Hawaiian Meatballs are a deliciously sweet and savory combo… and even better on the grill! They combine homemade beef meatballs with fresh pineapple, peppers, and red onion in a sticky pineapple glaze that everyone is sure to love!
This post is a collaboration with Wisconsin Beef Council on behalf of the Beef Checkoff. All opinions are my own.
There’s nothing like grilling in summertime, and here in Wisconsin, we take every opportunity to fire up the grill while the weather is nice. It’s the perfect way to gather with friends and family for a fun outdoor meal… and our favorite way to eat as many meals as possible!
When it comes to grilling, we love all things beef. From burgers to steaks and everything in between, it’s pretty much a guaranteed win. And these Grilled Hawaiian Meatballs are no exception.
They’re thick, juicy, and flavorful – seasoned with onion, garlic, ginger, and soy sauce – and when you combine them with fresh pineapple, peppers, red onion, and a sweet & sour pineapple sauce, they’re out of this world DELICIOUS.
They’re a fun, flavorful alternative to burgers and would be ideal for a backyard party or luau. Because let’s face it – summer is short. We might as well have fun!
If you’ve never grilled meatballs before, it’s easy to do. I’ve included “tips for success” below, and you can also visit the Wisconsin Beef Council for more beef grilling tips and recipes. Also be sure to check out the #UnitedWeSteak campaign over at Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner.
The ingredient list for this recipe can easily be separated into three main components: the meatballs, the glaze, and the kabobs. Since many of the ingredients are spices and pantry staples, you’ll most likely already have them on hand. Here’s what you’ll need:
For the meatballs:
- 2 lbs. Ground Beef (93% lean or leaner)
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 2 large eggs
- 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
- Seasonings: 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon pepper
For the sauce:
- 1 cup pineapple juice
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
For the kabobs:
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 medium red onion
- 1/2 fresh pineapple
- Cut the fruits & vegetables – cut the pineapple, bell peppers, and onion into 1 1/2 – 2 inch pieces.
- Make the meatballs – in a large mixing bowl, combine the Ground Beef, breadcrumbs, eggs, soy sauce, and spices. Mix well. Use your hands to form meatballs, using about 3 Tablespoons of the mixture at a time.
- Assemble the kabobs – alternate meatballs, peppers, onions, and pineapple on wooden or metal skewers.
- Grill the kabobs – Brush the grill grates with olive oil to prevent sticking. Grill kabobs over medium heat with the lid down for a total of 15 minutes, turning at least once.
- Make the sauce – While the kabobs are grilling, combine the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and whisk well. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and stir until thickened (about 2 minutes).
- Enjoy! – Remove kabobs from the grill and brush them generously with sauce. Serve with remaining sauce for dipping.
- Use any variety of Ground Beef (I used 93% lean)
- Use any of your favorite vegetables, like zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, or potatoes (par-cook carrots and potatoes to soften)
- Substitute fresh grated ginger for the dried ginger
- Substitute dried onion for the onion powder
- Add 1 Tablespoon of Worcestershire to the sauce for a more savory flavor
- Grill the meatballs separately (omit the pineapple, peppers, and onion)
- Bake the meatballs in the oven (400° for 15 minutes)
Making in advance
This is an ideal recipe to make in advance for easy mealtimes. Simply chop the fruit and vegetables and prepare the meatballs according to recipe instructions. Then refrigerate separately OR assemble the kabobs completely and store them, covered, on a rimmed baking sheet in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use them. Once the grill is hot, remove them from the refrigerator and grill to perfection!
Storing & reheating
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator and reheated in one of two ways:
- In the oven at 350° for 15 minutes or until heated through
- In a skillet over medium heat for 10 minutes or until heated through
Tips for success
- Be sure beef is thoroughly thawed in the refrigerator before grilling
- Pack meatballs tightly so they keep their shape
- Keep meatballs chilled until they are ready to be grilled
- Keep raw beef away from cooked beef (use separate trays for uncooked and cooked kabobs)
- Preheat gas grill for 10 minutes before using and charcoal grill until charcoal turns white
- Brush grill grates with oil before grilling to prevent sticking
- Make meatballs uniform in size to ensure even cooking
- Cut fruit & vegetables uniform in size to ensure even cooking
- Brush sauce on during the last few minutes of cooking time
- Cook meatballs until internal temperature reaches 160° F
Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 363Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 147mgSodium: 765mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 1gSugar: 18gProtein: 38g