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With the ringing in of a new year, we’re kicking off 2019 on an exciting note with lots of BIG bowl games ahead! It’s no secret that football in the south is bigger than big, so preparing simple game day meals with big flavor is always in my game plan this time of year. While we’re anxiously awaiting the ultimate showdown during the Big Game, I’ve been busy whipping up some game day dishes that will score major points with my own home team.
No matter what part of the country you’re in, it seems that barbecue is a staple game day dish that is enjoyed all throughout the year. While this particular dish isn’t technically barbecue by definition, it was certainly inspired by the smoky and rich flavor profile that true barbecue typically has. Each region of our nation has their own way of preparing BBQ, and I’ve been fortunate over the years to be able to sample barbecue styles and sauces from all over the country. While I like everything I’ve tried, my preference definitely lies with Memphis style barbecue.
Memphians love to add a sauce to their BBQ that beautifully marries sweet and spicy tones, and I thought that would be an awesome combination for a great game day meatball sub! When people think of meatball subs, they typically think of meatballs slathered with a marinara sauce and gooey, melted cheese. I love a good marinara meatball sub as much as the next person, but this time I thought I’d switch things up by rolling out the meatballs by hand and coating them in a sticky sweet sauce with just a hint of heat.
To make this recipe even better, I decided to bring my beloved air fryer into the huddle and “fry” up some delicious homemade meatballs that were ready in a matter of minutes! I love to utilize my air fryer because it cooks my food using a convection style heating system without adding any extra grease to my food. Since we’re right here at the start of the new year, I’m still making it a priority to cut out the extra unnecessary calories where I can!
If you’ve never made homemade meatballs before, make 2019 the year to give it a try! They’re super easy to throw together, and you can even make extra large batches at a time and store them in a freezer until you’re ready to pull them out and warm them up! Most meatballs utilize bread crumbs to help hold the meat together, and I love to reach for Martin’s Potatobred Soft Cubed Stuffing to grind up and incorporate into my meatball mix to keep them soft, moist and flavorful.
For my recipe, I grab a few handfuls of Martin’s Potatobred Stuffing, toss it into my food processor and give it a few pulses. Within seconds it’s the perfect consistency to add to my meatballs. After rolling the meatballs out, I pop them into the air fryer (I can fit about 12 at a time in my machine) and cook them until they’re done throughout – about 13 minutes. Once I’ve made the desired amount of meatballs, I toss them into a skillet, add my favorite Memphis-style BBQ sauce and let them simmer for just a few minutes until they’re warmed all the way though.
Here’s a full recipe for my air fryer meatballs if you’d like to give it a try!
Game Day Airfryer BBQ Meatball Subs
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 cup Martin's Potato Bread Stuffing ground finely in a food processor to make crumbs
- 1/2 tsp minced garlic
- 1/4 cup pickled jalapenos finely diced
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley + extra for garnish finely chopped
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1/2 cup preferred BBQ sauce
- 1 package Martin's Hoagie Rolls
- Place all ingredients (except BBQ sauce) in a bowl and combine well with hands
- Roll a small amount of mixture in hands to make meatballs roughly 2 inches round
- Lightly spray air fryer basket with non-stick cooking spray
- Place 1 batch of meatballs in the basket of the air fryer (no meatballs on top of each other) and cook at 350 F for 13 minutes. Repeat process until all meatballs are cooked.
- Once all meatballs are baked, transfer to a pot or deep skillet and coat with BBQ sauce and warm over stove
- Place a layer of BBQ meatballs on hoagie rolls and serve immediately
And speaking of Memphis style BBQ, did you know that coleslaw is also a staple when it comes to serving barbecue in Memphis? While you’ll often see it served on the side, I learned very quickly as a child during a visit to Memphis that they love to pile it on top of their BBQ sandwiches. It adds a tangy bite to the BBQ (much like a pickle would) that just can’t be beat! For these game day subs, I served the BBQ meatballs over a bed of homemade coleslaw, and then topped it with a little bit more. I’m a huge coleslaw fan, so in my opinion you can never overdo it!
While the assembly of the meatball sub is totally up to you (add a little mayo, hot sauce, aioli, or whatever floats your boat,) one ingredient that I highly recommend to make your sub sandwich really extraordinary is Martin’s Hoagie Rolls. I reach for Martin’s products because they always have that bakery fresh feeling. They’re soft, sturdy (really important when making sub sandwiches) AND they have a delicious buttery flavor that is just perfect for making a good, quality sandwich. You can use their store locator to find a retailer near you that carries them!
In the spirit of Big Game celebrations, I’m taking part in a friendly foodie competition sponsored by Martin’s to vote for your favorite Game Day Recipes: Multi-Pot vs. Air Fryer! From now until February 3rd at midnight, you can cast your vote for your favorite recipes under Team Multi-Pot or Team Air Fryer by visiting the link below. One lucky voter will win a Ninja Foodi to call their own! Click here for giveaway rules and regulations.
While there, you’ll find my recipe for Game Day Air Fryer Spicy BBQ Meatball Subs paired up against the super scrumptious Multi-Pot Brats with Peppers and Onions! With recipes this amazing, it’s certainly going to be a tough call!
What game day concoctions are you whipping up for the big game this year? Are you utilizing your air fryer to make delicious foods for your family to enjoy? What Martin’s products are on your radar to try? Leave a comment below and share the love!