Barbequed meatballs commonly make their appearance on appetizer spreads or church pot-lucks. This homemade version made with blackberry barbeque sauce capture all the sweet-tart-vinegary goodness of a traditional sauce, while offering up a beautiful color and distinctly fresh flavor. Meatballs made with turkey lighten things up a bit, but maintain a rich flavor and caramelized exterior when browned in real butter.

Serve as part of your next party spread, or simply served alongside mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables for a distinctly different weeknight meal.

Blackberry Turkey Meatballs
By Lori & Paul
Makes about 18 meatballs


For blackberry barbecue sauce:
12 ounces (about 4 cups) fresh or frozen blackberries
2 tablespoons butter
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped
1 medium clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
a generous 2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
½ cup ketchup
½ teaspoon salt

For meatballs:
3 tablespoons butter
1 large egg
½ cup bread crumbs
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup chopped parsley
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup shallot, minced
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound ground turkey


To make blackberry barbecue sauce:
Puree the blackberries in a food processor or blender until finely blended. Set aside.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add onions and jalapeño and cook over medium heat until the onions have softened and are beginning to brown. Add garlic and thyme and continue to cook for approximately one minute. Add blackberries and allow the mixture to simmer for approximately ten minutes.

Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, and simmer for ten more minutes. Stir in salt. Remove from heat and strain through a fine mesh strainer to remove seeds. Allow to cool if not using right away. Can be made ahead. Will keep for 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator

To make the meatballs:

Place egg into a large bowl and beat until blended. Add bread crumbs, Parmesan, parsley, garlic, shallot, salt and pepper. Mix in the turkey. Shape the turkey mixture into 1 1/4-inch-diameter meatballs. Place on a large plate or baking sheet.

Heat the butter in a heavy large frying pan over medium-high heat. When foam dissipates, add the meatballs and saute until browned on all sides, about 5-7 minutes. Turn off heat. Transfer the meatballs to a plate. Wipe out excess oil. Return all the meatballs to the pan and ladle 2-3 cups of the barbeque sauce over the top. Turn the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens slightly and the meatballs are cooked through, about 20 minutes.

Additional barbeque sauce is great on grilled chicken, pork, or ribs.

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3 thoughts on “Blackberry Turkey Meatballs

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  1. Melissa said:

    How much turkey do you use? It seems to have been omitted from the list of meatball ingredients. Thanks!

    • realbutter said:

      1 pound turkey. Recipe is updated. Thanks!

  2. Melissa said:

    Thanks!! I figured it was probably a pound. Can’t wait to make them – they look delicious!