Meatball Sub Sandwiches

Kent Rollins' Meatball Sub with mozzarella stuffed meatballs and homemade marinara

This is a deluxe meatball sub with homemade marinara sauce and mozzarella-stuffed meatballs. There’s a secret ingredient in the meatballs that will make all the difference, so stay with me!

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Make the Perfect Meatballs

The meatball is the star of the show, so we want to make sure we have the most flavor possible. I like to use 80/20 ground chuck to get the right mix of fat to meat. This will make a tender meatball.

Before it’s time to mix up the meatballs, though, fry up the bacon. Set the bacon grease aside, because you will cook the meatballs in the bacon grease for extra flavor. When the bacon cools, crumble it up and mix it up with the ground chuck. Add the diced white onion as well.

Form the meatballs into 8 golf ball-sized portions.


Tip: Form all meatballs into the same size so they will have an even cook time.

Flatten each meatball into a square. Fill the center with mozzarella cheese. Close meat around cheese, pinching closed so the cheese remains in the center.

Cook the meatballs in the reserved bacon grease, turning frequently until browned all over. Set these aside because we will simmer them in the marinara for about ten minutes once the sauce is made.

Easiest Marinara Sauce!

Boil two vine ripened tomatoes, half a while onion, and four garlic cloves until soft. Core out the tomato and onions and puree. Add oregano and basil. Take a saucepan and add some butter and a small can of tomato paste. Mix with the pureed tomatoes and onions. Salt and pepper to taste. This sauce makes the sub!

Tip: Getting all of the tomato paste no longer has to be a pain! Remove both ends of the can using a can opener, and push the paste through from the bottom.

For a little extra flavor and kick, use the Fresh Chile Co. red chile sauce. It makes a difference in every bite!

Simmer the meatballs in the sauce for about 10 minutes.


The Perfect Sandwich is All in the Details

We’ve put a little extra cheese into the meatballs and some extra flavor into the sauce with the chili sauce. Now we’re going to put the finishing touches on the bread. It’s all of these extra touches that take a good sandwich and make it a great sandwich.

Slice the sub roll in two. Butter both sides. Add mozzarella cheese to one half and parmesan to the other. The cheeses on both sides are going to adhere the sauce/meatballs to the bread without making the bread soggy.

Toast or broil the bread until the cheese is melty and bubbly and the bread is toasted. Then, add four meatballs per sub, top with desired amount of cheese & sauce. You can garnish with some basil & oregano if you feel like it! Either way, it’s going to be a delicious meatball sub!

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More Cowboy Sandwiches

Meatball Subs - Cowboy Kent Rollins

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 2 sandwiches


Cowboy Marinara Sauce

  • 2 tomatoes
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1 small white onion rough chopped
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon butter melted
  • 2 basil leaves finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Fresh Red Chile Sauce or more to taste *See note
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • 1 lb. ground beef ground chuck
  • 6 slices bacon cooked and diced (reserve the grease)
  • ½ cup diced white onion
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 tablespoon Kent’s Original seasoning or salt and pepper
  • 1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese divided (plus more for sprinkling)
  • 2 hoagie rolls
  • 4 tablespoons butter melted
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • Chopped parsley for topping


  • For the marinara sauce: In a medium saucepan, add the tomatoes, garlic and onion. Cover with water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until the tomato skin cracks and the onions are tender.
  • Peel and core the tomatoes and place in a blender. Strain the onions and garlic from the saucepan and add to the blender along with the oregano. Blend until smooth.
  • In a medium saucepan, combine the tomato paste and butter. Stir in the contents of the blender. Stir in the basil and Red Chile Sauce. Cook over low heat for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, with your hands, combine the ground beef, bacon, onion, oregano and Original seasoning. Form the meat into 8 to 10 balls.
  • Make a small indention in the middle of each meatball and add 1 to 2 teaspoons of mozzarella cheese. Form the meat around the cheese.
  • In the same cast iron skillet you fried the bacon, heat the grease over medium-low heat. Add the meatballs and cook for about 10 minutes, rolling around, to brown all the edges until they are cooked through.
  • Place the meatballs in the saucepan with the marinara sauce and simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Cut the hoagie rolls down the center, be careful not to slice all the way through the rolls. Spread with the 4 tablespoons of butter. Place about ½ cup of the parmesan cheese on one side of the bun and ½ cup of the mozzarella on the other side. Repeat with the other roll. Toast the rolls in a preheated oven to 450 degrees F. oven, until the cheese is melted.
  • Spread about two tablespoons of the marinara sauce on one side of the roll, top with 4 to 5 meatballs. Sprinkle with additional mozzarella cheese and parsley. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Serve immediately.


We recommend the Fresh Chile Co. Fresh Red Chile Sauce, however you can use other brands or red chile powder (which will give a different flavor). 
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!