Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Grape Jelly Cocktail Meatballs and Smokies Sausages

Grape jelly meatballs, made with homemade or frozen meatballs, chili sauce and grape jelly, are classic south and always a crowd favorite for any gathering.

Grape Jelly Cocktail Meatballs

Cocktail meatballs with grape jelly sauce. As country as that may sound to some, these little meatballs - and sometimes little smokies (or Lit'l Smokies) sausages - drenched in a sauce of grape jelly with tomato based chili sauce is just outright loved down south. I think it will always be.

Except for the addition of hot pepper jelly, these are pretty much the original meatballs and Little Smokies sausages from that I personally have been making since the 70s, and the same ones my Mama made for every single catered affair she ever did.

They may be considered low brow by some folks, but they are Classic South, people expect to see them at a party and we are totally endeared to them down here! They are easy, simple, and always a crowd favorite for any gathering. Simply delicious - but better make plenty, because they disappear quick!

I used to love when my relatives would host open house parties over the holidays. We used to go from house to house to house and visit and catch up, eat and well, back in the day, there might have been a bit of "spirits" involved, and I don't mean the supernatural kind. It was a different time back then is all I can say! Nobody needed invitations, it was just sort of a given on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve and pretty much all day.

Of course, if you decide to host a New Year's Eve Open House - sans the alcohol to avoid any problems - easier than policing the designated drivers, you can do it a bit more formally and send out invitations with specific times to tell people to feel free to drop by.

Whether it's a party of many, just the family or just the two of you, these meatballs are a great addition to the party menu. You can keep them going in a slow cooker and they are so good! I do have to say one thing here about that though. You must allow plenty of time for those frozen meatballs to cook through if you're using a slow cooker. I've been to a few parties where the meatballs were ice cold. You can follow the package direction to heat them before putting them in a crockpot, or just simply make sure that you allow enough time for them to get hot.

Laugh these off if you want to, but when my Mama was doing some catering work, this was the go-to recipe she used for those tiny cocktail sausages and meatballs that most everybody wanted. It's hard to believe that the base is made with grape jelly mixed with bottled chili sauce, but it sure is! Now folks, in case you don't know, chili sauce has nothing to do with "chili" as in chili with or without beans! It's actually a ketchup based sauce that looks like this - sort of a seasoned ketchup if you will. If you don't have any on hand, I made up a homemade version once when I ran out. You'll find that here.

Heinz Chili Sauce is a tomato based product, containing tomato puree, onion, garlic and other seasonings

I'm not personally as big a fan of the little sausages, as The Cajun is, so I prefer the meatballs over the sausages. The meatballs just seem to soak up the sauce better. Course, if you don't want to make your own meatballs, you can certainly use the pre-made frozen ones with this sauce too. The sauce is the star really.

Grape jelly & brown sugar meatballs with a splash of Maker's Mark! Variation is found in the cook's notes at the bottom of the recipe below.

If you're looking for a nibble for any party, these are a definite winner. Multiply it by however many pounds of sausages or meatballs you'll want to make depending on your number of guests.

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