These Grilled Homemade Italian Meatballs come together in minutes. Traditional in technique, incredibly tender, packed full of Italian flavor and parmesan cheese, these meatballs are then grilled to caramelized barbecue-grill perfection!
These melt-in-your-mouth meatballs are everything a meatball should be. Made with equal portions ground beef and pork, the Italian herbs and cheeses are combined with garlic and light and airy panko bread crumbs for a tender inside and a perfect exterior crust creating the ULTIMATE meatball recipe!
This recipe came about when my middle son requested Meatball Subs for dinner…..Well, I may have mentioned a time or two how much I enjoy grilling and my patio time when the weather is conductive. There is something about the smell of the grill, cocktail in hand, chirping birds, kiddos jumping on the trampoline, and everything that embodies summer that has me spending my flip-flop wearing self outside evening after evening.
I’m especially fond of when I can cook the majority of the meal outside on the grill with minimal heating of the inside of the house. This is the version where everyone gets what they want, Meatball Subs with a Homemade Red Sauce and quality patio time. Life is good.
How to make Grilled Homemade Italian Meatballs
My meatball recipe uses the perfect combination of traditional ingredients and tequniques for a super tender and flavor filled meatball. The exception to that is that I prefer panko breadcrumbs, which are Japanese in origin, to traditional bread crumbs.
Begin by soaking the breadcrumbs in milk.
In a large bowl, add the breadcrumb mixture to ground beef and pork, onion, eggs, parmesan cheese, parsley garlic, basil, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and oregano.
Next, let the meatball mixture chill in the refrigerator for about an hour. This helps the balls to hold together and lets the flavors really come together.
Can these meatballs be made ahead of time?
Yes. The meatball mixture can be made and refrigerated up to 24 hours in advance before cooking.
Using wet hands, form them into 18 balls. This creates a slightly larger than average meatball, but is sized to have three meatballs on a hoagie or hotdog bun if that is your goal.
Please the raw meatballs on well oiled grill grates directly over a medium flame/heat. Both charcoal grills land gas grills work well for this recipe, although my favorite is my 26″ Weber Kettle.
Brown the side facing down for 1-2 minutes until it caramelizes, develops a crust, and releases from the grill grates. Repeat the process on the other sides.
After the outside edges are browned, move the meatballs to the flameless / indirect cooking area and close the lid. Cook the meatballs an additional 15-20 minutes until the internal temperature is 165 degrees.
Do these meatballs have to be cooked on the barbecue grill?
No. Below in the recipe card are details for how to brown them in a skillet and then finish the meatballs in the oven.
Can I make Meatball Sub Sandwiches with my Grilled Italian Meatballs?
I LOVE Meatball Sandwiches and the grilled version is dynamite! See the picture below.
For Grilled Meatball Sub Sandwiches, toast 6 sub buns over the coals. Add three cooked meatballs, Homemade Red Sauce or a quality marinara, and a cheese (motzzerala, provolone, provell, Monterey Jack, or pepper jack). Close the grill lid and continue to cook on indirect heat for about 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
What to serve with Meatball Subs?
- PURPLE CILANTRO LIME COLESLAW
- GRILLED FRESH PEACH CAST IRON SKILLET CAKE
- BOURBON BACON GRILLED BAKED BEANS
- GRILLED TRIPLE BERRY CRISP IN A CAST IRON SKILLET
- EASY GRILLED PARMESAN ASPARAGUS
- PINEAPPLE SLAW
- Grilled Zucchini or Yellow Squash
If you’ve tried my Grilled Homemade Italian Meatballs or any other recipe on this website, please don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know how it came out in the comments below. I’d LOVE to hear from you!
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Grilled Homemade Italian Meatballs
- 1 pound ground beef (80/20)
- 1 pound ground pork (85/15)
- 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 cup onion, minced
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/2 cup parsley, Italian fresh, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 2 tablespoons basil, fresh chopped
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano, dried
- Soak the breadcrumbs in the milk for 5-10 minutes.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the breadcrumb milk mixture and all of the remaining ingredients.
- Gently combine the mixture with your hands just until combined.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Using wet hands, form into 18 equal size balls and place on a greased cookie sheet.
- Preheat the grill to a medium heat for two zone cooking; one side direct flame and the other for indirect, flameless cooking.
- Place the raw meatballs on a pre-heated, well oiled grill grate directly over a medium flame.
- After about 2 minutes, when the grill side down begins to brown and the meatball releases from the grill grates, flip and continue the same process until the meatball is browned on the outside.
- Move the meatballs OFF of the direct flame to continue to cook indirectly in a covered grill for approximately 15-20 additional minutes or until the interior temperature reaches 165 degrees.