Meatballs are tossed in sweet BBQ sauce, topped with cheddar cheese, sauteed onions, and crispy bacon and then sandwiched between sweet Hawaiian rolls. Easy BBQ Meatball Sliders!
Yay for summer! Well, it’s not exactly summer yet, but the highs have been in the 80s for most of the week here so I’m just gonna call it summer, k?? Especially since I’m busting out these Easy BBQ Meatball Sliders!
Summer is basically here and, to me, that means lots of entertaining. There’s almost always a pool party or patriotic holiday or other get-together going on every weekend so I’m always thinking up new recipes to feed a crowd.
What to Take to a Summer Party
When deciding what to bring to a summer gathering, I try to focus on these three criteria for my dish:
- Must be hearty and filling (i.e. must have PROTEIN)
- Must be easy to throw together, even if that means a short-cut here or there
- Must travel well. Nuff said.
Today’s recipe meets all the criteria above and, of course, brings all the flavor. Check out my Easy BBQ Meatball Sliders!
It’s pretty obvious that criteria #1 is completely satisfied with these sliders, but what exactly is going on in all the layers? Let’s break it down.
First, we start with sweet Hawaiian rolls. Now, not everyone is a fan of these rolls because they find them too sweet, but I think they actually work perfectly in this slider because they balance out the smokiness of the barbecue sauce. And I’m all about balance in a recipe.
Meatballs for Meatball Sliders
Second, the meatballs. I used premade meatballs that I simply seared and cooked myself. But I see absolutely no shame in buying frozen meatballs and using those, as well. I love the convenience of a frozen meatball! Just make sure you purchase the large or “dinner size” meatballs, not the bite-sized or “appetizer style” meatballs. They’ll be too small for the buns.
What BBQ Sauce for Sliders
Third, the barbecue sauce. I am a huuuuge fan of thin, vinegary barbecue sauce. But not for these easy bbq meatball sliders! We want a thick sauce to coat those meatballs and not soak through the buns. So I used a classic thick barbecue sauce that I just bought at the grocery store. See, I love a good shortcut, but if you’re looking for a homemade version, our Homemade BBQ Sauce is the bee’s knees.
What Cheese to Buy for Sliders
Next, cheese! I always get super excited for cheese. I love the bite of a cheddar cheese so the choice was simple here. However, if you prefer the melt of an American cheese (as my husband does), that’s a perfectly fine substitute here.
But if there’s anything I need to share about the cheese is that it MUST go right on top of the meatballs instead of under them. I love how the cheese acts like a shelf for the bacon and onions (which we’ll discuss next). Otherwise, those toppings would go all over the place and make for a messy presentation and even messier consumption.
Toppings for Sliders
Next, the toppings – bacon and onions. My husband kept trying to tell me that these sliders sounded incredible on their own so don’t even both with the bacon.
Wait, don’t bother with the bacon?! Who are you???
After I checked him for a fever, I told him that I think it wouldn’t hurt to try out the bacon since I’d already purchased it. But, to keep me from spending too long cooking the bacon, I’d dice it up first and then cook. Worked like a charm! Bacon cooked in half the time and was even crispier than if I cooked them in strips.
Butter Sauce for Sliders
Finally, the buttery topping. You cannot make incredible sliders with topping them with some melted butter. Plus, I even added a few shakes of Worcestershire sauce to the butter to give it extra depth. Don’t forget the sprinkle of sesame seeds to make these sliders look extra special.
Alrighty – now that you know what these sliders are all about, aren’t you so pumped to try them out for your next event?! Hey, you can even make them for dinner one night since they’re so easy to make.
Whenever you chose to enjoy them, I know you’re gonna fall in love with these Easy BBQ Meatball Sliders!
Easy BBQ Meatball Sliders
Easy BBQ Meatball Sliders
- 12 large cooked meatballs frozen or homemade
- 12 Hawaiian rolls
- 1 1/2 cups sweet BBQ sauce
- 5 slices cheddar cheese
- 1 medium yellow onion sliced
- 1/3 lb bacon diced
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- dash of Worcestershire
- sprinkle of sesame seeds
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- If using frozen meatballs, place meatballs in medium saucepan with BBQ sauce. Place over medium heat to heat through (about 15-20 minutes). If using homemade meatballs, toss cooked meatballs in BBQ sauce. Set aside.
- Cook diced bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crispy. Drain bacon on paper towels to remove excess grease. Place sliced onion in skillet used for bacon and cook until they are translucent and begin to caramelize, about 8 minutes.
- Slice Hawaiian rolls in half and place bottom half on bottom of rectangular baking pan. Place cooked meatballs on top of bottom half of the rolls. Top with slices of cheddar cheese. Note: you may need to cut slices of cheese to make them fit perfectly over meatballs.
- Top cheese with cooked bacon and onions. Top sliders with top half of the rolls. Melt butter in small bowl. Add a dash or two of Worcestershire sauce to butter and stir. Spread melted butter over the tops of the rolls and sprinkle sesame seeds on top.
- Place sliders in preheated oven to heat through and melt the cheese, about 10-13 minutes. Remove from oven and let them cool 5 minutes before serving.