These Pork Meatballs will remind you of your favorite pasta meal using ground pork and warm rich spices in an easy tomato sauce. These cook in the slow cooker while you go about your day and also freeze well. Serve them as a meal or even as an appetizer!
During the colder months I love making a big batch of pasta sauce with meatballs. Today’s Pork Meatballs cook in the crockpot and sure to be a crowd pleaser. You will love the flavor that these meatballs have and they freeze great for later, which is always a plus.
The Ohio Pork Council and I are brining you this easy recipe, perfect for winter and the holidays. You can serve these Italian Style Pork Meatballs as a main meal with pasta or you can serve them as an appetizer. Just put a toothpick on the meatballs and set a small dish of sauce next to them and they become a cocktail style meatball.
I like serving these meatballs with the pasta and sauce along with these Simple Garlic Parmesan Green Beans and a Lemon Arugula Salad. Other salads I really like to pair with Italian meals is this Easy Kale Salad with Lemon Dressing or a simple Spinach Salad.
WHAT INGREDIENTS ARE IN THESE SLOW COOKER MEATBALLS?
GROUND PORK: I used about 1.3 pounds of ground pork in this recipe. You can easily double the recipe to make more for a big crowd or freeze half for later.
BREADCRUMBS: The breadcrumbs I used are a whole wheat version but you can use your favorite breadcrumbs.
PARMESAN CHEESE: When I make meatballs I use a finely grated Parmesan cheese to add into my meatballs. I like the flavor it adds to them.
SPICES & HERBS: I use garlic, oregano, thyme, basil and parsley in my pork meatballs and sauce. I especially like adding fresh herbs to my finished sauce.
TOMATO SAUCE: The tomato sauce is simple and one I make a lot. It uses crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaves, spices and garlic.
SHOULD PORK MEATBALLS BE PINK ON THE INSIDE?
The rule of thumb with ground pork is you want the internal temperature to reach 160 degrees F and you do not want pink. I find that when cooking pork meatballs in a tomato sauce in the crockpot that sometimes the pork meatballs don’t cook evenly and the inside might be pink with some of them.
For this reason I always broil my meatballs for about 4 minutes per side to brown them. This helps them cook more evenly in your sauce.
HOW DO YOU MAKE PORK MEATBALLS?
Making meatballs in general is pretty easy. The bulk of the work is rolling the meatball mixture into meatballs.
Start by putting your tomato sauce ingredients in the slow cooker.
Next, add the meatball ingredients to a large mixing bowl. Use your hands or a cookie scoop to form meatballs out of the pork. Place the meatballs on a non-stick baking sheet. Broil the meatballs in the oven until each side is browned, about 4 to 5 minutes.
Remove from the oven and place in the slow cooker making sure the meatballs are covered by the sauce.
Cover and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours, or until the meatballs reach 160 degrees F.
Serve with the sauce and pasta or use toothpicks to serve as an appetizer.