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Meaty, Cheesy Tex Mex Meatballs
Crushed tortilla chips replace traditional breadcrumbs to keep these meatballs moist but packed with Tex Mex flavor.
Imagine the hearty goodness of a rich meatball swimming in red sauce. Now, imagine the belly-rubbing satisfaction you feel after devouring a plate of Tex Mex. Brace yourselves, because this recipe brings all those yummy, comforting feels together in one glorious dish. Tex Mex Meatballs.
My classic meatball recipe uses breadcrumbs that have been soaked in water to add much-needed moisture to the balls, which despite swimming in sauce can tend to dry out and become tough. In this case, it made sense to substitute traditional crumbs with something a little more Tex-Mexy (that’s a word, right?). I used crushed tortilla chips and WOW could I really taste the corn flavor! It gives the meatballs a subtle enchilada vibe, and an extra layer of flavor.
Originally, I tried to develop this recipe for stovetop, with the intention of browning the meatballs in the skillet. Sadly, the addition of the crushed soaked chips just made them too delicate, and most of them fell apart as I tried to brown them. The solution? Turning this into an all-in-the-oven dish. You could absolutely also do it in a pellet grill and give it an epic smokey finish.
THIS RECIPE WAS MADE POSSIBLE BY THE GOOD FOLKS AT THE BEEF LOVING TEXANS.
Tex Mex Meatballs
- 2lb ground beef
- ½ cup crushed tortilla chips (about 2 oz)
- 6 tablespoons water or beef broth
- 4 oz canned green chiles
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- 2 teaspoons chipotle powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 15 oz red enchilada sauce
- 2 cups Mexican style shredded cheese
- Preheat an oven to 350f.
- In a cup or small bowl, combine the finely crushed tortilla chips (they should be the size of large breadcrumbs) with the water or beef broth. Stir to make a thick paste. If the chips soak up all the liquid and seem dry, add another 1/4 cup of water.
- In a large bowl, combine beef, green chiles, salt, garlic, cumin, chipotle, onion and the crushed tortilla mix. Use your hands to blend everything together, mixing the ingredients as quickly as possible without overworking the meat.
- Form the ground beef mixture into balls, using about 1/3 cup of the mixture per ball. Do not overwork or form the meatballs too tightly.
- Place the meatballs in a large skillet or Pyrex-style baking dish, leaving space between them, then bake for 15 minutes.
- Pour the enchilada sauce over/around the meatballs, and return to the oven for a further 7-10 minutes, or until the meatballs read 155f internal temperature.
- Sprinkle the cheese all over the meatballs, and return to the oven for one final time until melted, about 3-5 minutes. Serve immediately.
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