Spaghetti and Smoked Meatballs

Kent Rollins Spaghetti and Smoked Meatballs

We have taken the ultimate Italian comfort meal and kicked it up about 14 notches, cowboy style. I’m talking about spaghetti and meatballs, but we aren’t using the canned sauce or frozen meatballs you just pick up at the grocery store.

Today, I’m going to show you how to make homemade pasta sauce that will beat the flavor of anything in a jar, and then I’m going to demonstrate how to smoke the meatballs on the grill to perfection. Let’s get to going!

Homemade Sauce

This is the perfect recipe for you to put together for a meal or to make and freeze to use all up of those delicious tomatoes from your garden. Start by taking about ten medium sized Roma tomatoes and boil them until the skin cracks. Remove from the boiling water. Set in a bowl of cold water.

Tip: Toasting spices enhances their flavor.

Heat up a skillet and toss a few garlic cloves and some fennel seed to toast. No oil is needed to bring all of this flavor out.

Tip: Start the sauce a few hours before you plan to smoke the meatballs. The flavors will incorporate the longer they simmer.

Once the tomatoes are cool and the spices are hot, get the blender ready. Y’all know this thing never works when I need it to but today I dragged an extension cord out to camp so we could use this to create the pasta sauce, and I promise it was worth it.

Peel the skin off of each tomato and chuck them into the blender. Follow with the toasted spices and all of the ingredients listed in the recipe below. If you need to add salt, add some Red River Ranch Original Seasoning. Pour the pasta sauce into the simmering pot and set on the fire to cook.

Tip: adding red wine to this recipe and letting it simmer gives a rich flavor. 

Smoked Meatballs

Kent Rollins Smoked Meatballs

I like to use a mixture of 80/20 Ground Chuck and a package of pork breakfast sausage. You might want to wear gloves while you mash it all together with your hands. It’s the best way to do it, folks.

Add some kick by sprinkling some crushed red pepper over the top of the mixture. Add the Italian bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, garlic and other spices and mash all up until everything is incorporated.

Tip: Keeping the meatballs in the ice box for about 4 hours will enhance the flavor.

Four Hours Later

Alright, now you’ve had the meatballs setting up in the ice box and the pasta sauce simmering on the fire for four hours now and everyone is getting hungry and grumping about “when are we going to eat?”

It won’t be long, now. Make them do the dishes while we get this finished up.

Tip: Get your hands wet to prevent the meatballs from sticking to your fingers.

Roll the meatballs up into equal sizes. Get the smoker hot with some Apple wood and place the meatballs on the indirect side of the grill – not directly on top of the fire. Smoke for about 20 minutes and move them over so the fire is kissing them.

As soon as the meatballs are thoroughly cooked and show some char and grill marks, throw them in with the sauce and let them simmer. Serve with some pasta and enjoy!

As always, thanks for sharing our food with us. Please remember to subscribe to our YouTube channel and check back every Wednesday for a new video (and a new happy dance). We’ll see y’all down the trail.


Spaghetti and Smoked Meatballs – Cowboy Kent Rollins

Prep Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 55 minutes
Servings 6 to 8 servings


  • 1 lb. ground chuck
  • 1 lb. pork sausage
  • ½ tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons Italian bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon roasted fennel seeds
  • ½ tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon Kent’s Original Seasoning or salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon coarse ground black pepper


  • 10 Roma tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 3 tablespoons dried basil
  • ½ cup chopped spinach
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 2 white onions
  • 1 10 oz can Rotel green chiles and tomatoes drained
  • 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 pound chopped mushrooms
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • ½ cup red wine
  • Kent’s Original Seasoning or salt and pepper to taste
  • 16 oz. package spaghetti


  1. In a large bowl, combine the ground beef and sausage. Stir in the remaining seasonings and mix well with your hands. Cover and set in the icebox for at least 4 hours.
  2. Add the tomatoes to a large saucepan and cover with water. Cook over medium-high heat until the skins crack, about 5 minutes.
  3. Drain the tomatoes from the water and peel off the skins. Add the tomatoes, Peel the tomatoes, parsley, basil, spinach, garlic cloves, onions and Rotel. Blend until smooth.
  4. Pour the sauce into a large pot over medium-low heat. Stir in the italian seasoning, salt, Worcestershire sauce, mushrooms, fennel seeds and red wine. Season with Kent’s Original Seasoning or salt and pepper, to taste. Cover and let simmer for about 20 to 25 minutes.
  5. Clean and preheat the grill to 300 degrees F.
  6. Remove the meat from the fridge and form into 1½-inch balls and set aside.
  7. Place the meatballs on the indirect side of the grill. Close the lid and let them smoke for about 20 minutes. Move the meatballs over the direct heat and cook for another 5 minutes, rotating as they cook.
  8. Remove the meatballs from the grill and place them in the sauce. Simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  9. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti as directed on the package. Drain the pasta from the water. Top with meatballs and sauce and serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

Kent’s Original Seasoning available at