Saturday, April 7, 2012

Great Balls of Fire - Dinner Short and Sweet

Looking for something that will bring everyone in from the Range at suppertime? 

Beef and alcohol, always a winner (but alcohol only after all the firearms and accessories are put away).

Cooking with "adult beverages"  is something  perhaps not everyone has tried.  Certainly almost any dish can be doused in alcohol and set on fire (sometimes even intentionally!)  But cooking it down, paired with the right spice, such as in last nights Great Balls of Fire -Bourbon Glazed Meatballs  can be an adventure in flavor as opposed to  "hey, where's the number for the gyro place?"

The secret spice?  Cardamon.  It is sometimes hard to find, though many large groceries carry it in the ground form. Using it fresh from the pod gives the best flavor, the seeds within being crushed.  This is a standard bourbon glaze to which I added fresh garlic and  cardamon, red pepper and some Heavy Metal Heat from the  Scoville Brothers Hot Sauce folks. The Scoville Brothers are  a very popular acoustic music group in Northern Indiana and their hot sauce line is as good as their tunes, with as much flavor as heat. 

Great Balls of Fire Meatballs


1 1/2 pounds ground sirloin (mixed with a bit of pork) Note: Unless you want ball bearings, don't use cheap, overly fatty hamburger.
1/2 cup milk
6 Tablespoons bread crumbs
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
3 cloves roasted garlic chopped  (or 3/4 tsp. powder)
1/8 tsp. plus one healthy pinch ginger
1/8 tsp. cardamon ( I used the seeds from 6 cardamon pods, crushed)
1/8 tsp.  Scoville Bros. Heavy Metal Heat hot sauce (with bhut Jalokia, the "Ghost Pepper")
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons Bourbon (I used Evan Williams)
1  tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.


2-4 shakes of crushed red pepper flakes (four isn't blazing hot but it had a gentle kick)
1/2 cup Bourbon
3/4 cup well packed brown sugar
1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon orange marmalade
pinch of orange zest (fine gratings of the outer layer of an  orange peel)
1/4 cup peach preserves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Mix meatball ingredients and form into 1 and 1/2 inch or so sized balls.   Dust with a little black pepper, and brown on medium heat in olive oil (do not cook through). Remove. Reduce heat to low and add sauce ingredients to pan drippings, stirring until brown sugar melts. You will notice a decided alcohol aroma, but as the alcohol cooks off, it will become a very savory glaze. Add meatballs back in and cover. Simmer on low for an hour, stirring every 10 minutes or so. Remove lid the last 15 minutes of cooking. Serve over noodles or rice.


  1. Looks yummy--we'll add that to the HOTR cookbook.

    "...almost any dish can be doused in alcohol and set on fire (sometimes even intentionally!)"

    I once accidentally blew up a wok filled with bourbon and a yummy stir fry. Not to self, do not add alcohol to a blazing wok, then cover. The alcohol burned off, was trapped under the cover. When I removed the cover there was a huge "thwooomp" and a little mushroom-cloud over the wok as the vapor ignited.

    The kitchen smelled like yummy stir-fry, and singed hair.........eyelashes grow back............

  2. Great Ghu that looks good. You know myou are directly responsible for me trying to improve my cooking skills don't you? You'll have to ask Lu if I'm getting any better.

  3. Looks great!

    Though that first plateload looks a wee bit tough to chew.

  4. I just recently discovered the wonder of mixing beer in with raw ground beef prior to forming burger patties.

    I added some red onion in there with it, it smelled fantastic and tasted great. I'm not the biggest fan of red onions, but it's what I had. I think next time I'll grill them in advance.

    Cooking with alcohol is always fun. I've added that to the things to try list.

  5. I have a sign in my kitchen that reads:

    "I love to cook with wine - sometimes I put it in the food."

    And another that reads "Forgive me for I have Zinned."

    I have the full family over for Easter tomorrow. Mrs. North and I will start drinking early...

    Happy Easter to you, Brigid. I'm blessed to know you.

  6. @North: Sir, I like your style!

  7. B:
    We are going to try that recipe tommorow, hope it works out for us like it did for you!

  8. Looks yummy, perhaps a bit on the sweet side for my taste. That's ok, recipes have a habit of mutating a bit once they reach my kitchen anyhow. Thanks for the ideas.

  9. Sounds delish! HAPPY EASTER B!

  10. Definitely gonna' try this reccipe. Thanks

  11. Thanks for using our sauce. We're glad you enjoy it. Have you tried Singin' Smoke or Rockin' Red? We're also glad you use the sauce for cooking as opposed to just a condiment. That was our purpose all along. We like mixing Singin' Smoke with Ranch dressing and using it as a dip or mixing Heavy Metal with our favorite sweet BBQ sauce and eating it on chicken. This is making me hungry! Thanks again.

  12. joe - Singing smoke with Ranch. Oh that sounds good. Thanks for the note!

    On the sidebar are about 75% of my recipes (some I post and forget to add to the sidebar). They're dated 2005 and 2006 but that's just to archive. All recipes go in those two years, just to keep them in one place.

    Ones with your hot sauce include the Roasted Red Pepper Lasagna, Bacon Coleslaw (a must try), Venison Meat Sauce, Meat Sauce for a crowd. Migas, the Potato Red Pepper Frittata and the Artichoke Fritatta.

    I use them on about anything but the tub of Valpo Velvet in the fridge. I'm thinking that next time I do my Afterburner Marinade I'll replace the Scirachi with some caramezlied onion and the Singing Smoke.

  13. Howdy

    Shared the recipe with the Missus and she cooked up a batch for supper...good stuff. I like the heat.

    I like your blog and appreciate your POV as I am also a fan of good food, life in these United States and weaponry of various sizes and shapes.

    We also have a Black Lab named Dale who keeps us company....we recently lost two other 4-legged companions, one to old age and the other to Canine Mylopathy.

    Thanks again and all my best from a veteran in Massachusetts.

    Middleboro Jones

  14. Middleboro Jones - Howdy yourself! I'm glad you and the Mrs. enjoyed it. If you can't order the hot sauce I'd be happy to mail you a bottle or two.

    Give Dale a scratch behind the ears for me and thanks for the visit.


  15. Dale got to spend some time at the waterfront in historic Plymouth today as we live very close by....he likes the scratch behind the ears always.

    Took the leftover meatballs and made a mini shepard's pie ....awesome.....heat and stick to your ribs goodness.

    Appreciate the offer for sauce...My better half worked out a good version of local stuff....we have some rocking good food here in New England

    You can see my corner of the blog world over at US NAVY JEEP


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