Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Oat-free Tender BBQ Meatballs

Posted by on Jan 12, 2015 in Main Dishes | 0 comments

… These are Worth the Effort … But I’ve Already Done the Work for You!

Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Oat-Free BBQ Meatballs with Glutino Table Crackers

I’ve been playing with various ways to recreate my gluten-free, dairy-free barbecue meatballs without oats as the binder. I’m guessing this doesn’t seem like much of a challenge to some of you, but with a family member who’s gut is very precise about what is “acceptable” and what is not, it’s kept me busy for a while now.

Mind you, I’m not complaining about the task at hand. I’m just saying, quite honestly … it’s been a test of patience. This family member has liked the flavor and texture of many (most, actually) of the variations I’ve created. Some with white rice, similar to Porcupine Balls. Some with mini pasta, similar to a BBQ’d lasagna-type meatball. Some with almond flour, or crushed cashews, or cooked sorghum, or, well, you get the idea. Many of these versions were quite good, in my opinion, but my loved one’s gut said a profound, “NO!”

Until now. I’m so happy … really, SO HAPPY!

You see, this recipe has been tested and taste-tested, and gut-tested multiple times with positive results. And now I’m ready to share it with you. And now that I’ve done all the experimenting, the recipe is pretty straightforward for you. I love how they can be easily made ahead, either cooked or frozen as raw meatballs, then turned into a meal as needed.

While the Glutino Table Crackers contain soy, which I try to avoid when possible, they create a crumb that binds the meat, eggs, and non-dairy milk to produce a most tender, moist, flavorful meatball that simply will not be rejected.

Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Oat-free BBQ Meatballs with Glutino Table Crackers

Dressed with a drizzling of sweet and tangy homemade barbecue sauce that bakes into a smooth glaze over the meatballs, then garnished with just a bit more sauce at serving time, for good measure, these meatballs disappear faster than you’d ever imagine. Yes, this aforementioned family member has been known (more than once) to polish off 18 meatballs in one sitting – with never an unhappy gut to follow.

Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Oat-free BBQ Meatballs with Glutino Table Crackers

Again, so very happy! By the way, all the other family members, special dietary requirements and free-grazers alike, enjoy this meatball recipe. So, don’t tell anyone, just serve ‘em up, sit back, and keep your fingers clear of the serving utensils.

One more thing … Going to a Super Bowl party? Make these into smaller, single bite-size meatballs, following original directions, then place cooked meatballs in a slow cooker with some extra sauce, and you’ve got the perfect party appetizer substitute for the traditional cocktail weenies. You’ll be making everybody so happy.

Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Oat-free BBQ Meatballs with Glutino Table Crackers

Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Oat-free BBQ Meatballs with Glutino Table Crackers

Servings: 55-60 meatballs and about 2 1/2 cups barbecue sauce
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour
Rest Time: 5 minutes
Baking Time: 35-40 minutes
Oven Temp: 350º °F


Ingredients for Meatballs

  • 3 pounds extra lean ground beef, OR 2 pounds lean and 1 pound extra lean beef
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened coconut, almond, or cashew milk (all refrigerated cartons)
  • 2 cellophane packages (equal to 1 7-ounce box) Glutino Table Crackers, crushed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large red or sweet yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 large pinch kosher salt

Ingredients for Just Sweet Enough Homemade Barbecue Sauce

  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1 cup brown sugar, loosely packed (can be reduced to 1/2 cup sugar if you like it less sweet)
  • 2 Tablespoons liquid smoke - I use Colgin Liquid Smoke
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder


  • Preheat oven to 350ºF. Prepare 2 large jelly roll pans, or baking sheets with edges, by lining with foil and spraying in a light coat of cooking spray. Cooling racks can also be placed in each foil-lined baking sheet. This will allow meatballs to cook more quickly and drain any excess liquid. Set aside.
  • Place all sauce ingredients in a small sauce pan, stir to combine, and heat over the lowest stove setting. Stir occasionally to prevent scorching on the bottom. Heat until sauce has thickened a bit. Remove from heat and use according to recipe above. Place any remaining sauce (after the meal has been served) in a jar in the fridge. Will last up to three months.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine hamburger, non-dairy milk, cracker crumbs, eggs, diced onion, chili powder garlic powder, pepper, and salt. Mix with hands or spoon until thoroughly combined. Use a small scoop (#40) to form meatballs, or form balls about the size of a golf ball, with your hands, and place meatballs on prepared baking sheets, making sure meatballs don’t touch each other. When all meatballs have been formed, spoon (or squeeze a dollop of) the barbecue sauce over the top of each meatball. (Extra sauce can be spooned over hot meatballs when serving.)
  • Place baking sheets in oven on separate racks. Bake about 15 minutes, then rotate baking sheets top to bottom and front to back. Bake an additional 20 minutes. Once baked for 35 minutes, slice one meatball in half to be sure the meat is thoroughly cooked. Remove from oven and let rest about 5 minutes.
  • Serving Suggestion: These meatballs complement a bed of white sushi rice perfectly. Serve with steamed green veggie, such as broccoli, and a green salad for a well-balanced meal.
  • Notes: This meatball mixture can be mixed up to 24 hours in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Once you’ve formed the meatballs, allow them to rest at room temp for about 20 minutes before baking. This will ensure they cook evenly. Meatballs can also be formed, then frozen on a baking sheet. Once completely frozen, remove from baking sheet and store in a re-sealable freezer bag. Thaw in refrigerator before baking. Cooked meatballs can also be frozen and reheated easily in the microwave.

Safe food is a journey … Thrive!


Other recipes you might enjoy:

Beef, Black Rice, and Apple Medley

Beef, Black Rice, and Apple Medley

Gluten-free, Dairy-free Barbecue Meatballs

Barbecue Meatballs with Oats

Gluten-free Dairy-free BBQ Pulled Pork

BBQ Pulled Pork

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