Last updated on May 22nd, 2023
These tasty meatball sliders have ground bacon mixed right in! Topped with creamy coleslaw and served on sweet Hawaiian rolls, it’s a match made in heaven.
The last time I made my recipe for Barbecue Bacon Meatloaf, I said to my husband, “I need to figure out a way to make this into sliders.”
The salty bacon in the meatloaf pairs perfectly with the sweet barbecue sauce and Hawaiian rolls. I love crunchy, tangy cole slaw on my pulled pork sandwiches, so I had a hunch it would add the same dimension of flavor here. I was right.
How to Make Barbecue Bacon Meatballs
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F while you assemble the meatballs. Tear up three pieces of bread into small pieces and dump them into a food processor. Pulse until they become breadcrumbs. Pour the breadcrumbs into a large mixing bowl.
Next, combine salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, brown sugar, and five slices of the bacon in the food processor. Process until the mixture forms a thick paste. Spoon the bacon paste into the bowl with the breadcrumbs.
Next, add the ground beef, milk, egg, Worcestershire, and mustard to the bowl. You want to mix until ingredients are evenly combined. I prefer to use my hands for this process because I feel like it’s more efficient. If you use a spoon, just be sure not to overmix. Over mixing the meat mixture can result in tough meatballs.
Form beef mixture into 1 ½ inch balls, roughly the size of a golf ball. Spread them out evenly on a greased cooking sheet or rack. If making ahead of time, you can stop here, cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until ready to bake. If you choose to make these ahead of time, allow the meatballs to come to room temperature for about 30 minutes before baking. Spread barbecue sauce over the top of each meatball. Bake for 15 minutes or the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.
How to Make Creamy Coleslaw
In a small mixing bowl, combine 1/2 cup mayonnaise with granulated white sugar, 1/2 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of white vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
Pour the mixture over one 14-oz. bag of coleslaw and stir until combined. The cole slaw can be made a day in advance and stored in the refrigerator until your ready to serve.
How to Assemble Barbecue Bacon Meatball Sliders
I’ve noticed the trend lately is to assemble and bake sliders in a large 9 x 13 x 2 casserole dish. This is definitely a convenient cooking method, but not what my family and I prefer. The bottom of the buns always end up getting soggy in the end.
Instead, I like to toast my buns and assemble the sliders individually. Start by preheating your broiler. Slice the Hawaiian buns in half, then butter the inside of the rolls. Toast the buns under the broiler. Keep a close eye on them so they don’t burn!
Once the buns are toasted, place a meatball in the center of each bun. Top with coleslaw, then place the top of each bun on top of the coleslaw.
These are perfect for tailgating or a game day party because they can be assembled ahead of time and served hot or cold.
Barbecue Bacon Meatball Sliders
For the meatballs:
- 3 slices of bread torn up into small pieces
- 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
- 6 slices raw bacon
- 1 pound ground beef
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- ½ teaspoon dry ground mustard
- ½ cup barbecue sauce
For the coleslaw:
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 bag (14 oz.) coleslaw mix
- 2 packages (12 oz. each) King’s Hawaiian rolls
- 4 tablespoons butter or margarine
For the meatballs:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Process bread in a food processor until it becomes course crumbs. Pour bread crumbs into a large mixing bowl and set aside.
- Combine salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, brown sugar, and FIVE slices of the bacon in the food processor. Combine until the mixture forms a thick paste.
- Scrape the paste out into the mixing bowl with the breadcrumbs. Add the ground beef, milk, egg, Worcestershire, and mustard. Mix until ingredients are evenly combined.
- Form beef mixture into 1 ½ inch balls, roughly the size of a golf ball. Spread them out evenly on a greased cooking sheet or rack.
- Spread barbecue sauce over the top of each meatball.
- Bake for 15 minutes or the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.
For the coleslaw:
- Combine the mayonnaise, white sugar, lemon juice, vinegar, ground black pepper and salt in a small mixing bowl.
- Pour the dressing over the coleslaw and stir until the cole slaw is thoroughly coated with the dressing.
To assemble the sliders:
- Preheat the broiler.
- Slice the buns in half. Butter the insides of each roll. Toast for about five minutes until the bread is toasted. Keep a close eye on the rolls so they don’t burn.
- Tear the rolls apart. Place one meatball on the bottom of each roll. Top with cole slaw. Place the top of a bun on each slider.