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That Crockpot Meatball Recipe that Has Grape Jelly In It

Is it decent?

Here's why I ask. I am going to a potluck in a couple of weekends, and I plan to bring a crockpot full of meatballs. My default is in a nice red sauce, a not-too-arrabiata arrabiata.

Anyway, one of my sisters in law was reminiscing about a recipe from their childhood, which involved meatballs simmered in chili sauce (not siracha, the ketchup-y kind that's kinda like cocktail sauce) and grape jelly mixed in a 50-50 ratio.

Is this genius or gross? Has anyone tried it? Should I??

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  1. Gross. I've had meatballs in a sauce with much less grape jelly than 50% and it really stood out and tasted odd.

    1 Reply
    1. re: akq

      That's my hunch, though I wanted to ask. I am guessing that it aims to be sweet and spicy but I can't get over the grape hurdle.

    2. I know a lot of people that really love this- I've never had it, though.

      1. I grew up w/ the grape jelly and chili sauce recipe -50/50 jelly and kraft chili sauce(next to ketchup in the condiment aisle) slow cooked in the crock pot a least 6 hours. Perhaps "low brow", but never any leftovers.

        9 Replies
        1. re: sherriberry

          That's my experience, too. It's one of those easy potluck dishes that everyone raves about, and disappears quickly. I don't think it's gross, it's much better than I'd think, but not something I'd make for myself.

          1. re: sherriberry

            Is it a regional thing? Like scrapple to a Philadelphian like me? If you grew up with it, you love it and if you didn't, it's gross?

            1. re: sherriberry

              The only references to Kraft Chili Sauce I can find seem to be in Germany, and they all indicate that this is discontinued. Do you mean Heinz?

              Interestingly, while the Kraft website has a recipe for these, they don't specify a brand of Chili Sauce, which I'm guessing they would if they made one. More interesting: as the meatball filler/binder, rather than bread crumbs, they specify Stove Top Stuffing Mix. Will have to try this.

              1. re: acgold7

                I see Heinz Chili Sauce in supermarkets all the time, right by the ketchup. I used to adore that stuff!

                1. re: StrandedYankee

                  Right, that's the only brand I generally see as well. But then again I'm not usually looking for it. I suppose there could be others.

                  1. re: StrandedYankee

                    I remember Del Monte Chili Sauce was the main brand. Maybe it's a West coast v. East coast regional brand. I haven't looked in ages for that stuff.

                  2. re: acgold7

                    Yes, I meant Heinz-sorry about that. I use panko crumbs as binder and let the meatball mixture sit in the fridge for an hour before forming them to allow the crumbs to absorb some of the meat juices and keep the meatballs from being dry, then form them and cook on a broiler pan, llining them up along the open slits on the pan, thus, allowing the grease to drip out and keeping them from getting greasy in the crock pot. The slow cooking leaves the jelly/chili sauce a nice sweet and tangy sauce. Not gross at all in my opinion. You could always change up the ratios to suit your tastes.

                    1. re: acgold7

                      I use Pepperidge Farm stuffing mix as a binder in my meatloaf and it's great. Don't see why that sort of thing wouldn't work in meatballs, too.

                    2. re: sherriberry

                      Used to have it all the time! And taking them to a pot luck meant never bringing home any leftovers. Same thing with little smokies! They just disappear.

                    3. I've had it and enjoyed it. I stopped eating them eventually, though, because my mother/sister/aunts were using ready-made frozen meatballs in it. I couldn't eat them for the same reasons that I don't eat hot dogs, sausage, pre-made burgers, etc.

                      1. I gotta say, I always thought it sounded gross and I always made sweet & sour meatballs from scratch. In December, I had some people over and figured I'd give them try. I kid you not, people ate them like it was their last meal. And my friends are pretty harsh critics when it comes to food.

                        They are far from gourmet, but they really were tasty. I used Trader Joe's frozen cocktail meatballs and they were pretty good. I like homemade meatballs, but the frozen ones were a little firmer than my homemade ones and it was easy to eat the meatballs on a toothpick.

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