If you’re hosting a group of friends or family, you’ll want to cook a meal everyone will love. And who could object to gooey cheese, meatballs, marinara sauce, and soft bread? Meatball subs are a classic dish that is a real crowd-pleaser, and this Smoked Meatball Sub recipe amps up the flavor by smoking the meatballs.

Smoked Meatball Sub assembled and ready to serve.

If you’re craving flavorful meatballs smoked to perfection, these homemade Meatball Subs are for you! These subs are perfect for game day or a weekend smoker sesh. These aren’t your basic soggy meatball subs you’d get at a fast food or sub-par Italian sub joint. These are 100% freakin’ delicious, made with fresh ingredients, and bursting with tons of smoky flavor.


This Italian meatball sandwich is an amazing dinner for any group. Each sub sandwich combines the most indulgent smoked meatballs with melted cheese and marinara sauce, served on warm sub rolls. 

It might become one of your favorite meals to serve for any group!

Not only are these subs easy to make, but they are also juicy and packed full of flavor. The recipe takes 45 minutes of prep and 1 hour of cook time to serve 4 people! 

Also, feel free to adjust the meatball recipe to suit your preferences if needed. You can easily add another egg if they are too dry or add more breadcrumbs if they’re too wet. Regardless, make sure to cook them to 165F. I also torched my cheese to melt it, but feel free to broil it if that’s easier for you!

A shot of a sliced meatball with cheese oozing out.

For other Italian dishes, check out Matambre A La Pizza, Steak and Cheesy Pasta and Grilled Steak Crostini.



  • Ground Pork – Provides a fatty flavor and moisture to the meatballs.
  • Ground Beef – Adds a hearty umami flavor to balance out the fattiness of the pork. 
  • Mozzarella cubed into small pieces – These are going into the meatballs for the ultimate melty surprise. 
  • Bread Crumbs – These act as a binder for the meatballs and absorb some of the moisture, preventing them from drying out. 
  • Minced Garlic – This wouldn’t be an Italian dish without garlic, right? The garlic adds a subtle, savory depth that elevates the overall taste of the meatballs.
  • Your favorite BBQ Rub – Imparts smokiness, sweetness, and savory notes to the meatballs. 
  • Fresh Egg – Another binding agent that holds the meatball mixture together.
A shot of the finished dish.


  • Hoagie Rolls – These are the backbone of the subs and hold everything together. 
  • Marinara Sauce – The heart of these meatball subs, providing rich tomato flavor.
  • Mozzarella Cheese  – Mild, creamy flavor and excellent melting properties make it perfect for adding a gooey, cheesy layer to the sandwich. 
  • Italian Seasoning  – Elevates the taste of the meatballs and complements the marinara sauce beautifully.
  • Parmesan Cheese – Adds a sharp and salty kick to the meatball sub.



To make your homemade meatballs, add your bread crumbs, minced garlic, BBQ rub, and egg to a large mixing bowl. Mix together until the consistency of wet sand, then let set for 5 minutes. 

Next, add 1 lb of fresh ground pork and 1 lb of ground beef and mix thoroughly. Remember, you can always add another egg to the meat mixture if the meatballs are too dry or add more bread crumbs if they are too wet. 

Mixing all the meatball ingredients together.

Next, form the ground meat and egg mixture into 3-4 oz meatballs with 1-2 pieces of cubed mozzarella in the middle. 

Pro Tip

Use mozzarella pearls for your Smoked Meatball Sub filling since they’re all similar in size. I took about three of them per meatball. They’re a bit easier to use than torn mozzarella, and it helps to ensure the same amount of cheese in each meatball.

Now, place all the meatballs into the fridge to set for 30 minutes and preheat your smoker for indirect cooking at medium-low heat (about 300F).

Adding the mozzarella pearls into the middle of the meatballs.

For more fun sandwiches, check out my Cheese Stuffed Sausage Sandwich, Smoke Fried Bologna Sandwich, and Chopped Brisket Sandwich.

SMOKING Meatball Sub

Add your meatballs to the smoker, checking with a digital thermometer until their internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F (about 30-45 minutes). 

Once the meatballs are done, place them into a skillet or foil and cover them with marinara sauce. Then, place back on the smoker to cook for another 15 minutes until warmed. When done, pull off and keep warm.

The raw and then smoked meatballs sitting on the smoker.

Slice each sub roll open, and then add your meatballs with some of the marinara sauce. Garnish with Italian seasoning and parmesan cheese. Finally, top your meatball sandwiches with 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese or torn mozzarella and broil until the cheese melts and the rolls are golden brown.

Serve your Smoked Meatball Sub, and enjoy!

Adding the meatballs to a cast iron pan with marinara and then moving them over to the sub once cooked.

Meatball Sub Tips

  • Kick up the heat and sprinkle some red pepper flakes on top of the melted mozzarella cheese.
  • Feel free to make your own homemade marinara sauce instead of using store-bought!
  • The key to juicy meatballs is not to overcook them. Make sure you’re monitoring the internal temperature and pulling the meatballs out of the smoker when they’re done.
  • Swap out the shredded mozzarella for fresh mozzarella, either slice it up or shred it yourself, and sprinkle it on top of your meatball sub sandwiches. 
Assembling the Smoked Meatball Sub.

How to Store Leftovers and Reheat

Store leftover meatballs WITHOUT sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Meatballs also freeze super well, so feel free to portion out individual servings of meatballs and store them in the freezer for up to 2 months. 

​Reheating Instructions:

  1. For refrigerated meatballs, turn the oven to 300F and then pop the meatballs into the oven on a baking sheet for 15 minutes. 
  2. For frozen meatballs, let the meatballs thaw in the fridge overnight. Then, reheat using the instructions above.

If you already put sauce on your meatballs, don’t worry! You can still heat them up. Start by adding however many meatballs you want with the sauce into a saucepan and heating everything up until the internal temperature reaches 165F. 

More Smoked Sandwich Recipes

What to Serve With Meatball Subs

You can absolutely eat these meatball subs by themselves! But if you’re serving a crowd or want to beef up the meal a little more, you can always make a side of French fries, toss up a side salad, or even make some pasta!

One final shot of the completed dish.

Recipe FAQs

What if I don’t have a smoker?

No worries! If you have a grill, you can still make these delicious meatballs. To get that smoky flavor, I also suggest using a smoke box with a handful of your favorite wood chips for a similar effect to the smoker. 

​What variations can I make with this meatball sandwich recipe?

You can use a different kind of meat, like ground turkey, if you want to keep things leaner. If you don’t want the meatballs too lean, you can mix half ground turkey and half another meat to balance things out but still keep them freakin’ delicious! Alternatively, you can make all beef meatballs if you don’t want to use ground pork. 

​Another great way to jazz up this recipe is to swap out the mozzarella cheese for provolone cheese! Provolone is a bit sharper than mozzarella and will provide a nice tangy flavor to the subs.

What are some good toppings for the meatball subs?

Top these smoky subs with some fresh Italian parsley or fresh basil!

Can I make a double batch of these meatballs?

Absolutely! Just double the recipe, and you should be good!

Get The Cookbooks!

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Smoked Meatball Sub assembled and ready to serve.

Smoked Meatball Sub

Smoked Meatball Sub for a delicious and shareable dinner.
Author:Derek Wolf
No ratings yet
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Servings: 4 People



  • 1 lb Ground Pork
  • 1 lb Ground Beef
  • 1 cup Mozzarella cubed into small pieces
  • ½ cup Bread Crumbs
  • 2 tbsp Minced Garlic
  • 2 tbsp your favorite BBQ Rub
  • 1 Fresh Egg


  • Hoagie Rolls
  • 3 cups Marinara Sauce
  • 2 cups Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1 tbsp Italian Seasoning
  • 1 tbsp Parmesan Cheese


  • Add your bread crumbs, minced garlic, bbq rub and egg to a bowl. Mix together until the consistency of wet sand, then let set for 5 minutes.
  • Next add the ground pork and ground beef and mix thoroughly.
  • Add another egg if the meatballs are too dry and more bread crumbs if too wet.
  • Next, form the ground meat into 3-4 oz meatballs with 1-2 pieces of cubed mozzarella in the middle.
  • Place all the meatballs into the fridge to set for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat your smoker for indirect cooking at medium-low heat (about 300F).
  • Add your meatballs to the smoker to cook until 165F (about 30-45 minutes).
  • Once the meatballs are done, place them into a skillet or foil and cover with marinara sauce.
  • Place back on the smoker to cook for another 15 minutes until warmed. When done, pull off and keep warm.
  • Slice your hoagie rolls open and add your meatballs with some sauce.
  • Garnish with Italian seasoning and parmesan cheese.
  • Top with mozzarella cheese and melt the cheese. Serve and enjoy!



Serving: 4g | Calories: 988kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 65g | Fat: 68g | Saturated Fat: 29g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 26g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 267mg | Sodium: 1696mg | Potassium: 1378mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 1638IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 687mg | Iron: 9mg

Derek Wolf

Derek is the driving force behind Over the Fire Cooking. He started cooking with live fire in 2016 and decided to start a social media page so his friends and family could follow the journey. Fast forward to today and Over the Fire Cooking has spread across multiple platforms with millions now following Derek's fire cooking journey. He's a southern fellow who enjoys everything from classic BBQ to Central and South American inspired dishes. Whatever he's cooking up, it's guaranteed to be so freakin' delicious!

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