Tailgating Meatball Bar

Make a Meatball Bar for your next tailgating party with help from Chef Josh Capon.



  • 2-1/2 lbs Ground Beef
  • 6 Cloves Garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Parsley, chopped 
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Basil, chopped 
  • 1 teaspoon Chili Flakes 
  • 1 tablespoon Salt  
  • 1 teaspoon Black Pepper  
  • 1 Cup Parmesan, grated 
  • 2 Cups Ricotta Cheese


  • 2 Cups Heavy Cream
  • 1 Egg 
  • 1 teaspoon Salt  
  • 1 teaspoon Pepper  
  • 4 Slices Italian bread, crust cut off, cut into cubes


  • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil  
  • 8 Cloves Garlic, sliced thin 
  • 1 teaspoon Red Chili Flakes 
  • 3 1lb cans Crushed San Marzano Tomatoes 
  • 3 Whole Bay Leaves 
  • 1 Whole Branch Fresh Basil  
  • 3 Yellow Onions, diced 
  • Pinch Salt & Pepper 
  • Pinch Fresh Oregano

Meatball Bar Sides (Optional):

  • Sliced fresh Mozzarella
  • Smoked Mozzarella
  • Fresh Burrata
  • Sautéed Onions
  • Mushrooms
  • Roasted Peppers
  • Fresh Basil Leaves
  • Hot Cherry Peppers
  • Calabrian Chili Paste
  • Dried Sicilian Oregano


  • An assortment of Italian breads, Ciabatta,  slider rolls, hero rolls, & pretzel rolls 



  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Puree the cream, egg, bread, salt, pepper & breadcrumbs together in food processor.
  3. Place beef in bowl add garlic, parsley, basil, red chili flakes, salt, black pepper, parmesan cheese & ricotta.
  4. Once pureed, mix meat mixture with panade do not overmix just until combined.
  5. Form the meatballs on sheet trays. Each ball about 2 ounces. 
  6. Bake approx. 7 minutes until golden brown.
  7. In a large stock pot over medium heat, add olive oil and garlic. Add onions, salt & pepper & chili flakes. Add crushed tomatoes.  
  8. When the sauce comes to a simmer, add meatballs and all the flavorful juices from the sheet pan, add bay leaves, basil and oregano.
  9. Cover and simmer on low heat for 1 hour.

Meatball Bar:

  1. For the meatball bar, please prepare the following: slice fresh mozzarella, smoked mozzarella, fresh burrata, sautéed onions mushrooms, roasted peppers, fresh basil leaves, hot cherry peppers, Calabrian chili paste, and dried Sicilian oregano.
  2. For breads, have an assortment of Italian breads, Ciabatta,  slider rolls, hero rolls, & pretzel rolls for people to choose from. 
  3. Select your roll, top with meatballs, select your toppings and then place the sandwich open faced under the broiler for a few minutes to melt the cheese and meld the flavors. Close the sandwich and enjoy!

Nutrition information per serving: 327 Calories; 24 g Total Fat (10.7 g Saturated Fat; 0.6 g Trans Fat; 1.4 g Polyunsaturated Fat; 10 g Monounsaturated Fat); 82 mg Cholesterol; 760 mg Sodium; 10.8 g Total Carbohydrate; 1.4 g Dietary Fiber; 3.4 g Total Sugars; 0 g Added Sugars; 16.7 g Protein; 193.1 mg Calcium; 2.7 mg Iron; 411 mg Potassium; 0.5 mcg Vitamin D; 0.2 mg Riboflavin; 4.3 mg Niacin; 0.2 mg Vitamin B6; 1.2 mcg Vitamin B12; 181 mg Phosphorus; 3.3 mg Zinc; 16.6 mcg Selenium; 52 mg Choline

Chef Josh Capon