BBQ Porcupine Meatballs

Monday 23 October 2017

I think I have always loved Porcupine Meatballs.  They are so called because the raw rice that you mix into them swells when they are cooking and looks like little prickles sticking out all over when they are done!  
Like little porcupines.  I can promise you there is no real porcupine in these!  I do know some people eat porcupine, but not me!

Ordinarily Porcupine Meatballs are cooked with a tin of tomato soup.  This is very old school and probably the way our mothers and grandmothers made them.
 Today I decided to mix things up a bit and give them a BBQ sauce to bake in, with MOST delicious results.  We love, LOVE BBQ!

These meatballs are so easy to make.  You simply mix everything together in a bowl and shape into balls.  
There is no pre-cooking of anything  involved You don't need to cook the rice first.  You don't need to brown the meatballs first, and because they are made with rice, they are also gluten free.

The sauce is also very easy to make.  You just whisk everything together and pour it over the balls. No pre-cooking involved there either.  
And, if you use gluten free ketchup and mustard, the sauce is also gluten free, making for a totally gluten free, delicious entree!

I looked to my mother for inspiration with the sauce.  She always used to cook leftover ham in a similar sauce, for sweet and sour ham. 
I largely leaned on that when making up my sauce. I didn't add any herbs to it like she always did, however.

Wait, I lied . . .  there is a bit of dry parsley in the meatballs.  I have used grated onion, but you could just as easily use onion powder. 

Once you have made these a few times you can feel confident in making them your own.  You can try new things, making adaptations.

Just form the meatballs, pour over the sauce, cover with foil and bake.  Its as simple as that.  
I like to uncover them for the last fifteen minutes to colour them up a tiny bit. It helps them to brown a bit nicer and gilds the lily so to speak.

They are absolutely flipping delicious!  I kid you not.  I think I am going to throw out the tomato soup recipe and make them like this from now on! 

Out with the old and on with the new!   Not all change is bad.  These totally taste better than the originals!

I just love it when I experiment  with recipes like this and they turns out so successfully.  They don't always.  Sometimes I have some pretty spectacular failures.  T
hat's the name of the game. When they do work out, however, all I can say is WOW! I hope you will try these tasty concoctions! I think you are going to love, LOVE them!

*BBQ Porcupine Meatballs*
Serves 4

A rif on an old favourite that turned out quite delicious! The recipe can be successfully cut in half. 

500g extra lean ground beef (1 1/4 pound)
105 uncooked long grain rice (1/2 cup)
60ml water (1/4 cup)
1/2 small onion, peeled and grated
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp dried parsley flakes
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp paprika 

245g tomato sauce, ketchup (1 cup)
180ml water (3/4 cup)
60ml cider vinegar (1/4 cup)
2 TBS worcestershire sauce
2 TBS regular BBQ Sauce, your favourite brand
50g soft light brown sugar (1/4 cup, packed)
1 TBS Dijon mustard
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp celery salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Preheat the oven to 190*C/375*F/ gas mark 5.  Have ready an 11 inch by 7 inch baking dish.  Set aside. 

Whisk together all of the sauce ingredients until smooth.  Pour into the baking dish. 

Lightly mix together all of the ingredients for the meatballs. Gently shape into 12 meatballs.  Place into the baking dish, turning to coat them in the sauce. Cover tightly with foil.  Place onto a baking tray (just in case it boils over) and  bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour, uncover and bake for 15 minutes longer, or until the rice is tender.  Serve hot. 

I served these with some baked jacket potatoes and English peas.  They went down a real treat!  I just know they are destined to become a favorite with you as well!!  Bon Appetit!


  1. I use to make these all the time when my kids were growing up. My daughter makes it for her kids now. My son also cooks it for his wife alot, bc he does all the cooking and baking.
    Before my kids left home, I taught them how to cook and bake.
    I will have to try ur yummy version, except I will put in dry mustard in place of mustard bc I don't like the taste of it at all.
    Big hugs and love Marie!

    1. I was going to make my old recipe using the tomato soup
      Jan, but then I thought I wanted something different and this was it! I used to make the tomato soup ones for my kids too and they loved them also. Dry mustard would work perfectly! Xo

  2. These look delicious. I like the idea of changing up the flavor with barbecue sauce.

  3. Is it 1 c ketchup plus 1 c tomato sauce, or, 1 c either? Thx!

    1. Tomato sauce is what they call Ketchup in the UK. So that is 1 cup of tomato ketchup! Sorry for any confusion! xo


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