Top
SEARCH FOR A RECIPE

Bacon Bourbon Meatball Subs

Bye, bye to the “blah” sandwich. Mama’s here. And she says it is time to make Bacon + Bourbon Meatball Subs. Start with our savory, homemade meatballs…slow-simmered in a one of a kind bold + tangy bourbon sauce. Then top the whole dang thing with crisp, hickory bacon and some melty provolone and you’ve got yourself something spectacular. Keep reading for the recipe!

Bacon Bourbon Meatball Sub Sandwich

This Is NOT Your Ordinary Meatball Sub

I love a saucy sammich, don’t you? These meatball subs take the cake bun and are one of my new fave recipe creations. It is hard to go wrong with homemade meatballs.

And the spicy, tangy + bourbon-y sauce may have a thing or two to do with it. Me and my boozy recipes.

Your friends are going to love this fun, southern-style twist on a sandwich shop classic. Bacon + Bourbon Meatball Subs are super easy to make, too. Let’s get started.

How to Make Meatballs

Ingredients Needed to Make Meatball Subs:

  • LEAN ground beef
  • Onion
  • Eggs
  • Bread crumbs
  • Salt + pepper
  • Oil
  • Garlic
  • Ketchup
  • BOURBON – More tips on which bourbon to ouse later in this post.
  • Brown sugar
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Hot sauce
  • Liquid smoke seasoning
  • Bacon
  • Provolone cheese
  • Fresh greens
  • Toasted sub sandwich rolls

I almost ALWAYS use lean ground beef. Why? I am NOT a fan of what hamburger grease does to my recipes. So, pick a lean ground beef for the meatballs…80/20 works great.

You could skip the meatball step and buy store bought if you want. However, because we bake the meatballs in the oven it is so easy to make and bake your own. No spattery mess to clean up.

meatballs on a broiler pan

I usually make my meatballs smaller so they are easier to eat with pasta and in appetizers. For these hearty sandwiches, I made them about double the size. To get evenly portioned meaballs, use a large spoon.

pouring bourbon into sauce

How to Make Meatball Subs – Bourbon + Bacon Style:

  1. First, make the meatballs. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a broiler pan or wire rack (placed over a larger pan to catch the drippings). Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, using your hands, combine the ground beef, onion, eggs, bread crumbs, salt and pepper.
  3. When the mixture is well combined, portion meatballs into 2 inch sized balls, rolling lightly between your hands. Arrange in an even layer on the prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes.
  4. While the meatballs are baking, heat the oil in a large skillet. Saute the garlic until golden.
  5. Next, whisk in ketchup, bourbon, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, hot sauce, liquid smoke, and black pepper.
  6. Bring to a low boil, stirring frequently. Add the meatballs to the bourbon sauce. Reduce to a simmer, over, and cook for 15 minutes.
  7. Slice the sub sandwich rolls. Brush lightly with oil and on the top half, top with sliced provolone cheese. Arrange on a baking sheet and toast the buns in the oven until golden and the cheese is melted.
  8. To assemble, place fresh greens on the bottom sandwich roll. Add 3 or meatballs. Spoon sauce over the meatballs.
  9. Top with cooked bacon slices and the cheesy top sandwich roll. Dig in!

This meatball sub recipe comes together so nicely. You can make the sauce while the meatballs are baking, then toast the buns while they are simmering in the sauce. Multi-tasking.

TIP: Want a thinner sauce? Add more bourbon or a bit of water. Want it thicker? Simmer the meatballs in the sauce uncovered to evaporate the liquid. As is, this sauce came out just the right consistency to my liking.

Buffalo Trace Kentucky Bourbon

Tips on Cooking with Bourbon

  • You want to use a good-quality bourbon…but not the high-dollar top shelf varieties. In other words, don’t get the cheap crap. Cook with a bourbon that you would actually drink.
  • For a nice, smooth bourbon flavor with a hint of sweetness, we used Buffalo Trace for this recipe. (Not sponsored.) You could also use Jim Beam.
  • Here is a list of the Best Bourbons for $30 or less.
  • Bourbon has a smoky-sweet flavor that works great in so many sweet and savory recipes. It is a good addition to most barbecue sauces.
  • Did you know that bourbon actually breaks down the enzymes in meat? A boozy tenderizer.
  • Bourbon is a pretty strong flavor. Balance it with a touch of acidity. (In this recipe, we used apple cider vinegar.)
  • Use bourbon wisely. You want to taste it, but you don’t want it to overpower the dish. It is easier to start with a little and add more.
  • Do not pour the bourbon into the skillet directly from the bottle. You could set yourself on fire. And that would suck. Use a measuring cup and pour carefully and slowly. Thanks.
Bourbon Meatball Subs

The homemade meatballs soak up all that bold + tangy bourbon barbecue sauce. You could easily make this recipe as a party appetizer and skip the whole sandwich part.

This recipe is perfect for a fun meal at home, gameday celebrations, and how about Kentucky Derby parties?

a delicious sub sandwich topped with meatballs in sauce, mixed greens, bacon and melted cheese

More Recipes You Might Like:

Hot Kentucky Brown Sliders

Alfredo Style Italian Meatballs

Patatas Bravas

close up picture of a meatball sub sandwich

Tips + Ideas for Best Results:

  • Make your own meatballs. It is totally worth it ever single time. I’ve never regretted making my own.
  • Use lean ground beef and bake the meatballs in an oven. This ensures that the grease will not affect the taste of your recipe, plus it is easy to cook and clean up.
  • Prepare the sauce while the meatballs are baking.
  • Pick a good quality drinking bourbon for this recipe. The sauce calls for one cup (or more if you’re feeling frisky), so you want it to be a nice, smooth bourbon.
  • Toast the sandwich rolls before serving. Melt the cheese on the top roll for gooey deliciousness.
  • You can also cook the bacon in the oven at the same time you are baking the meatballs.
  • The bourbon meatballs are also great as an appetizer. You could even turn this recipe into meatball sliders if you prefer.
  • Spice up these meatball subs by using pepper jack cheese in place of the provolone.
overhead picture of a sandwich on a metal plate next to strips of cooked bacon

Hope you love this recipe and can’t wait for you to try them at home. Be sure to come back and leave us a comment at the end of this post. We’d love to hear from you.

Love this post? Sign up for the Buy This Cook That Newsletter for a weekly email of new content. You can also follow us on FacebookPinterestTwitter and Instagram for our latest + greatest ideas!

overhead picture of a sandwich on a metal plate next to strips of cooked bacon
Print Pin
5 from 2 votes

Bacon + Bourbon Meatball Subs

This is NOT your same old meatball sub, y'all. Homemade meatballs are slow simmered in a homemade bourbon sauce and topped with savory bacon and melted provolone. Served on a toasted sub roll.
Course Sandwich
Cuisine American
Keyword meatball subs
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 8 Meatball Subs
Calories 800kcal
Author Buy This Cook That

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef 80/20
  • 1 onion small, finely diced
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper divided
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil plus for brushing sandwich rolls
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1 cup bourbon good quality
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar light or dark
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce more or less to taste, I used Frank's Red Hot
  • 1 teaspoon Liquid Smoke Seasoning
  • 6 sub sandwich rolls split
  • 8 ounces provolone cheese sliced
  • 12 slices bacon cooked
  • mixed greens

Instructions

  • First, make the meatballs. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a broiler pan or wire rack (placed over a larger pan to catch the drippings). Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, using your hands, combine the ground beef, onion, eggs, bread crumbs, salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.
  • When the mixture is well combined, portion meatballs into 2 inch sized balls, rolling lightly between your hands. Arrange in an even layer on the prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes.
  • While the meatballs are baking, heat the oil in a large skillet. Saute the garlic until golden.
  • Next, whisk in ketchup, bourbon, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, hot sauce, liquid smoke, and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper.
  • Bring to a low boil, stirring frequently. Add the meatballs to the bourbon sauce. Reduce to a simmer, over, and cook for 15 minutes.
  • Slice the sub sandwich rolls. Brush lightly with oil and on the top half, top with sliced provolone cheese. Arrange on a baking sheet and toast the buns in the oven until golden and the cheese is melted.
  • To assemble, place fresh greens on the bottom sandwich roll. Add 3 or meatballs. Spoon sauce over the meatballs.
  • Top with cooked bacon slices and the cheesy top sandwich roll. Dig in!

Nutrition

Serving: 1Meatball Sub with sauce, bacon, cheese, greens | Calories: 800kcal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 44g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 153mg | Sodium: 1757mg | Potassium: 818mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 29g | Vitamin A: 629IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 325mg | Iron: 6mg

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

What People Are Saying

I was missing my father yesterday and wanted to make his venison stew but didn’t have his recipe. In my...

Buy This Cook That
5
2019-11-15T22:15:49-06:00
I was missing my father yesterday and wanted to make his venison stew but didn’t have his recipe. In my search for something similar I ran across your venison post and decided to give it a try. This was wonderful and my family loved it. I will definitely keep this recipe and make it again. Thank you for posting such a great recipe.
I don’t normally leave reviews but this recipe was so simple and amazing. I’ve been looking for a recipe that...

Buy This Cook That
5
2019-11-15T22:16:43-06:00
I don’t normally leave reviews but this recipe was so simple and amazing. I’ve been looking for a recipe that makes salmon taste like it was made at a restaurant and this is it!! Simple and flavorful, perfect sear.
Excellent! My husband, daughter and grandson loved them. They really do fall off the bone. Very delicious flavour.

Buy This Cook That
5
2019-11-15T22:17:45-06:00
Excellent! My husband, daughter and grandson loved them. They really do fall off the bone. Very delicious flavour.
This was a huge hit. I’ve made white chicken chili recipes before and they we’re always too salty. This one...

Buy This Cook That
5
2019-11-15T22:19:31-06:00
This was a huge hit. I’ve made white chicken chili recipes before and they we’re always too salty. This one was perfect.
This was by far the best steak I have ever cooked, possibly one of the beast meals I have ever...

Buy This Cook That
5
2020-03-02T11:47:59-06:00
This was by far the best steak I have ever cooked, possibly one of the beast meals I have ever cooked...
5
5
Buy This Cook That