Smoky Turkish Meatballs with pomegranate glaze
It’s like high season in BBQ world these days. Last weekend the Belgian BBQ forum, of which I am moderator, was bursting with inspiring dishes. It strikes me to see how the belgian BBQ lovers seem to represent a nice mix of creativity and respect for the classics. I love both and I also like to experiment with recipes from other kitchens. Turkish cuisine is still somewhat unknown territory for me for the time being, although I would like to change that a bit. These Smoky Turkish Meatballs rolled from my Kamado Joe last week. As a base I used a sauce reminiscent of the pomegranate molasses from the Turkish kitchen and for seasoning the balls the typical spices from one of THE nations considering spices.
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It is no secret that at the end of October I was persuaded to participate in the pre-selections of “My Kitchen, My Restaurant” (belgian television). A bit against my principles, but the people who tried to convince me did that very well. With the necessary hesitation and a clear message that I didn’t want to be part of a sensation oriented program I made a plate together with Healthy Mealfie (meanwhile Kantine Joline) with amongst others this delicious “Kaffir beer glazed slow smoked belly bacon“. By now it may have become clear that the program (a bit as expected) is nothing more than an even more sensation oriented version of “My restaurant”. No problem, because in general it hasn’t been very inspiring yet either. Although the Turkish kitchen of Aysse did encourage me to develop these “Smoky Turkish Meatballs”.
Meatballs are a nice way to test new rubs and sauces and in this way they are also a very nice snack that can serve just as well as a full meal. With the Smoky Turkish meatballs I made a nice salad based on grilled aubergine and paprika that will come online one of these days. And let that experimentation and inspiration be the reason why I started this blog. Although it’s nice to see that people follow the recipes, I can still enjoy people who get inspired and develop their own creation. As long as you dare to push your own boundaries. In my opinion this is the quickest way to discover the art of BBQ.
Have fun preparing this recipe or making your own version of the smoky meatballs. Feel free to let your creativity run wild or try to polish up your basic technique using this recipe. As long as you enjoy what you do, you will rarely hear anyone complain. Except for your neighbour, who is probably just hanging out the laundry when you start cooking… In that case, throw a ball over quickly, who knows, she might forgive you after tasting it (aim well so you don’t touch the laundry). Have fun!
- 600 grams of mixed minced meat see description below for a link to homemade mince
- chopped nuts and cranberries finishing optional
- 400 ml pomegranate juice
- 2 tbsp mint lemon syrup
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp ketchup
- 1 part mint
- 1 part oregano
- 1 part ground fennel seed
- 1 part ground cumin seed
- 1 part cinnamon
- Pepper and salt optional if you’re going to make your own mince
Mix all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Allow to reduce to desired thickness and slightly sticky.
Mix all ingredients by hand.
Mix the herbs to taste under the minced meat. For this recipe I used 5 tl. of the herb mixture with mixed minced meat from the butcher.
Form balls of the minced meat and place them in the fridge for an hour so they can become firm again.
In the meantime, prepare your BBQ for an indirect session at low temperature (+- 100°C). When using the kamado joe with soapstone (optional) place it on the BBQ so it can heat up.
Add a few cubes of smoke wood between the coals (in this case Apple Smoke Chunks) and wait until the smoke becomes thin and turns light blue.
Place the balls on the soapstone (this way they can also colour while smoking) or on the grill. When using the soapstone, it can be useful to rotate the balls once every ten minutes so that all sides colour evenly.
Smoke the balls for +- 1 hour at a low temperature (+- 100°C). (depending on the size, here slightly larger than a ping-pong ball).
Increase the temperature in your BBQ to 150°C and in the meantime roll the balls through the sauce so that they have an even layer of sauce everywhere and place them for five minutes on top directly so that the sauce can caramelize.