Blueberry Elk Meatballs with Bourbon Blueberry BBQ Sauce

The combination of wild game and fruit works well together in this easy appetizer recipe

By author of Timber 2 Table Wild Game Recipes Print Recipe
prep time
cook time
4-8
serves
Easy
difficulty

Looking for a quick and easy appetizer? Meatballs are always a hit, and these have the added attraction of blueberries — both in the meatballs and in the dipping sauce. The blueberry flavor goes with any type of ground wild game. While it might not be a common pairing, it does work well — sort of like the pemmican often eaten by Native Americans and early explorers. We used elk for this one, but any venison, pork, waterfowl, or even turkey will work.

This easy appetizer combines ground elk or venison with fresh blueberries and a sweet, fruity BBQ sauce.

We like the meatballs with a blueberry barbecue sauce. Serve on a plate and spoon over the sauce. Or add a wooden skewer to each meatball and serve with small bowls of dipping sauce for a more mobile application. 

You can serve the dipping sauce at the table or in small bowls for a more mobile appetizer.

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Ingredients

Meatballs

2 pounds ground elk

1 cup fresh blueberries

¾ cup breadcrumbs

½ cup mushrooms, finely chopped

2 eggs

1 teaspoon chili powder

½ teaspoon chili flakes

1 teaspoon each salt and pepper

 

Sauce

1 ½ cup blueberries

¼ cup Evan Williams Outdoorsman Series Bourbon

¼ cup ketchup

¼ cup honey

¼ cup brown sugar

1 large shallot, diced

2 tablespoons ginger, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon butter

1 teaspoon each salt and pepper

 

Cooking Instructions

Blend all meatball ingredients, except for the blueberries.

The recipe uses eggs and bread crumbs as binders to help the lean ground elk stick together.

Gently use your fingers to work in the blueberries without crushing them.

Blend all meatball ingredients, then gently fold in the blueberries.

Form into meatballs about the size of golfballs. Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. 

Bake the meatballs on a parchment lined baking sheet.

While the meatballs bake, make the sauce. Add the butter to saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook gently until the shallots are soft and translucent — about six to seven minutes.

Finely chop the shallot before starting the sauce.

Add the garlic and ginger and cook another minute or two. Add remaining ingredients and bring the sauce to a light boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer to thicken.

Simmer the sauce until it thickens while the meatballs cook.

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