Hawaiian Meatballs with Pineapple BBQ Sauce

Meatballs are pretty popular around our house.

I usually make them with an Italian twist, loaded with parmesan and basil. But, for my Tiki Party that just wouldn’t fly.

I wanted to work pineapple into every possible dish, meatballs included. But, I was a bit squeamish about putting them into the meat itself.

Enter pineapple barbecue sauce!

It was so simple to make, as easy as throwing some cheap, canned pineapple into a blender and whipping it up on the stove with whatever inspired me!


I love smokey flavours in my barbecue sauce, so I did add a few pinches of smoked sea salt. It’s not something everyone has on hand, so it’s an optional ingredient. But, I definitely recommend picking some up. It doesn’t go bad and it comes in handy! I use this one from Epicure.

The meatballs were prepared in advance to give me even more time to work on my menu the day of the party. I threw them in the freezer until I was ready for them.

The barbecue sauce took less than 30 minutes to make, 25 of which was just stirring it on the stove. From there, I poured it into the slowcooker with my frozen meatballs and let the low heat setting get to work.


I made the mistake of turning my Crock Pot on too early in the day. I wanted them to be hot for the party, but I didn’t want them to fall apart from cooking for too long.

This problem was easily solved by removing them from the slowcooker and placing them in the fridge until I could throw them in the oven during the party. This made the sauce even more sticky and succulent (it’s not my favourite word, but the meatballs bring it out in me).

They were a huge hit and the platter was cleared in no time.

Serve them up with pineapple slices or straight-up saucy.

Just make sure you have toothpicks to prevent sticky fingers.

Hawaiian pork meatballs
Makes 40-50, depending on the size


  • 1 kilogram (or 2.2 pounds) of ground pork
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
  • 1 cup of panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp hot sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • A pinch of red pepper flakes


  1. Get a large bowl. Add all of your ingredients and mix with a potato masher or by hand until the meatballs are fully blended. Roll into balls roughly the size of a ping pong ball.
  2. In a large pan over the stove, heat one tablespoon of cooking oil and add meatballs in batches. Heat until cooked through, about 15 minutes per batch. Remove from heat and place directly in your slowcooker. Or, if not using right away, cool them on the counter for 30 minutes before placing in the freezer in an airtight container.
  3. Prepare your barbecue sauce (below) and cook together in the slowcooker for 4 hours on low. Finish in the oven for 15 minutes to make sure the sauce is sticky sweet.
  4. Serve with toothpicks and party on!

Pineapple barbecue sauce


  • 1 can of crushed pineapple chunks
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp honey or dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp hot sauce


  1. Blend the crushed pineapple in a blender until smooth. It will turn white and look frothy. Add it to a large pot on the stove, set to medium temperature. Cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and stir well until fully incorporated. Cook, stirring occasionally, until boiling and then turn to low. Cook until the sauce thickens, about 20-25 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and pour over meatballs (see above for the recipe).



  1. What size can of crushed pineapple did you use?