Slow-Cooker Glazed Cocktail Meatballs
A recipe for happy party guests: homemade cocktail meatballs in a sweet, bold glaze.
Why This Recipe Works
For sweet, spicy, savory meatballs that would still be tender and juicy after a stint in the slow cooker, we added a panade (a paste of bread and liquid that helps meatballs stay moist). For our panade, we landed on milk for the liquid component and crushed saltines for the bread component. This combo resulted in firm yet tender meatballs. We added the panade to a mix of ground beef, grated Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Giving the cocktail meatballs a quick blast in a 450-degree oven before placing them in the slow cooker rendered their excess fat and created flavorful browning without tedious batch frying on the stovetop. For the sweet and sour sauce, we relied on a potent, easy stir-together mixture of hot pepper jelly, soy sauce, white vinegar, and garlic. After a series of tests, we realized we could put this mixture to work in two ways: as a slow-cooker braising liquid and as a cornstarch-thickened glaze for the finished meatballs.