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Wild Turkey Meatballs with BBQ and Grape Jelly Sauce Recipe

Portable and reheats well, these wild turkey meatballs will become a favorite in your rotation of appetizers.

Wild Turkey Meatballs with BBQ and Grape Jelly Sauce Recipe

Throwing a party and want to share your wild game with guests? Serve these homemade wild turkey meatballs with toothpicks for easy eating. (Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley photo)

Print Recipe

Crockpot meatballs are always a hit at parties and get-togethers, but few people ever make them from scratch. If you’re looking for a simple yet flavorful recipe for wild turkey this spring, try these meatballs to share your wild game with others.

The pork belly adds a bit of fat and flavor to this otherwise lean game. Bacon can be used instead, but it will change the flavor of the meatballs and you will have to adjust the addition of salt.

Yield: About 46 wild turkey meatballs
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes


  • 2 pounds of ground wild turkey
  • ½ pound ground pork belly (no skin)
  • ½ cup minced shallot
  • ½ cup minced onion
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ cup Italian-style breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup milk
  • Freshly cracked pepper
  • Cooking oil
  • 1 bottle BBQ sauce, preferably a more tart one
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 cup grape jelly
  • 1 tablespoon Louisiana Hot Sauce, or taste
  • 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce


  1. In a large bowl, combine ground turkey, ground pork belly, shallot, onion, eggs, garlic powder, kosher salt, breadcrumbs, milk, and cracked pepper. Knead the mixture until it's fully incorporated into a smooth paste. Add more breadcrumbs if the meat is too wet.

    Wild Turkey Meatballs Recipe
    If the wild turkey mixture feels a little too wet, add in some more breadcrumbs. (Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley photo)

    Wild Turkey Meatballs Recipe
    Ground wild turkey mixture for meatballs. (Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley photo)
  2. Coat the bottom of a non-stick pan with oil and heat over medium-high. Roll meat mixture into 1½-inch meatballs and brown in batches. Set browned meatballs aside.

    Wild Turkey Meatballs Recipe
    Browned wild turkey meatballs. (Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley photo)

    Wild Turkey Meatballs Recipe
    Browned wild turkey meatballs. (Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley photo)
  3. This step can be done in a slow cooker or in a large pan: Combine water, BBQ sauce, grape jelly, hot sauce and Worcestershire and heat through. Add meatballs, cover and simmer on low until cooked through—internal temperature should reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Stir occasionally to keep the sauce from scorching.

    Meatballs will take longer to cook in a slow cooker. You can cook the meatballs in a pan first and then transfer them to a slow cooker to keep warm for parties.

    Wild Turkey Meatballs Recipe
    Wild turkey meatballs in a barbecue and grape jelly sauce. (Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley photo)

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