Lots of fresh garlic, Parmesan cheese and pecan smoke make these meatballs a special treat the whole family will love. They can be served with pasta and red sauce as they are in this recipe, as an appetizer or in a meatball sandwich.
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
10 cloves garlic, minced
2 lb extra lean ground beef or veal
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
5 tablespoons tomato paste
5 tablespoons tomato catsup
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
3 large eggs, beaten
1/3 cup each finely chopped fresh basil, oregano and parsley
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons salt
4 pecan wood chunks (use hickory as substitute)
1/2 cup garlic powder and 5 cups water for water pan
32 oz of your favorite red pasta sauce
1 ½ lb fettuccini, cooked al dente
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese for garnish
Heat olive oil in a sauce pan over medium heat and cook onions for about 10 to 15 minutes until transparent, stirring frequently. Add garlic and cook until light golden brown, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool. With wet hands to prevent sticking, blend ground meat, Parmesan, tomato paste, catsup, bread crumb, eggs and spices in a large mixing bowl. Add cooked garlic and onion mixture and blend thoroughly. Roll meat mixture into balls the size of golf balls.
Place wood chunks on charcoal or lava rocks, and pour garlic powder and water mixture into water pan. Evenly distribute meatballs on one layer in smoker basket and set on lower level grill. Smoke cook for approximately 1 ½ to 2 hours (electric/gas smoker) or 2 to 2 ½ hours (charcoal smoker).
Combine red sauce and smoked meatballs in a sauce pan and simmer over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Add cooked pasta and heat until piping hot, stirring frequently.
Serve garnished with Parmesan cheese.