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Crispy Pork Meatballs in Apple Jelly Cider Sauce

The Angry Orchard Crisp Apple used in the apply jelly cider glaze highlights the complementary flavors of pork and apple in this dish. The cider’s balanced fruit-forward flavor and slight sweetness cools the spice of the zesty meatball seasoning.

Makes 24 meatballs, serves 6 adults

Ingredients (meatballs):

  • 1 lb boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch cubes, well chilled
  • 1 small yellow onion, 1/4-inch dice
  • 6 cloves garlic, thickly sliced, about 2 tablespoons
  • 2 Tablespoons Espelette pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon + 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1 Teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Teaspoon dried oregano
  • 6 fresh sage leaves, roughly chopped or 1 teaspoon rubbed sage
  • 3 sweet Kings Hawaiian® sandwich buns
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 Cups canola oil for frying

Ingredients (apple jelly cider sauce):

  • 1 Cup Angry Orchard Crisp Apple
  • 1 small jar apple jelly
  • 1 bottle Heinz Chili Sauce
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced


  1. In a large bowl combine the pork, onion, garlic, Espelette, salt, pepper, Worcestershire, oregano, and sage. Refrigerate until well chilled; the fat should be solid and firm.
  2. Chill your meat grinder and the large die.
  3. Assemble the meat grinder and grind the pork.
  4. Tear the buns into shreds into a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process the buns to coarse crumbs.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg and stir in the crumbs until all egg is absorbed.
  6. Add the ground pork and mix to combine.
  7. Pinch off 1 oz pieces and shape into meatballs, about 1 1/2 inches around.
  8. Line a half sheet pan with a double layer of paper towels.
  9. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1/4-inch oil and heat to 300°F.
  10. Working in batches, add the meatballs in a single layer and cook until brown and crispy, about 2 minutes. Flip, cook another 2 minutes and continue cooking and turning until browned and crispy on all sides, a total of about 6 minutes.
  11. Remove to the sheet pan to drain. The meatballs will be a little browner than you think they should be… this is right; you really want a nice crust. They won't be quite cooked through when you remove them, but they will finish cooking as they cool and when you drop them in the sauce.
  12. Add ingredients for apple jelly cider sauce into your slow cooker. Allow the sauce to come to a simmer and then lower the heat.
  13. Add your meatballs and allow them to sit in the hot sauce for 20 minutes before serving. If you wish to make these in advance, you can keep them warm in the sauce for 2 hours or cool down the contents and rewarm in the slow cooker before serving.