry-Barbecue Turkey Meatballs

Did you watch the Superbowl last night?  I did even though neither one of the teams were my team (I’m talking about you, Philadelphia Eagles).  I always used to find myself quietly routing for Denver in games I didn’t have a personal investment in because I lived there when I was 24-years old. But this time I found myself routing for Seattle and, even though I’m kind of a Peyton Manning fan and don’t know anything about anyone on Seattle other than what has been highlighted in recent interviews and sports news, I tend want to see the underdog win.

Regardless, did you know that the Pacific Northwest is a big producer of blackberries?  I didn’t know this until I read Blackberry Winter, a book by one of my favorite authors, Sarah Jio.  I didn’t intentionally make these Slow-Cooker Smoky Blackberry-Barbecue Turkey Meatballs with the Seattle Seahawks in mind but they are what I made for Superbowl Sunday and I was plenty happy with them.

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Blackberry jam and hickory smoked barbecue sauce are mixed together and tossed with frozen turkey meatballs before hot tubbin’ it in a slow-cooker for a few hours.  I came up with this recipe after my sister and I made meatballs over Christmas using the typical chili sauce and grape jelly.  One of my sister’s friends mentioned how she used barbecue sauce instead of chili sauce so it got me thinking about using blackberry jam instead of grape jelly.  So this appetizer was born. Any of your favorite bottled or homemade barbecue sauces would work here but I particularly love how the smokiness pairs nicely with the sweetness of the jam.

Serve this as an appetizer or throw a few on a bun for a fun and different meatball sandwich.

Slow-Cooker Smoky Blackberry-Barbecue Turkey Meatballs (makes 8 servings)

  • 10 oz. seedless blackberry jam
  • 12 oz. hickory smoke barbecue sauce
  • 24 oz. frozen turkey meatballs

Place jam and barbecue sauce in the bowl of a slow-cooker and mix together. Add in frozen meatballs and toss until meatballs are coated. Turn slow-cooker on high and cook for 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Top with chives, basil, or scallions before serving.

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