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18 Sauces for Cocktail Meatballs, Weenies, and Sausages

Rose Mary's mother and all of her aunts are great Southern cooks. She likes to think she's not so bad herself.

cocktail-meatballs-cocktails-weenies-cocktail-sausage

My mom and Aunt Blanche insist that my cocktail meatballs, weenies, and sausages are among the fastest-disappearing dishes at any gathering. Ironic, since there are so many other food items on the family feast table that take hours of preparation. Cocktail weenies are also great to have on hand for young kids. They can go for the weenies or Lit'l Smokies instead of grabbing a big piece of chicken that they won't finish.

Recipes in This Article

1. Basic Meatballs

2. Jelly-Based Sauces

  • Sweet and Spicy Chili Grape Sauce
  • Grape Jelly and Mustard Sauce
  • Spicy Grape Jelly and Mustard Sauce
  • Hot Cranberry Jelly Sauce
  • Currant Jelly Sauce

3. Ketchup-Based Sauces

  • Basic Ketchup Sauce
  • Homemade BBQ Sauce
  • Garlicky Smoked Ketchup Sauce
  • Beer Ketchup Sauce
  • Little Meatloaf-Bites Sauce

4. Sweet and Sour Sauces

  • Sweet and Sour Soy Sauce With Pineapples
  • Tomato-Based Sweet and Sour Sauce

5. Sauces for Swedish Meatballs

  • Onion Soup-Based Swedish Meatball Sauce
  • Creamy Swedish Meatball Sauce

6. Other Sauces

  • Brown Sugar and Mustard Ham-Glaze Sauce
  • Favorite Balsamic Marinade
  • Two-Ingredient Marinara

Enjoy these easy-to-make appetizers!

Meatballs simmering in garlicky smoked ketchup sauce

Meatballs simmering in garlicky smoked ketchup sauce

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A Note About Sauces

Most of the sauces here can be used for any type of meat. We cooked our sauces and meats on the stovetop. To do so, simply combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring them to a low boil. Most sauces and meats will be ready after simmering for between 30 to 60 minutes.

For parties, you can prepare the sauce and meat on the stove, then transfer them to a crockpot or chafing dish to keep them warm.

Alternately, put the meatballs and sauce in the crockpot on low for 4 to 6 hours before your event.

Homemade meatballs cooking in a pan

Homemade meatballs cooking in a pan

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for homemade. But when it comes to meatballs, I buy frozen. When you're buying, keep in mind which sauce you're planning to use and whether it'd best complement plain or Italian meatballs.

For those who prefer to make their own meatballs, I have included a basic recipe.

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Basic Meatball Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 cup onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • Cooking oil, for browning meatballs

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients except cooking oil in a bowl and thoroughly combine.
  2. Shape into meatballs, approximately 1 inch in diameter.
  3. Heat oil in skillet. Add meatballs and cook until browned, about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain on a paper towel.
Form the meat into balls one inch in diameter.

Form the meat into balls one inch in diameter.

First freeze the meatballs in a single layer so that they don't stick together. Then you can place them all in a bag for storage.

First freeze the meatballs in a single layer so that they don't stick together. Then you can place them all in a bag for storage.

Freezing Homemade Meatballs for Future Use

It's easy to make a huge batch of meatballs and store for parties or meals:

  1. Freeze the cooked meatballs in a single layer so they don't stick together, then place meal-sized potions in freezer bags.
  2. Cook meatballs in sauce from frozen for a quick and easy meal.

How to Make Meatballs

The most popular jelly-based sauce is made with grape jelly and usually includes mustard or tomato-based chili sauce. Other popular variations are made with cranberry or currant jelly.

Most of these recipes would be sufficient for 1 1/2 to 2 pounds of meat.

Sweet and spicy chili grape sauce

Sweet and spicy chili grape sauce

Sweet and Spicy Chili Grape Sauce

  • 1 1/4 cups grape jelly
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato-based chili sauce
Lit'l Smokies in grape jelly and mustard sauce

Lit'l Smokies in grape jelly and mustard sauce

Grape Jelly and Mustard Sauce

  • 1 1/2 cups grape jelly
  • 1/2 cup mustard
Cocktail weenies in spicy grape jelly and mustard

Cocktail weenies in spicy grape jelly and mustard

Spicy Grape Jelly and Mustard Sauce

  • 1 1/4 cups grape jelly
  • 1/4 cup chili sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mustard
Hot cranberry jelly sauce

Hot cranberry jelly sauce

Hot Cranberry Jelly Sauce

  • 1 (8-ounce) can jellied cranberry sauce
  • 3/4 cup chili sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoosn lemon juice
  • Hot sauce (optional)
Currant jelly sauce

Currant jelly sauce

Currant Jelly Sauce

  • 1/2 cup currant jelly
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest (finely grated rind)
  • 2 teaspoons mustard
Basic ketchup sauce

Basic ketchup sauce

Basic Ketchup Sauce

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
Homemade bbq sauce

Homemade bbq sauce

Homemade BBQ Sauce

  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dried minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • 4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 6 drops hot pepper sauce
Garlicky smoked ketchup sauce

Garlicky smoked ketchup sauce

Garlicky Smoked Ketchup Sauce

  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Beer ketchup sauce

Beer ketchup sauce

Beer Ketchup Sauce

  • 14 ounces ketchup
  • 12 ounces beer
  • 1 cup sugar
Little meatloaf bites sauce

Little meatloaf bites sauce

Meatloaf Bites Sauce

This sauce is a combination of some of the above recipes. I used frozen meatballs, cooking them on high for about 45 minutes and then on low for 3-4 hours. The meatballs were like little meatloaf bites. We demolished them!

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Sweet and sour soy sauce with pineapple

Sweet and sour soy sauce with pineapple

Sweet and Sour Soy Sauce With Pineapple

  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 (13-ounce) can pineapple chunks
  • 1/3 cup vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 small green pepper, chopped

Combine ingredients in pan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer meatballs, weenies, or sausages for 10 minutes.

Tomato-based sweet and sour sauce

Tomato-based sweet and sour sauce

Tomato-Based Sweet and Sour Sauce

  • 1/3 cup green pepper, chopped or sliced
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup tomato soup
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 to 2 cups pineapple tidbits with some juice

Prepare as above.

Onion soup-based Swedish meatball sauce

Onion soup-based Swedish meatball sauce

Onion Soup-Based Swedish Meatball Sauce

  • 2 packages mushroom gravy mix
  • 1 package onion soup mix
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups sour cream

Combine gravy and soup mixes and water. Bring to a boil stirring constantly. Simmer for 1 minute, reduce heat to low, and add sour cream.

Creamy Swedish meatball sauce

Creamy Swedish meatball sauce

Creamy Swedish Meatball Sauce

  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 packages brown gravy mix
  • 1 to 2 cups sour cream
  • 1 bag frozen turkey and pork meatballs

Empty soup into crockpot. Blend in milk, water, and gravy mix. Add meatballs and cook on low for about 6 hours. Add sour cream in the last hour.

Cocktail sausages in my family's brown sugar and mustard ham glaze

Cocktail sausages in my family's brown sugar and mustard ham glaze

Brown Sugar and Mustard Ham Glaze Sauce

This recipe is what my family uses for baked ham. We tried it for Lit'l Smokie sausages last night, and they turned out pretty well. The recipe covers one pound of meatballs or a 12-ounce package of smokies.

  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup mustard
  • 1/4 cup water
Meatballs simmered in a sauce made with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, soy sauce, garlic powder, and basil.

Meatballs simmered in a sauce made with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, soy sauce, garlic powder, and basil.

My Favorite Balsamic Marinade

This is my favorite chicken marinade, modified into a meatball simmer sauce.

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder with parsley
  • 1 teaspoon basil
Two-ingredient marinara with meatballs

Two-ingredient marinara with meatballs

Two-Ingredient Marinara

Another simple but handy idea. Buy a jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce or treat your guests to a gourmet sauce with Italian meatballs.

  • Spaghetti sauce
  • Capers

© 2010 rmcrayne

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