It's time for a party, and that means it's appetizer time. Plenty of family gatherings, football games, and Christmas dinners to bust out this next recipe at. The best part is you can get away with minimal effort on this one. Time is precious with so much going on and you won't be disappointed if you take the short cut. But to really bring the fire you'll have to get your hands dirty and do a bit more work.
This isn't a ton of work but you will need to allow some time (4 hours) since we are going to incorporate a slow cooker (and a skillet). You will need 2 bottles of Reel n Smoke BBQ sauce for this recipe for it to taste the best. I recommend one bottle of Bold n Sassy and one bottle of Original. Also, I'm working with a party size recipe here, but for a smaller group cut all the ingredients in half and prepare to be full. These may come in a small package but they are filling. Bring the creativity with this one. The topping possibilities are endless, did someone say slider topping bar? Just an idea but that would be a ton of fun!
2 lbs ground beef or 1 bag of pre-packaged frozen meatballs (if you are feeling weak)
1 cup bread crumbs
Sandwich sliced pickles (McClure's are best, but will require some work to slice them thin)
Sliced cheese of your choosing
Time to get those hands dirty. Combine meat, breadcrumbs, eggs, and hit them with some Reel n Smoke seasoning. Mix it all together in a large bowl and form the meatball. Since we are going to be putting them on sliders I'm going to make them flatter rather than round. Make them just a little smaller than the slider bun.
Add a dash of olive oil to a skillet and turn the heat to medium high. We are going to brown the meatballs for a couple reasons. This is going to give it a little texture and it's also going to drain some of that burger fat off so it doesn't end up in the BBQ sauce.
Set the crock pot to low for 4 hours and add the meatballs. Pour 2 bottles of Reel n Smoke BBQ sauce over the meatballs and cover the crock pot. Any excess fat from the hamburger will float to the top and can easily be ladled off during the cooking process.
Here is where we finally put it all together. You can either serve these closed or open face (bun on just the bottom or like a traditional slider). Today we are rocking them open faced to capture more of that bold Reel n Smoke BBQ sauce flavor. Place a meatball on the bottom bun, put a slice of cheese on top, place a sandwich sliced McClure pickle on top of that and skewer them with a toothpick (you'll be amazed at how well the pickle works as a "bun"). Plate, serve, and watch them disappear.
Going back to Beer City USA for this one. It's hard to pass up so many great breweries close to home. Perrin Brewing Company's flagship beer, Perrin Black, works great with this recipe. Don't let this black ales color throw you off, it is not a heavy beer. It has enough flavor to stand up to the sliders boldness. It's got a little sweetness, a little bitterness at the end, but finishes clean and crisp. You won't be disappointed in this combo!