Ahhhhhh.....the delightful little Holiday Meatball! Never has something so bite-sized been so perfect! A holiday tradition for generations, and no one will allow me to deviate from the original recipe. I guess when you have perfection, why try to reinvent the wheel? Perfectly sized, perfectly simple, and perfectly saucy - just the way we like it!
There are absolutely hundreds of sauce recipes out there for meatballs, but the combination of Welch's Grape Jelly and our favorite barbeque sauce is the one we go back to time after time. On our trips back to Minneapolis, one of our favorite restaurants is Rudolph's Barbeque & Grill, and we always bring back a dozen or so bottles of their wonderful barbeque sauce to hideaway and save for special occasions. That means Christmas, New Years and Holiday Meatballs!
For anyone that is a Minneapolis native and fan of Prince, I'm going to share a little bit of Prince lore.
Back in the 80s, when Prince still ate meat, he and his proteges used to frequent Rudolph's BBQ & Grill. He and the band would often go there late at night after rehearsing, but other times Prince would go by himself, and he had his special table that was secluded away in the back of the restaurant. Rudolph's was a pretty popular restaurant (they also had/have a bar area) back then and other celebrities, when they were in town, would eat there. The Minnesota Vikings players were frequent patrons, and there was ALWAYS a long line waiting to get in. I remember going there myself more times than I can count in the 1980s, and it was always a nice surprise when we would see his purple Volvo limos rolling up to the door late after a show.
Rudolph's was named after Rudolph Valentino, and the decor was done in a very retro style and there were tons of photos from classic films everywhere on the walls, photos and murals of movie stars, and of course lots of pictures of Valentino! Back in the day all the menu items were named after movies stars or classic films, which I always thought was pretty cool.
It's strange to feel so melancholy about a meatball, but that's the history behind these. We enjoy a big crockpot full of these every Christmas and New Years - and any leftovers are wonderful in BBQ Meatball Hoagie Sandwiches or even with a plate of scrambled eggs in the morning. Crazy - but fun!
Hope you get a chance to check out Minneapolis, Rudolph's Barbeque & Grill, and of course, these wonderful Holiday Meatballs!