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These pork meatballs are easy to make and incredibly flavorful, loaded with aromatics like lemongrass, ginger and garlic. They’re very versatile. Serve them as is for an appetizer or party fare, in a simple broth, to make crispy Baked Egg Rolls or Egg Roll in a Bowl.

Pork Meatballs in a cast iron skillet

I knew that I could trust Nigel Slater for a great pork meatball recipe. Not one of his recipes has disappointed me.

I don’t know why I was craving meatballs, but they just sounded good. I wasn’t looking for meatballs in sauce, though I love saucy Spanish Meatballs, I was in the mood for meaty little round flavor bombs, sans sauce. And that’s exactly what these are.

Are you familiar with Nigel Slater? He’s an English food writer, journalist and broadcaster (that’s what Wikipedia says, so it must be true). And I’ll agree with Jamie Oliver’s quote on the cover of Nigel’s book, Appetite. He is a genius.

Nigel has a way of speaking about food that makes you want to eat, it makes you want to cook, and it makes you believe that you can. I love his dry sense of humor and his lack of pretense. He has excellent cookbooks (The Kitchen Diaries is my favorite) and writes an Observer Magazine food column, but I also recommend his autobiography, Toast: The Story of a Boy’s HungerIt’s candid and beautifully written.


He words recipes in a way that encourages, that requires really, you to tweak ingredient amounts to suit your own tastes. For example he calls for ‘a fistful or so of bacon’ in this recipe. I like that.


It’s the spices: lemongrass, ginger, cilantro and garlic combined with jalapeño kick that make these pork meatballs spectacularly flavorful. That and adding a couple of slices of bacon to the ground pork. Why not, right?

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Easy Spicy Pork Meatballs

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Course: Main Course
Calories: 394
Servings: 4 people
Adapted from Nigel Slater’s cookbook Appetite with a few changes.


  • 2 thick stalks of lemongrass coarse outer leaves discarded and tender leaves coarsely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic peeled and crushed
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 2 shallots peeled and chopped
  • 2 jalapeños stems removed and chopped (remove the seeds for less spicy meatballs)
  • 2 strips uncooked bacon chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


  • Add first 9 ingredients to the bowl of a food processor (lemongrass through pepper). Process mixture until very finely minced, scraping down the bowl occasionally. Transfer to a medium bowl.
  • Add ground pork to lemongrass mixture and use your hands to just combine, taking care not to over-mix which would make the meatballs tough. 
  • Shape the seasoned pork into balls that are close to equal in size. (I made them about 1/4 cup each)
  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add meatballs to skillet, flattening them slightly. Leave some space around each so that they’ll brown properly. Brown the meatballs until golden brown on one side, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and cook 2 to 3 minutes more to brown the other side and cooked through.


Calories: 394kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 88mg | Sodium: 430mg | Potassium: 446mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 210IU | Vitamin C: 11.6mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 1.4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Eric Jensen says:

    5 stars
    I was afraid to make this recipe as I’m used to Swedish or Norwegian meatballs, and the once in a while Italian. No egg, no bread crumbs, no dairy! Putting my self outside my cooking comfort zone turned out to be spectacularly delicious…leave your normal routine behind for new pleasures. 😊

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      I love this, Eric! I’m so glad you enjoyed these and thanks so much for coming back to let me know.

  2. simon says:

    Seems like an awesome book to me! I like the idea of adding ingredients at taste! That’s how passion grows 🙂 I also like to see a book that’s not only thinking about the “healthy” option! Bacon is always a good addition haha if only you go for variety! Nice recipe and post!

    1. Marissa says:

      Thanks so much, Simon! It’s so true…bacon is always a great addition. 🙂

  3. Veronica says:

    These look awesome, and will surely be delicious in the baked egg rolls I’m about to do! But I was wondering, does the cilantro need to be processed at the same time as all the other ingredients in the first step? Because the eighth ingredients seems to be black pepper, but maybe I forgot how to count!

    1. Marissa says:

      Yum! That sounds so good, Veronica. And, yes! You’re absolutely correct, it’s the first 9 ingredients. Thanks so much for catching that!

  4. Dorothy Dunton says:

    Hi Marissa! These looks fantastic! And using this in egg rolls! I prefer baking to frying – it’s healthier and less messy. I bake my meatballs on a rimmed baking sheet with broth, they come out so juicy! I will definitely be trying this!

    1. Marissa says:

      Thanks, Dorothy! I always bake my meatballs too. It’s so much easier than frying them and I love the texture that baking gives them!

  5. Kristi @ Inspiration Kitchen says:

    I love the lemongrass and jalapenos in these meatballs. They’re making me hungry! Pinned!

    1. Marissa says:

      Thanks, Kristi! Lemongrass is so great isn’t it? It’s one of those spices that I don’t see enough in recipes.