Big Game Eats: MOINK Balls
February 1, 2013
Every once in a while, the coals align just so to create the perfect grilled dish. It happened a few years ago to one of our VIP Bloggers, Larry Gaian of TheBBQGrail.com and the result has since forth been known as…the MOINK Ball.
Let’s start with the basics, Larry. What the heck is a MOINK Ball?
Larry Gaian, TheBBQGrail.com: A MOINK Ball is, quite simply, a beef meatball wrapped in bacon that has been grilled or smoked. Normally they are given a dash or two of bbq rub or seasoning at the beginning and a little bit of sauce at the end. The combination of sweet bbq sauce with the saltiness of bacon makes a great combination.
And how and when exactly did you decide to combine two great tastes that taste great together, pork and beef?
Larry: Where the idea came from, and where the name came from, are two different stories. In the summer of 2008 I was in the Kansas City airport, with some fellow BBQ enthusiasts waiting for another friend to arrive. We had a few hours so we set out to find some BBQ for lunch. We happened upon a restaurant, that’s best left nameless, where at some point the waitress told us the baby back ribs were beef. Of course, this got a good chuckle out of us. And during the course of our revelry the word MOINK was tossed out. MOO for beef and OINK for pork…MOINK. A new word was born.
Now two months later I was trying to come up with an appetizer to serve at the wedding of a good friend’s daughter. On a lark I took some pre-made, pre-packaged meatballs I had in the freezer and wrapped them with bacon. On to the smoker they went. 90 minutes later the bacon was crisp and I glazed them with a Raspberry Chipotle Balsamic glaze I came up with. When I was asked what they were called for some reason the word MOINK popped into my head and a BBQ sensation was born.
So what defines a true MOINK ball?
Larry: A real MOINK Ball is a beef meatball wrapped in bacon. Nothing more, nothing less. Some people think they can just wrap any old meatball in bacon and they’ve got a MOINK Ball but that’s not the case. It’s got to be a beef meatball and bacon. And because the whole point was simplicity and ease of making don’t go getting all fancy with your meatballs. No meat mixtures, no fillers, just good old beef and some seasoning. That’s it.
And I know you’re a stickler when it comes to the name. Why the decision to spell MOINK in all caps?
Larry: The caps came about because I just wanted the word MOINK to stand out more in print. At this point it’s become a running gag on the Internet and it seems expected that failure to write the name in all caps is going to result in a note from me. It’s quite funny…most of the time.
I also heard rumors of an international MOINK ball day. When did it start, why, and how many folks got their MOINK on during the last one?
Larry: World MOINK Ball Day is the 2nd Saturday in June. The 3rd Annual is coming up. For some reason the members of the Dutch BBQ Association are some the biggest MOINK Ball fans in the world. They came up with the idea of a MOINK Ball day where all the association members would cook MOINK Balls and share pictures of their finished products. Last year on World MOINK Ball Day 60 people from 8 counties cooked MOINK Balls.
What’s the craziest MOINK recipe offshoot you have received to date?
Larry: There have been some fantastic MOINK Ball uses over the past couple of years. There have been a variety of great MOINK Ball sandwiches, MOINK Spaghetti, MOINK & Soba Noodle, Soup…the creativity of the BBQ Grail readers is tremendous. But, in my opinion, the single greatest MOINK Ball creation was the MOINK Ball Pie created by Paul Haight who writes the blog No Excuses BBQ. It was sheer MOINK genius.
Has anyone been de-MOINK’d, perhaps for cooking a vegetarian version?
Larry: You can’t de-MOINK MOINK Balls. It’s either a MOINK Ball or it isn’t. There was once a falalfel meatball wrapped in turkey bacon that someone tried to pass off as a MOINK Ball but, even the creator admitted, it was really, really horrible tasting.
Great stuff, Larry, and keep those grill creations coming! And for those of you who haven’t been MOINK’d, here’s the very first recipe from TheBBQGrail.com.
- 24 pieces pre-made meatballs (thawed)
- 12 slices bacon
- Plowboys Yardbird Rub (or your favorite rub)
Raspberry Balsamic Chipotle Glaze
- 1 cup raspberry preserves (seedless works best)
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 3 cloves garlic (minced extra fine)
- Canned chipotles to taste (seeded and chopped)
Cut the 12 slices of bacon in half creating 24 slices.
Wrap each meatball with a slice of bacon and secure with a toothpick.
Season generously with Plowboy’s Yardbird Rub or your favorite BBQ rub.
Smoke at 225 degrees until the bacon has become crisp to your likeness.
Glaze with Raspberry Balsamic Chipotle Glaze and smoke for an additional 10 minutes.
For Raspberry Balsamic Chipotle Glaze, heat through all ingredients. Make sure preserves are melted.