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Smoky Grilled Meatball Subs

Scott Phillips

Servings: 4

The pork meatballs in these saucy sandwiches get a double dose of smoky flavor: first from smoked paprika and then from the grill. Sweet, fire-roasted chiles and grilled tomatoes form the base for a delicious sauce.


  • 5 6-inch soft sub rolls
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp. smoked sweet paprika
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil; more for the grill
  • 1 medium tomato (8 oz.), halved crosswise
  • 2 jarred piquillo peppers (or substitute 1 large jarred roasted red pepper)
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 oz. finely grated manchego cheese (about 1 cup)

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 500
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 220
  • Fat (g): 24
  • Saturated Fat (g): 8
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2.5
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 11
  • Cholesterol (mg): 135
  • Sodium (mg): 930
  • Carbohydrates (g): 40
  • Fiber (g): 2
  • Protein (g): 34


  • Prepare a medium-high gas or charcoal grill fire.
  • Tear half of one roll into 1/4-inch pieces and put in a small bowl. Add 1/4 cup water and let sit until the bread has absorbed the water, about 5 minutes. Gently squeeze the bread to remove excess water and finely chop the soaked bread (you should have about 1/4 cup).
  • In a large bowl, break up the pork with your hands. Add the soaked bread, egg, garlic, lemon zest, thyme, smoked paprika, 1-1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Use your hands to gently combine the mixture. Shape into 16 meatballs (each about 1-1/2 inches).
  • Split the remaining rolls, but don’t cut them completely in half. Brush the insides of the rolls with 1 Tbs. of the olive oil. Brush the cut side of the tomato and the meatballs with the remaining olive oil.
  • Oil the grill grate and grill the tomato until softened and lightly browned, turning once, 4 to 6 minutes. Grill the bread split side down until golden and lightly charred on the edges, 1 to 3 minutes. Grill the meatballs until they’re just cooked through, turning once, about 8 minutes. Remove each item as it finishes cooking and set aside.
  • In a food processor, purée the grilled tomato, piquillo peppers, and red pepper flakes. Season to taste with salt.
  • Put 4 meatballs in each roll and top with one-quarter of the sauce and one-quarter of the cheese. Serve hot.

Serve up these subs with a fresh Spinach and Grilled Radicchio Salad.


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Reviews (5 reviews)

  • LauraNo | 04/13/2014

    I want to rate this but I CAN'T FIND IT! Issue 112 does not have it, nor do issues 113, 110, 111, and 109. This happens to me a lot of the time, I don't want to sit at the computer in another room when I no doubt have the issue here. I am meant to add a certain number to the issue number maybe? This is very frustrating! I know it's a very old posting now but I feel better for having complained...

  • girlfriend888 | 01/11/2013

    We cooked these meatballs on our smoking grill, and they are delicious! Very juicy and flavorful.

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