Meatball Subs with Garlic-White Wine Sauce

Meatball Subs with Garlic-White Wine Sauce - Perfect for tailgating and game-watching parties! Can be kept warm in a slow cooker until ready to serve. |

For me, fall is all about three things: sweaters, apple cider and football tailgating. Sweaters, because I own enough cardigans to put Mr. Rogers to shame, apple cider because it’s delicious and Michigan apples make the best cider in the world, and football tailgating because we take it seriously. 

Gallo Mini Bottles |

Our usual tailgate crew is Jeff and I, Jeff’s parents, some family friends, and whoever else drops by to join the fun. Our setup is two huge motorhomes, four dogs, ten million maize and blue camping chairs, and every tailgating game ever invented. As far as food and drinks, we have all of them. Wine, beer, every kind of liquor and mixer, bottled water, pop, juice, coffee, hot apple cider, cold apple cider, and anything else you could think of. As far as wine goes, Gallo Family Vineyards mini (187mL) bottles are pretty perfect for tailgating. Especially when you’re like us, and you like having lots of options.

We like to have a good variety of food, too. We don’t just do hot dogs. We have hot dogs, polish sausage and brats. And hamburgers. Plus we try to come up with a new food theme each week in honor of whoever our competitor might be. That might mean Irish food, or a week with lots and lots of cheese. While these Meatball Subs with Garlic-White Wine Sauce aren’t in honor of any specific team, I do believe they’re great tailgate food. The meatball mixture can be kept warm in a slow cooker on low until you’re ready to assemble the subs, and they’re certain to keep you full for the entire game.

Meatball Subs with Garlic-White Wine Sauce - Perfect for tailgating and game-watching parties! Can be kept warm in a slow cooker until ready to serve. |

For the garlic-white wine sauce, I used a mini bottle of Gallo Family Vineyards Pinot Grigio. The brightness of the citrus notes in this wine balance out the richness from the cream and the meatballs themselves. Use the Gallo store locator to find a bottle for your own tailgate (and use this coupon for $1 off!). Also, be sure to connect with Gallo Family Vineyards on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and YouTube, and find ideas for pairing wine with your favorite tailgate-perfect BBQ foods here.

Meatball Subs with Garlic-White Wine Sauce - Perfect for tailgating and game-watching parties! Can be kept warm in a slow cooker until ready to serve. |

Meatball Subs with Garlic-White Wine Sauce

Yield: 6 servings

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes


For the Meatballs:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1 cup finely chopped fresh mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Olive oil, for pan frying

For the Garlic-White Wine Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 mini (187mL) bottle Gallo Family Vineyards Pinot Grigio (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more if you like it spicy!)
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon

For Serving:

  • 6 hoagie rolls
  • Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish


  1. Make the Meatballs: In large bowl, lightly beat eggs. Add beef, pork, mushrooms, breadcrumbs, Worcestershire sauce and salt. Stir (or mix with hands) until just combined. Do not overmix. Using hands, gently form into golf ball-sized meatballs (you should have about 24) and place on large plate or baking pan.
  2. Heat large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add a thin coating of olive oil. Working in batches if necessary, sear meatballs 4 to 6 minutes or until browned on all sides (you do NOT want them fully cooked at this point). Do not crowd skillet. Transfer meatballs to plate. Keep skillet on stove.
  3. Make the Garlic-White Wine Sauce: Reduce heat to medium; add butter and garlic to skillet and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Whisk in flour; cook 1 minute, whisking constantly. Add wine; cook 1 minute, whisking constantly. Whisk in cream, red pepper flakes and salt. Cook 4 to 6 minutes or until sauce starts to thicken, stirring frequently.
  4. Add meatballs to sauce; cook 4 to 6 minutes longer or until internal temperature of meatballs reaches 145 degrees F. Stir in lemon juice.
  5. Serve meatball in hoagie rolls (4 meatballs per roll), garnished with parsley and Parmesan cheese.


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GFV-family-logoCompensation was provided by Gallo Family Vineyards via Sunday Supper, LLC. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author, and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Gallo Family Vineyards. Sponsored posts help me pay for the costs associated with this blog (groceries…lots of groceries), and help support me as I pursue a career in recipe development and food photography. 



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  1. Awesome! Such a nice change from the usual marinara meatball subs. Definitely on my list to try.

    • Thanks Renee! What’s funny is that I’ve never actually HAD a traditional meatball sub. Eating this one was actually my first ever. haha.

  2. The Garlic Wine Sauce with the Meatball Subs sounds fantastic. I love meatball subs anyway, but this takes them over the top.

  3. What a great twist on meatball subs! I can’t wait to try your white wine sauce 🙂

  4. Mmm…you sure have awesome tailgaiting food – it must drive the dogs crazy! The garlic-white wine sauce sounds especially tantalizing. Go Blue!

  5. Yum!!  Your meatball sub looks out of this world!  I would love to have this at my tailgating party! 

  6. My boys would love these…who am I kidding, I’d be fighting them off for the any leftovers!!!!

    • I made these right before my husband left on a business trip. You could call it a coincidence. Or maybe I just wanted the leftovers all to myself. Hmmm.

  7. These look amazing! I LOVE meatball subs!

  8. Oooh my yumminess! I want these for dinner tonight! That sauce sounds delicious!

  9. I totally want to come to your tailgates!!

  10. I almost spit up my root beer laughing over that remark about Mr. Rodger’s cardigans. I love the technique of this sauce, making a roux to thicken before deglazing with wine.

  11. These are such a great tailgate food – oh boy! I love that you made a garlic white wine sauce instead of the marinara we tend to see a lot – a fun twist!!!

  12. This right here is football food at its best! 

  13. LOVING this dish Lori! I actually prefer garlic and white sauce over red marinara, I can’t wait to try it!

  14. Your Meatball subs look great! 

  15. Lori, you and I are fall twins. I’m also a cardigan-for-every-day, mandatory trip to the cider mill, crazy football fan girl. So much to love about fall. I’m such a sucker for a meatball sub, and I LOVE that you made white meatballs. Would you hate me forever if we ate these while cheering on Ohio State? 😉

  16. I love these meatball subs! Such a great change from the standard meatball sub.

  17. We love tailgating in the fall, too. If you were to make these meatball subs for pre-game at the stadium, how would you keep the meatballs warm (or reheat them once you were there)? We’re always looking for tips about that!

    • Hi Michelle! So glad you like the recipe. I would make the recipe as directed, and then transfer to a bowl of a slow cooker and refrigerate. When you’re ready to re-heat, put the slow cooker on the *lowest* setting possible. It may take awhile to re-heat, but it will prevent the creamy sauce from breaking as it heats up. Enjoy!

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