Smoked meatballs Shakshuka – A middle eastern classic made with a twist

Smoked meatballs Shakshuka – A middle eastern classic made with a twist

Mixing meatballs with tomato sauce and Shakshuka can't go wrong. But there's more!! The meatballs are smoked on my kamado BBQ. How's that for a delicious barbecue meal. Server for dinner or breakfast or just whenever you want!

Ever tried making your own meatballs? Take a look over here! You won't believe how easy it is! Btw smoke them and add them to the shakshuka recipe to end up with a fine meal or breakfast. Barbecue at it's best!

The key to my passion for BBQ is the love for experiments I guess. Besides the good old classics (I’m actually making pulled pork while typing this) I love to make some non-traditional meals on my kamado. Shakshuka is a good example. The middle eastern classic lends itself perfectly for an extra layer of smoke and why not adding some meatballs? Who doesn’t like balls in tomato sauce after all? So here I present you the smoked meatballs Shakshuka:

Disclosure: "This post contains test products and affiliate links, which means that if you buy one of the products through the mentioned links, I'll get a small commision to keep this blog running. All opionions shared are my own."

Shakshuka by Ottolenghi

I’ve been making Shakshuka for a while now. From the moment I first saw this classic middle-eastern meal I was fond of the idea. Poaching eggs in a tomato sauce is genius. The origin of the recipe isn’t very clear but some think it was first known as Chakchouka, meaning “vegetable ragout” in Berber language. Some time ago I stumbled on a recipe by the Israeli-born chef Yotam Ottolenghi who owns the brittish restaurant Nopi. The books written by Ottolenghi are praised for his vegetarian meals with several awards. Regarding his origin and reputation a recipe I needed to try.

The focus on the poached eggs makes Shakshuka an excellent meal for breakfast. Something we need to try one day. But over here in Belgium we’re not used to eat hot food in the morning. In Islam regions on the other hand it’s a perfect meal to gain some power before sunrise (fajr) in times of Ramadam. Since islamic people can’t eat during daytime they need the extra vitamins and power to make it through the day. It wouldn’t be something for me…

Smoked meatballs Shakshuka

The eggs are traditionally poached in a tomato sauce with peppers, onions and often spiced with cumin. The only change I made was by adding the smoked meatballs with homemade minced meat(I used apple wood). Since islamic people can’t eat pork, I’m somewhat cursing this recipe by making the smoked meatballs shakshuka… Not nice of me (I know) but I’m not religious after all and my kids (and I) like meatballs. But if it might mean something to you, we mostly eat it the vegetarian way. So it’s perfectly fine to skip the meatballs and just eat the traditional shakshuka! You will find out the smoky taste accords well with the poached eggs who gain some extra taste. Yet making meatballs is a fun thing to do and it’s easy when you use this mince recipe, you just need to form balls with it and smoke them.

Smoked meatballs shakshuka

While cooking dinner I made some extra for the freezer! In need of time this is one of those meals you will love to retrieve. It’s not much extra work and it’s perfect to re-warm. Plus who doesn’t love the look of all those balls on the grid? I smoked the balls before I put them in between my skillets with shakshuka. The oval skillet is not only looking pretty good it’s perfect for cooking meals for 1 à 2 persons. Serve with bread or wedged potatoes and the family will praise your skills.

Thank you for checking out this smoked meatballs shakshuka recipe! I hope to read about your ideas and cooking adventures on Facebook. Please share with your friends to support this blog.

Smoked meatballs Shakshuka – A middle eastern classic made with a twist
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 15 mins

A BBQ bastard twist on the middle eastern classic. This originally is a vegetarian meal but I decided to add some homemade smoked meatballs to add another layer of taste. Serve this for breakfast and you start your day in style! You can smoke your meatballs the day before. 

You might need:

- a minced meat recipe

Apple wood chunks for smoking

- a cast iron skillet

Course: Breakfast, Main Course
Cuisine: American, middle eastern
Servings: 4
  • 8 Smoked Meat balls (100 gr. each) Mince recipe in introduction text
  • 175 ml mild olive oil
  • 2 big onions
  • 2 red bell paprika's
  • 2 yellow bell paprika's
  • 1 jalapeno pepper (or more at taste)
  • 1 pinch of cayenne
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 twigs of thyme
  • 10 g fresh cilantro
  • 2 twigs flat parsley
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seed
  • 1/2 tsp ground star anise
  • 2 tsp cane sugar
  • 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 can tomato pasata (500gr.)
  • 50 ml water
  • 1/2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 4 eggs
  • Salt and pepper at taste
  • Finish with cilantro at taste
  • Cast iron skillet
  • Smokewood
  1. Start a fire for direct cooking at low temperature 110°C/230°F

  2. Smoke your homemade meat balls (mince recipe) for +-40 minutes with your favorite smokewood (I used apple)

  3. Meanwhile slice the onions and bell peppers.

  4. Add the olive oil to a large cast iron skillet with the thyme twigs, bay leaves, parsley, cumin seed and ground anise. Let simmer for two minutes. This will enhance the flavor of the herbs.

  5. Toss in the finely chopped jalapeno pepper, onions, white wine vinegar, cayenne cane sugar and cilantro. Let simmer for 20 minutes until they slightly brown.

  6. Add the sliced bell pepper tot he onions and let simmer for another 10 minutes.

  7. Add the pasata, 50 ml. water and white wine vinegar and let cook for another 10 minutes, add salt and pepper to taste.

  8. Put the meatballs in the sauce. Make some wholes in the sauce between the meatballs and crack in the eggs.

  9. Put the skillet back on your BBQ for 15-20 minutes (until the eggs are done)

  10. Add some freshly chopped cilantro right before serving this smoked meatball Shakshuka

Have a nice meal
Full disclosure:
My intent with this blog is sharing you some recipes as a source of inspiration you could access for free. Bringing this content however isn’t free. To cope with the costs I make use of affiliate links where I could earn a small referral commision for the products you could buy after clicking the links.  This support helps me running this blog. I guarantee no false statements will be made on this blog and only products I believe in will be linked. Hoping you understand this decision. Thank you! :).

In this post: 
- There's an affiliate link on the  "Skillet" and "Apple wood chunks"

All opinions shared are my own.

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