I was getting my MOINK on this weekend when the Winter Grillers (group has now disbanded) tossed out a challenge for everyone to try making MOINK balls. First, I had to figure out what the heck are MOINKs. Some of the guys clued me in that they are hamburger balls (moo) wrapped in bacon (oink) for MOINK.
Later on I even found out who came up with MOINK balls. That's Larry at BBQ Grail who has an official MOINK page. And, even though I did not know the history of the official rules, my intuition had me producing a fairly authentic MOINK. The only major difference was that I added cheddar cheese to my smoked hamburger balls.
MOINKS can be made with frozen meatballs, and the originals were. Some folks can't find frozen meatballs. I've never noticed any around here. Other people just prefer scratch on meatballs. So, I rolled up my own meatballs which is easy to do. If using frozen meatballs, do let them thaw beforehand.
I had a pound of 93/7 ground beef. It does not have to be that lean. That's just what was on sale at Food Lion. Also, the bacon adds fat, so this is a case where I can go leaner on a grill or smoke. Normally with grilled burgers, I do 80/20. That's the lean to fat ratio if anyone doesn't know. And, some foods need a bit more fat on the grill to stay moist and not stick.
The kid asked if I could add cheese to the MOINKS. He's a cheese lover. So, I grated one cup of cheddar cheese and mixed that in with the hamburger by hand (smush, smush, smush), and then I rolled up the meatballs. For one pound of meat, I had 18 meatballs all around 1 inch in size.
I marinated my meatballs in Wild n Mild barbecue marinade sauce - one of my all time favorites. It's thin and works as a marinade or bbq sauce. I have to order it online, since Food Lion does not carry Wild n Mild. I hope they do some day soon. If I don't have Wild n Mild on hand, then my easy go-to grilling marinade is Italian dressing (the oily type - not creamy).
The next step was to wrap the MOINK balls in bacon. It takes a half slice of regular breakfast bacon (thin sliced) per MOINK, and I used Carolina Pride. So, that was 9 total slices on the bacon.
With the marinade being sticky and the meat fresh, the bacon clung real well. I considered skipping the toothpicks, but it's nice to have something to hold on to when eating grilled appetizers. So, I did soak some toothpicks and stuck one through each MOINK ball before smoking.
Most people put the MOINK balls right on the grates, and I could have done that. But, I wanted to keep this really easy. Plus, I was smoking rather than grilling. With the indirect heat, I did not need to turn my MOINKs. So, I loaded them up in a grill wok - a vary handy barbecue accessory for small items.
Then I offset the charcoals in my PK grill which is a cast aluminum model that holds heat really well. These can also be grilled over direct heat but should be checked and turned. And, they can go in a traditional smoker with times being very close to what I did with a slow smoke in a grill with offset coals and the lid closed (vents open).
It took an hour and 20 minutes to smoke my MOINK balls. The temperatures outside were low though - upper 30s here in NC. So, I'd say to check them a little earlier than that and keep an eye out if grilling in warmer temperatures.
Also, if you want to add barbecue sauce to the MOINKs, do that the last 10 or 15 minutes of grilling or smoking - less time for grilling and more for smoking. You don't want traditional barbecue sauce (the thick kind) on there for the whole cook, or it will burn. Just sauce close the end, and that works out great.
The guys loved the MOINK balls, and I must say I was pretty proud and impressed with how they turned out. It can be hard to nail a new barbecue or grill recipe the first time, but these were spot on.
If you want a terrific grilled appetizer that is easy to make and tastes wonderful, then MOINKs are just the ticket. They will definately be on our rotation list of favorites on the grill.