Massive Pale Ale Mango Meatballs

Massive Meatballs with Mango and Black BBQ Sauce

As a still somewhat newcomer to Columbus, I am learning quickly that this city is obsessed with the Crew. The season is about to start, and at Land-Grant we make a beer called Massive to support the team. I was inspired by the beer, and the team, to make these Massive Meatballs!

I wanted the recipe to be something you could make at a tailgate, but also show the team colors, so I used the beer – Massive Juicy Pale Ale – to make an all black BBQ sauce to smother on some meatballs. I put mango in and on top of the meatballs to complete the black and gold color scheme.

I used several black ingredients to make sure this sauce was truly jet black. First, I blackened the onions with some garlic and added in the beer. Then I added lots of molasses to make sure the sauce was sticky and sweet to balance out the bitterness. Finally, some coconut charcoal ensured that this sauce would be black as midnight! You can buy activated charcoal at most health food stores, or make your own like I did, but you could also skip this ingredient if you want! After it all simmers a bit, blend it up in a blender or with a stick blender.

The secret ingredient of any good meatball is WET BREAD. When my grandmother told me this, I thought it was weird, but actually it’s a classic French technique! The wet bread is called “panade”, and the water steams the meat from the inside while cooking. As the water leaves the bread, the fat from the meat stays and that’s how meatballs stay so juicy! To create this effect in these meatballs, I used store bought breadcrumbs, and a little bit of Massive!  The other ingredients are pork, turkey, parmesan, mango, garlic, salt, egg, and cilantro.

I made these a bit bigger than I normally make meatballs, because they are inspired by a beer called Massive after all! I always broil my meatballs to get them to brown on all sides.

After the meatballs cooked under the broiler, I tossed them in a pan with the blended up sauce. Yum!

A little bit of sesame seed and chunks of mango as a garnish. These meatballs were crazy good and very unique! The sauce was sort of like a bitter leaning teriyaki which is one of my favorite sauces anyways!

And I have to say, I think I got the colors just right.

Massive Black and Gold Meatballs

Pork, turkey, and mango meatballs in a black BBQ sauce, black and gold for the Columbus Crew
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Make the sauce1 hr 30 mins
Total Time2 hrs 10 mins
Course: Appetizer
Keyword: Beer
Servings: 24 meatballs


Black BBQ Sauce

  • 1 large onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 Massive Juicy Pale Ale
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce from a can
  • 1 teaspoon adobo sauce from the chipotle can
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons activated charcoal powder (store bought or homemade)


  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons Massive Juicy Pale Ale
  • 2 cloves garlic grated
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 large ripe mango peeled and diced
  • salt and pepper


  • sesame seeds
  • chopped ripe mango


Activated Coconut Charcoal

  • If you want to make this yourself, buy UNSWEETENED coconut and cook it at 350, stirring every 10 minutes, until it is fully blackened. Otherwise, you can buy it at most health food stores, online, or you could leave it out altogether for a slightly less black hue.


  • Cook the onions in a little olive oil over medium high heat to blacken, about 40 minutes, stirring often.
  • Add in the garlic and cook about 2 minutes. Pour in the beer.
  • Add in the remaining ingredients. Stir and bring to a simmer. Cook about 40 minutes at a low simmer.
  • Pour into a blender, or use a stick blender right in the same pot, to blend the sauce smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed (more sugar if you like it sweeter, more salt or soy sauce if it needs it, hot sauce if you like) Set aside until ready to use.

Make the meatballs

  • Mix all the meatball ingredients in a large bowl. Stir to combine really well. Use your hands to really make sure it is well mixed.
  • Preheat broiler to high. Form large meatballs and place them on a sheet pan. Broil about 6-7 minutes to brown on top. Flip and repeat until cooked through.

Put it together.

  • Pour the sauce into a large frying pan. The sauce should be fairly thick. Turn the heat to medium.
  • Add in the cooked meatballs and allow them to cook in the sauce for a few minutes.
  • Pour the meatballs onto a serving dish and top with the sesame seeds and mango chunks. Serve with toothpicks.

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