Pork Meatballs in a Beer Sauce

These pork meatballs are braised in a beer sauce and served on a cheesy mash… Yes, they are every bit as good and indulgent as that sounds!

Portrait close up image of beer sauce poured over pork meatballs on polenta in a black bowl with a vintage fork and dark linen

Braised Pork Meatballs in Beer Sauce with Cheesy Polenta.

Like many my first association with meatballs is spaghetti… This dish ain’t that, not that there is anything wrong with spaghetti and meatballs!

But meatballs are a global institution and there are countless variations.

This one sees me playing with my balls, behave, to create something new and gloriously indulgent.

The meatballs are flavoured with mustard and thyme, classic combinations with pork. They are then braised in the oven in a sauce made from dark beer and BBQ sauce.

Just to make sure we hit the comfort food jackpot, I serve them on a cheddar cheese polenta inspired by the polenta I made for my beef osso bucco recipe.

Portrait overhead image of pork meatballs and onion wedges with beer sauce on polenta served in two black bowls with a vintage fork and dark linen

Choosing the Beer and BBQ Sauce.

Naturally, the flavour of this dish is governed by the BBQ sauce you use and the beer you use.

I have made these pork meatballs half a dozen times playing with different flavours and ideas and they all worked really very well.

You want to avoid paring a really sweet sauce with a really sweet beer. Also avoid a really bitter beer with a tart BBQ sauce.

My favourite combination ended up being Leffe Brun which is a dark Belgian Wheat Beer. This was paired with the BBQ Sauce that I made for these BBQ ribs.

A Pilsner style lager gives the most simple flavour profile to these pork meatballs and a Porter or Stout the heaviest, a little too heavy for my liking.

I’ve also tried a few store-bought BBQ sauces, again they tend to work well. They do however tend to be a little sweeter.

Portrait image of pork meatballs, onion wedges and a beer sauce served on polenta in two black bowls with a vintage fork and dark linen

The Cheesy Polenta.

I speak about cooking polenta in my recent mushroom ragu with polenta recipe. As a result, I will not rake over similar ground.

But once again your choice of ingredients will impact the flavour of this recipe massively.

The sauce is quite sweet with a hint of bitterness. So to compliment these flavour profiles I would recommend a cheddar cheese as sharp and mature as you can get it.

It provides the perfect partner to the flavours in the rest of the dish.

One final word of warning, be careful when cooking your polenta.

Keep the heat low as polenta spits when the temperature is too high and can cause burns.

Portrait close up image of pork meatballs, onion wedges and a beer sauce served on polenta in a black bowl with a vintage fork and dark linen
Pork Meatballs in a Beer Sauce on Cheesy Polenta

Pork Meatballs in a Beer Sauce on Cheesy Polenta

Yield: 2 Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

You might want to sit down before considering this... Mustardy porky meatballs in a beer sauce with cheesy polenta... Yes, all that and then some!


For the Polenta

  • 500 ml Vegetable Stock
  • 85 g Polenta
  • 50 g Sharp Cheddar Cheese

For the Meatballs

  • 100 g Potato
  • 300 g Ground Pork Shoulder
  • 1 Egg Yolk
  • 1/2 Tsp Dried Thyme
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

For the Sauce

  • 30 g Butter
  • 1/2 Tbsp Plain Flour
  • 75 ml Water
  • 250 ml Dark Beer
  • 100 ml BBQ Sauce
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 Onion


  1. Preheat your oven to 180Β°C or 350Β°F.
  2. Grate the potato and cut the onion into 4 wedges.
  3. Take the potato, egg, pork shoulder, mustard, thyme, salt and pepper and mix together in a bowl.
  4. Wet your hands and form this mix into 6 evenly sized meatballs and set aside, these meatballs are meant to be really rather wet at this stage so don't worry.
  5. Heat a frying pan that can be transferred to the oven over a medium high heat and melt the butter for the sauce and when melted add the flour and stir to and cook out for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Now pour in your beer, water and BBQ sauce and cook for 3-4 minutes whilst constantly stirring, now check the seasoning and add salt and pepper as required.
  7. Add your meatballs and onion wedges and roll around to get nicely coated in the sauce, then transfer to the oven and cook for 45-50 minutes.
  8. Now we can start the polenta, heat your vegetable stock in a pan and when boiling pour in your polenta stirring all the time.
  9. When your polenta returns to the boil reduce the heat to very low and keep stirring every few minutes for 45 minutes. Now is the perfect time to run some more quality checks on the beer and listen to some tunes.
  10. After 45 minutes stir in the grated cheese and check for seasoning.
  11. Serve in a bowl with the meatballs and if you are feeling so inclined a load of fresh chives.


You could of course serve these on some mashed vegetables if you cannot be bothered with cooking polenta.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 975 Total Fat: 58g Saturated Fat: 26g Trans Fat: 1g Unsaturated Fat: 26g Cholesterol: 289mg Sodium: 2312mg Carbohydrates: 51g Fiber: 3g Sugar: 24g Protein: 47g
Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

26 thoughts on this Recipe:

    • Yes Cindy, raw potato, the 45 minute cooking time is ample for them to cook through and they are almost unnoticeable as a flavour but help the overall texture of the meatball.

  1. Braised with meat is just about the only way I’ll consume beer. These sound fabulous and you can’t ever go wrong with cheesy polenta!

  2. Beer adds such a great flavor to the right dish, especially cheese! This looks amazing and I have to agree, usually when I think of meatballs I think of mom’s spaghetti. This is a great twist on the classic meatball! I’m loving this recipe.

  3. What an exquisite meal you have put together here, Brian. Your combination of flavors for the meatballs, namely the mustard, beer and BBQ sauce are all perfectly suited for the meat star of the show – pork! I love it and never would have thought to use this as the primary base. Finally, serving atop the polenta is literally the incing on this cake. Very nicely done my friend!

    • Cheers Dan, definitely one of my more adventurous combinations and it took a little while to get it right but it really works so well.

  4. Well that’s the perfect way to celebrate a birthday! And these meatballs look amazing. I love meatballs and what a great idea serving them with polenta.

  5. We love Leffe too, and I can almost imagine how perfect it’s be in these meatballs. The colour of the sauce is gorgeous and I can’t wait to try this.

  6. I laughed so hard after that first sentence (you behave!!!) haha You know I would laugh πŸ˜€ Well I’m glad your experiment worked and turned into this delicious looking polenta with meatballs. Polenta is a quite forgotten meal but so good for our health… Love how you revived it here. This looks very good Brian. Photos are incredible, as always… drooling as usual πŸ˜‰ Pinning and sharing… off course! πŸ˜‰

    • I have no idea what you mean #innocentface πŸ˜‰

      Thank you, I was quite late to the ‘polenta’ party and have only really fallen in love with it over the last year or so… Although the amount of cheese I use kinda negates and health benefits πŸ™‚

      • I’m glad you discovered polenta πŸ™‚ Yeah, cheddar cheese is kinda loaded with fats, but for someone who’s eating cheese only once a week this shouldn’t be a problem. I use parm cheese in my polenta.. less fat, more protein πŸ˜‰

        • I never consider healthy eating when it comes to cooking, when it happens it is an accident πŸ˜‰ so for this recipe it was cheddar all the way, beer, bbq sauce and cheddar cheese just kinda work… However parmesan is my usual go to cheese for polenta too.

  7. This looks like proper man food! I think my boyfriend would love this recipe! I might have to make it for him at the weekend.

  8. This literally sounds like my husbands favourite meal. He is obsessed with polenta at the moment, so I am going to have to give it a go.

    • This definitely fits into the ‘Dude Food’ category I am often accused of slipping into πŸ˜‰ Hope he enjoys it as much as we did πŸ™‚

  9. This looks so delicious! I could almost lick the screen!
    We are just starting to get cooler weather so I will have to Pin it!
    Thanks so much for sharing.

    • And we are just coming to warmer weather πŸ˜€ Have fun and be careful with that screen licking problem πŸ˜‰


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