Recipe by Matt Compton

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Matt Compton’s favorite recipe for meatballs combines lean elk meat with fattier pork sausage and is finished with a sweet and spicy sauce of wine-grape jelly and chili sauce. They make a great appetizer paired with Compton Pinot Noir. 

Yields 6 servings (as an appetizer).


1 pound ground elk or venison 

½ pound ground pork sausage

½ cup breadcrumbs

½ cup onion, grated

¼ cup milk

1 egg

1 tablespoon  parsley, finely chopped 

½ teaspoon sage, minced

1½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

¼ cup shortening (lard, butter, duck fat, etc.)

1 12-ounce bottle chili sauce (not the sweet kind)

1 10-ounce jar grape jelly (preferably Pinot Noir or Riesling) 

* Dashes of hot sauce, to taste


In a large bowl, combine meat, breadcrumbs, onion, milk, egg, spices and Worcestershire sauce. 

Form the mixture into 1-inch balls. 

In a large skillet, brown the meatballs in your chosen fat

Transfer meatballs to a plate; and remove fat from the skillet.

Combine chili sauce, grape jelly, and hot sauce (if desired). Add this mixture to the skillet along with the meatballs. Simmer for 30 minutes.

Serve your meatballs plated with toothpicks for easy finger food or place the meatballs and sauce in a slow cooker on the warm setting for buffet-style grazing.