Apricot and bourbon glazed meatballs are the perfect appetizer! Fried chicken meatballs are coated in a sweet and sour mixture of bourbon, apricot preserves, mustard, and chili sauce.
Those who know me well know I’m a bourbon girl. I like drinking it and I like cooking with it. Just out of curiosity, I did a search on how many recipes on this site use bourbon as an ingredient – 18! Maybe I should have named myself the Bourbon Bride.
These “Southernized” glazed chicken meatballs are a far cry from the typical grape jelly variety and would be perfect as an hors d’oeuvre for tailgating or an upcoming holiday party. Don’t worry, the booze burns off as the sauce cooks. This is totally safe to serve to children.
What Type of Bourbon Should you Use?
If bourbon is not something you keep in your house and you’re buying a bottle of bourbon just to make this recipe, don’t spend big bucks on something high priced. I used Kentucky Tavern bourbon, which should run you less than $10 for a 750 ml bottle. If you need other ideas to use up the remainder of the bottle, remember, I have 18 more bourbon recipes for you to try.
Make the Glaze
Melt two tablespoons of unsalted butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add ½ cup of diced onion and sauté until the onion is tender and translucent, about five minutes. Add two teaspoons of minced garlic and sauté for an additional 30 seconds.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine one cup of apricot preserves, one cup of chili sauce, ½ cup of bourbon, ⅓ cup of apple cider vinegar, ¼ cup of packed light brown sugar, two tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce and two tablespoons of spicy brown mustard.
Add the sauce ingredients to the pan with the onion and garlic and bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes until the sauce begins to thicken. Remove the sauce from the heat and set aside. The sauce will continue to thicken as it cools.
Make and Fry the Meatballs
I used Delia’s brand chicken sausage. It comes in a 16-ounce tube much like bulk pork breakfast sausage. However, any kind of uncooked ground chicken sausage will work. If you can only find chicken sausage in link form, just remove the sausage from the casings first. If you can’t find ground chicken sausage, ground pork would make a comparable substitute.
Form two pounds of ground chicken sausage into 2-inch meatballs. They will be roughly the size of a golf ball. Roll the meatballs in a dish with two lightly beaten large eggs. Then coat them in a second dish with two cups of flour.
Pour about two inches of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, add 5-7 meatballs at a time to the hot oil and fry until the outside is golden brown and meatballs are cooked through, about 5-7 minutes. Drain the meatballs on paper towels.
Glaze the Meatballs
You can pour the glaze right over the cooked meatballs. I prefer to add the meatballs to the pan I cooked the sauce in and roll them around until all the sides are coated. I prefer to serve these glazed meatballs warm, but they would also work as a cold item.
Prep Ahead, Storage, Freezing and Reheating
Prep Ahead. The meatballs can be formed up to 24 hours in advance. Lay them out on a parchment paper or paper towel lined baking sheet (to absorb any excess moisture form the sausage). Do not coat in the egg and flour mixture until you are ready to fry them. Cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.
Fried meatballs can be made up to three days in advance. Once they are cooled, store them in a plastic freezer bag or airtight container.
The glaze can also be made three days in advance. I recommend storing the glaze and meatballs separately.
Storage. Leftover glazed meatballs should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator within two hours. Consume within four days.
Freezing. Fried meatballs can be frozen for up to three months. I recommend freezing the meatballs individually on a baking sheet, then transferring the frozen meatballs to a freezer bag or container. This keeps the meatballs from clumping up and you can remove as many as you want.
Reheating. Allow frozen meatballs to thaw completely. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Place the meatballs on a baking sheet and reheat for 20-30 minutes until the meatballs are toasted and heated through.
Reheat the glaze in a saucepan over medium low heat. If the glaze seems a little thick, add a bit of water (or bourbon) one tablespoon at a time until the glaze reaches your desired consistency.
You Might Also Like
- Beer Braised Meatballs
- Bourbon Glazed Corned Beef Brisket
- Bourbon Chicken Teriyaki
- Bourbon and Brown Sugar Caramelized Onions
Apricot and Bourbon Glazed Meatballs
For the Apricot Bourbon Sauce:
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ cup diced yellow onion
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 cup apricot preserves
- 1 cup chili sauce
- ½ cup bourbon
- ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
For the meatballs:
- 2 pounds ground chicken sausage
- 2 large eggs lightly beaten
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Oil for frying
For the glaze:
- Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.
- Add the onion and sauté until onion is tender and translucent, about five minutes.
- Add garlic and sauté for an additional 30 seconds.
- Combine the remaining sauce ingredients. Add to the pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. Sauce will thicken as it cools.
For the meatballs:
- Form the chicken sausage into 2-inch meatballs.
- Roll meatballs in eggs. Then coat with flour.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Working in batches if needed, add meatballs to hot oil and fry until outside is golden brown and meatballs are cooked through, about 5-7 minutes. Drain meatballs on paper towels.
- Coat the meatballs with the glaze.