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Saucy Paleo 5 Spice BBQ Meatballs

  • Author: Lindsay Cotter
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 16 meatballs 1x


5 Spice BBQ Meatballs with Orange Hoisin Sauce (Paleo Friendly)




  • 1 lb lean ground beef – 85% fat to 95% works best and grass-fed is best source (see notes).
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tsp 5 spice (Asian Spice)
  • 12 tbsp gluten free Tamari soy sauce or coconut aminos
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 34 tbsp arrowroot or tapioca starch (depends on meat – if using higher fat content, you will need more starch)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 1 tbsp sesame seed mixed into the meatballs to mix in last as optional


  • 1/2 cup gluten free hoisin sauce (for paleo version, see notes).
  • 1/31/2 cup naturally sweetened BBQ Sauce or unsweetened tomato sauce (here’s a great lower sugar BBQ sauce)
  • 1/3 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1/4 tsp Black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic or 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Cilantro and Sesame seeds to garnish.

See notes for what to serve it with.


  1. Preheat oven to 450F.
  2. Make sure your meat is cleaned and ginger is finely grated. Then place all meatball ingredients in a large bowl, add the whisked egg last.
  3. Using a hands or a stand mixer, mix all ingredients until combined. Add optional sesame seeds. I find a stand mixer works best to get a good even mix.
  4. Next Roll 5 spice meat mixture into balls (a little larger size than a golf ball)
  5. Place on greased or lined baking sheet.
  6. Bake at 450F for 12-14 minutes, turning halfway, until they are firm and slightly cooked/browned. Once cooked, discard the extra the grease or extra fat from the pan. Place the meatballs on plate in a bowl while you make your sauce.
  7. While the meatballs are baking, feel free to mix up your your Orange Hoisin sauce.
  8. Blend together all ingredients listed in the orange hoisin sauce. Best to use a hand held blender, food processor, or blender. Then pour the sauce in medium pan or deep skillet.
  9. Bring to a soft boil then reduce.
  10. Place your baked meatballs in sauce. Simmer for 10 -15 minutes turning and coating all the meatballs evenly.
  11. Once cooked, remove and Garnish with extra cilantro, chili pepper flakes, optional sesame seeds.
  12. If not serving right away, keep in sealed container in fridge or freeze for later.

I like to serve these as appetizer, with steamed broccoli rice, or cooked rice noodles.


Serve with broccoli rice, cauliflower rice, white rice, rice noodles, or even as an appetizer. 

For paleo hoisin sauce, check out Eat Drink Paleo’s homemade hoisin recipe

For natural gluten free hoisin sauce, we use Wok Mei.

  • If using 85% fat content meat, you will need to add 4 tbsp of starch, versus 3. Adjust if needed.
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Category: Main, Appetizer
  • Cuisine: Asian


  • Serving Size: 4 meatballs
  • Calories: 280
  • Sugar: 8g
  • Sodium: 1120mg
  • Fat: 12g
  • Saturated Fat: 4g
  • Carbohydrates: 16g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 16g
  • Cholesterol: 100mg

Keywords: bbq, 5-spice, meatballs, paleo, gluten free