There are many New Year’s traditions – the countdown to midnight, setting new resolutions, and of course, eating a good luck meal on New Year’s Day consisting of barbecue meatballs. 

I have to admit, living in the Midwest we have always had pork and sauerkraut for dinner on the first day of every year. I never really questioned the reason behind it, I just knew we had to eat some to ensure the good luck would follow us throughout the new year.  Not being a huge fan of traditional sauerkraut, I began to do some research to see if it would be bad luck if I prepared it in a different method. That is when I found the true reason behind the traditional New Year’s Day meal.

Pork and Beef meatball made with sauerkraut and barbecue sauce.
Pork and Beef meatball made with sauerkraut and barbecue sauce.

This tradition comes from a German settlers who believed that you should eat pork because pigs place their snout in the dirt and move it forward signifying moving forward in the new year. On the contrary, fowl scratch in a backward motion which would indicate if you eat this type of game, you will be destined to live in the past.  And the only reason that I can find the reason for sauerkraut was because it was an economical side dish to pork (besides the one author who stated eat sauerkraut for a sweet new year???).

So we decided that this New Year’s good luck meal would come from a recipe that we had at a recent family gathering. Our nephew Jeremy and his family brought a crock-pot full of meatballs in barbecue sauce with sauerkraut intermixed to add a unique flavor to the dish. What a brilliant idea for New Year’s!

Now we will continue to follow tradition of eating pork and sauerkraut but bring it up to date with this classic recipe that everyone will enjoy!

Crock Pot Barbecue Meatballs and Sauerkraut Recipe

**Recipe can be doubled for large crowds

The updated version of pork and sauerkraut - sweet meatballs!
The updated version of pork and sauerkraut – sweet meatballs!

Ingredients:
24 ounces of your favorite barbecue sauce
1 pound of refrigerated sauerkraut
28 precooked and frozen meatballs (**see recipe below for Homemade Meatballs)

Instructions:

1. Add 1/3 of barbecue sauce to the bottom of your crock pot.

2. Add half of the meatballs and half of the sauerkraut

3. Add another 1/3 of barbecue sauce on top of the meatball/sauerkraut mixture.

4. Repeat.

5. Place on high for 2 hours and reduce to low for an additional hour. Stir occasionally.

6. Serve once meatballs have heated through.

Crock-pot Meatball Recipe

Ingredients

  • 24 ounces of your favorite barbecue sauce
  • 1 pound of refrigerated sauerkraut
  • 28 precooked and frozen meatballs **see recipe below for Homemade Meatballs

Instructions

  1. Add 1/3 of barbecue sauce to the bottom of your crock pot.
  2. Add half of the meatballs and half of the sauerkraut
  3. Add another 1/3 of barbecue sauce on top of the meatball/sauerkraut mixture.
  4. Repeat.
  5. Place on high for 2 hours and reduce to low for an additional hour. Stir occasionally.
  6. Serve once meatballs have heated through.

Recipe Notes

Recipe courtesy of Old World Garden Farms

Homemade Meatball Recipe

whisk in egg, cheese
Whisk in the grated Parmesan cheese and parsley

Ingredients
1/2 cup milk (whole, 2%, or skim)
1/2 cup fine breadcrumbs
1 large egg
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup finely minced Italian parsley
1 pound ground meat such as beef and pork
1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1 clove garlic, finely minced

Instructions:

1. In a small bowl, combine the milk and breadcrumbs – stir until all bread crumbs are soaked with milk. Set aside.

Using ground beef and pork gives the perfect amount of fat to flavor the meatballs.
Using ground beef and pork gives the perfect amount of fat to flavor the meatballs.

2. In a large bowl, whisk the egg until blended. Whisk in the salt and black pepper.  Then add in the Parmesan and parsley and whisk until incorporated.

3. Add the meat to the egg mixture. Use your hands to thoroughly mix the egg into the ground meat.

4. Add the onions, garlic, and soaked breadcrumbs to the meat. Mix them thoroughly into the meat with your fingers. Do not overwork the meat; squeeze the meat between your fingers rather than kneading or folding it.

*Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Add parchment paper to the bottom of a large rimmed baking sheet.  (The parchment paper is optional, but will make for easy clean up.)

Use your hands to roll into meatballs - keeping a consistent size.
Use your hands to roll into meatballs – keeping a consistent size.

5. Form into meat balls by gently rolling the mixture between your hands to form 1 1/2-inch meatballs. Continue shaping until all the meat is used.

To freeze for later use, or to eat without sauce:
6a. Arrange the meatballs spaced slightly apart on the baking sheet. Bake at 400°F for 25 to 30 minutes. The meatballs are done when they register 165°F in the middle on an instant read thermometer and the outsides are browned. Serve immediately or freeze for up to 2 months.

To cook meatballs in a sauce immediately:
6b. Bring a marinara sauce or other sauce to a simmer and add as many meatballs as will fit comfortably in the pan. Cover and simmer for 30 to 35 minutes. The meatballs are done when they’re cooked through and register 165°F in the middle on an instant read thermometer. Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

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Mary and Jim



Homemade Meatballs

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup milk whole, 2%, or skim
  • 1/2 cup fine breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup finely minced Italian parsley
  • 1 pound ground meat such as beef and pork
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 clove garlic finely minced

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, combine the milk and breadcrumbs - stir until all bread crumbs are soaked with milk. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the egg until blended. Whisk in the salt and black pepper. Then add in the Parmesan and parsley and whisk until incorporated.
  3. Add the meat to the egg mixture. Use your hands to thoroughly mix the egg into the ground meat.
  4. Add the onions, garlic, and soaked breadcrumbs to the meat. Mix them thoroughly into the meat with your fingers. Do not overwork the meat; squeeze the meat between your fingers rather than kneading or folding it
  5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  6. Add parchment paper to the bottom of a large rimmed baking sheet.
  7. Form into meat balls by gently rolling the mixture between your hands to form 1 1/2-inch meatballs. Continue shaping until all the meat is used.
  8. Arrange the meatballs spaced slightly apart on the baking sheet. Bake at 400°F for 25 to 30 minutes. The meatballs are done when they register 165°F in the middle on an instant read thermometer and the outsides are browned. Serve immediately or freeze for up to 2 months.
  9. Bring a marinara sauce or other sauce to a simmer and add as many meatballs as will fit comfortably in the pan. Cover and simmer for 30 to 35 minutes. The meatballs are done when they're cooked through and register 165°F in the middle on an instant read thermometer.
  10. Serve immediately

Recipe Notes

Recipe courtesy of Old World Garden Farms

 

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