Sweet and tangy with a smell that sets stomachs growling, these Dr Pepper Meatballs make a great game day treat served on their own or a filling supper when served over rice with your favorite sides.
If ya wanna jump right into it and learn how to make Dr Pepper Meatballs, scroll down to the first picture.
If you’d like to visit a bit first, stay with me as we venture into the next paragraph…
A couple of years back (two, to be exact), I happened upon a day of turmoil in my life. “Happened upon” may not be the best way to describe it, but when we are looking in the rear view mirror and see the bumps, bruises, and scrapes of life along a road that looks far smoother in hindsight than it felt while we were on it, “happened upon” makes perfect sense.
I don’t even remember what the crisis was at this point, isn’t that the funny thing about crises? During the moment, when your heart and world seems to be in turmoil, they are all consuming. But days, weeks or years later, you can’t even recall what they were about.
But I do remember that I was entirely unsettled.
God, tell me what to do. Tell me this is going to turn out alright.
I heard nothing in response, but I kept it up, knowing I would eventually get an answer. Sometimes the answers come immediately but more often than not, the come in an unfolding process, bit by bit, as if pulling back each petal of a flower to reveal the center.
And as I had this talk with my boss on the way to get my kids from school, I picked up my daughter and then headed to get my son. I was trying to be in the moment with Katy but that conversation with God was still taking place in the back of my mind.
And then, my son got in the car.
“Ma, I need to tell you something so can you listen a minute?”
My breath caught at the words that came from my son’s mouth.
“Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.”
He went on to recite the entire 40th chapter of Isaiah and from the first word, it felt like a soothing balm on my heart.
The entire 40th Chapter, starting with “Comfort, comfort…” and ending with:
“Look up into the heavens. Who created all the stars? He brings them out like an army, one after another, calling each by its name. Because of his great power and incomparable strength, not a single one is missing. O Jacob, how can you say the Lord does not see your troubles? O Israel, how can you say God ignores your rights? Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”
When he was finished, I was stunned. “Why did you just tell me that?”
“I’m trying to memorize it so I have to practice.”
And just like that, every fiber of my being smiled and felt peace.
Sometimes we feel the distance more than others, no matter how close we are. No matter how often we pray, read the Word, or seek wisdom. Sometimes we have to walk a few steps before we are able to notice the steps beside us. But all too often, if we just stay open to it, God will send us a little message just to say
“See? I gotcha kid.”
And He sure does.
Now, let’s get to cooking…
You’ll need: Ketchup, Cider Vinegar, Dr Pepper*, Garlic powder, and Brown Sugar.
Brown sugar, of course, is not pictured. Any mom will tell ya, there always has to be a straggler…
*I am using a Dr Pepper 10 for one very important reason: I have a Dr Pepper 10.
You can use regular Dr Pepper, Generic Dr Pepper, or even Diet Dr Pepper. You can also use coke but I’m gonna stop there because if I go into every single carbonated beverage option I’ll quickly settle into a Bubba Gump style Filibuster and we’ll be here all day. You get my point.
You’re also going to need some meatballs, homemade or store bought. I can usually find the frozen ones on sale and that is when I pick them up for a few recipes I use them in. My recipe for homemade meatballs can be found by clicking here.
Note that both options I am suggesting are already cooked but you could make this with uncooked meatballs because the heat and time are plenty long enough to get them done, just be a little more careful in stirring because they are gonna break apart easier and they will be tempted to stick to the bottom of the pot. Uncooked meatballs easily succumb to temptation. 🙂 They’re like the teenagers of the ground beef world.
Combine all of the sauce ingredients in a pot of some sort.
I am using my cast iron enameled Dutch oven. I have three of these puppies and cook in them a lot mainly because of how well they retain heat. I can cook supper in this pot, put the lid on it, and go run errands and such and when I come back the food inside is still nice and hot. I have two Lodge brand Dutch ovens, one Le Creuset (only because it was free), and I just bought myself a shiny new Tramontina brand as an early Christmas gift because I’ve been good all year (well, most of it at least).
Put this over medium heat and stir constantly until everything is all blended together, about five minutes or so.
Add in your meatballs, fresh or frozen (no need to thaw), and stir to coat.
Put this over medium heat and bring to a light boil, stirring every so often but being careful not to break up the meatballs.
If you’re not a little on the gentle side, you may end up breaking up your meatballs. That’s okay. This is not going to affect the state of the world if you end up with meatball pieces because they will still be delicious and Big Daddy isn’t going to charge you extra taxes if your meatballs aren’t all prettified. At least not yet. Crud. I think I just gave the NSA an idea for the IRS. Alphabet soup abounds. Maybe we should exercise the freedom to break meatballs while we still have it….
But I digress.
So here is what is going to happen. Once this comes to a light boil over medium heat it is going to start reducing, or as we call it “cooking down” and that is what is going to make our sauce all nice and thick. You cook that for about 20 minutes (or so) until the sauce is seriously reduced and produces a nice coating on the meatballs. Keep stirring it every now and then because the meatballs will brown on the bottom (which you want).
When they are done, they will look something like this. I say “something” like this because you may decide to take yours off the stove eye before your sauce gets this thick and that is perfectly alright.
Now, if you are serving these for supper, break out the rice and nestle some meatballs along with the sauce on top of it. If that is the case, I suggest you do take them off while you have a little thinner sauce so you can drizzle some over your rice.
If you are serving these for a football party, just put them on a platter with tooth picks like I did below.
If making these meatballs is the extent of your Friday (or Monday) night excitement, just put a few in a bowl and grab a fork. That’s what I do 🙂
Enjoy the sweet tangy goodness!
- Approximately 2 pounds frozen meatballs (store bought or homemade
- 12 ounces Dr Pepper 1 can
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1/2 cup brown sugar dark or light
- 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- Combine everything except meatballs in a dutch oven or similar pot on stovetop. Stirring constantly, bring just to a boil over medium high heat.
- Carefully add meatballs and stir to coat. Continue to cook over medium heat until sauce has reduced by at least half and is nice and thick (roughly 20 minutes), stirring every so often to prevent meatballs from burning.
- Serve on their own as an appetizer or over rice as a meal.
Important to remember in this day of quickly spread news: