This post has been sponsored by Dr Pepper®. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
A lot has changed since I first met Asheley 8 years ago. New jobs. Marriage. New home. Two kids. One thing though that has not changed? Asheley’s love for college sports. And although our current season of life doesn’t allow her to watch every game all Saturday long, she still is able to catch bits and pieces. I’m a fan of watching, too, but my motives are driven by something other than those two teams battling it out on the television.
Game day eats. I love them. There’s something so comforting and satisfying about a good game day spread, and I’m always excited to expand my repertoire of game day recipes!
And of course along with food, everyone’s got their favorite beverage when it comes to watching the game. The fresh and delicious taste of Dr Pepper® pairs perfectly with all the standard tailgate appetizers, but I wanted to take it a step further and put Dr Pepper IN my recipe!These BBQ Meatball Subs with Dr Pepper BBQ Sauce. They are everything to me right now. Best of all, the whole family loves them, including my three year old!
Side note before I forget: you can find a bunch of game day inspiration over at the Tailgating with Dr Pepper Content Hub!
When it comes to good game day eats, there are a few rules I live by:
The food shouldn’t require utensils. Napkins, sure. Forks and knives, heck no. I want to hold, grab, dip, and scoop my tailgating grub!
We all have a very precious amount of stomach space, so let’s not waste it with fluff or filler. I want every bite to be big on taste and bold in flavor. These BBQ Meatball Subs have it all, from tangy to sweet, to crunchy and creamy!
No one wants to spend the whole game in the kitchen. Game day recipes need to be FAST and hands off. Bonus points if guests can assemble their food themselves. These BBQ Meatball Subs only require about 10 minutes of hands-on time! The rest is just letting the meatballs and Dr Pepper BBQ Sauce cook away on the stove!
Did I mention these Dr Pepper BBQ Meatballs are made in ONE pot? (Fewer dishes to wash for the win!)
Speaking of this Dr Pepper BBQ Sauce. It’s SO good and only requires ingredients you most likely already have hanging out in your pantry! Ketchup, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, the ever impossible to pronounce (and spell) Worcestershire sauce, and onion + garlic powder! And yes, it’s literally as simple as dumping all those ingredients in a pot along with a can of Dr Pepper and letting it simmer away!
To make these BBQ Meatball Subs extra easy to prep, I grabbed some of my favorite frozen meatballs and sub rolls at my local Stop & Shop along with the Dr Pepper and ripe avocados (they always have ripe avocados at my Stop & Shop, which is SO appreciated!!!).
And for all my frugal friends out there, thanks to Stop & Shop’s great prices, this entire game day recipe cost less than $2 per sub! BOOM!
Once you get all those Dr Pepper BBQ Sauce ingredients boiling away, I just drop in my frozen meatballs and let the sauce reduce to a glaze-like consistency. All in all, it takes about 20 minutes… just don’t forget to stir once in a while to prevent scorching at the bottom of the pot.
Halve those rolls, stuff them with 4 meatballs each, and sprinkle with cheddar cheese. The next step is CRUCIAL: I broil the subs in the oven to get that cheese nice and melted while at the same time toasting the subs a bit so you get some crunch along with the chew of the roll!
I love topping these BBQ Meatball Subs with chopped avocado (hello creamy goodness) and my Easy Pickled Onions, which immediately add a flavor punch to anything they touch! Pro tip: keep a batch of those pickled onions in the fridge at all times. I add them to sandwiches, nachos, tacos, and salads! They keep for WEEKS in the fridge!
- head to Stop & Shop and stock up on all your tailgating needs
- spend less time in the kitchen and more time watching the game (and eating)
- focus on recipes that don’t require utensils but deliver BIG on flavor
- make these BBQ Meatball Subs with Dr Pepper BBQ Sauce!
BBQ Meatball Subs with Dr. Pepper BBQ Sauce
- Prep Time: 10
- Cook Time: 30
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 6 Meatball Subs 1x
- 24 frozen meatballs
- 1 can Dr. Pepper
- 1 cup ketchup
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- Kosher salt
- 6 sub rolls, halved
- 2 cups Shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 avocado, chopped
- Easy Pickled Onions
- In a large skillet or dutch oven, combine ketchup, Dr. Pepper, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, onion powder, and garlic powder. Season generously with Kosher salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then add meatballs and lower heat to maintain a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce has thickened to a glaze-like consistency, about 20 minutes.
- Place four meatballs in each sub roll, top with cheddar cheese, and place on aluminum foil lined baking tray. Broil in oven until cheese is melted and rolls are toasted. Top with chopped avocado and pickled onions. Serve with extra Dr. Pepper BBQ Sauce. Devour immediately!
psst… remember to check out the Tailgating with Dr Pepper Content Hub for more game day inspiration!