Crew’s Mess: Bacon-wrapped BBQ Onion Bombs

Aug 11, 2019 by Capt. John Wampler

Crew’s Mess: by Capt. John Wampler

Ahh, summer. The smell of fresh-cut grass and two-cycle lawn mowers. The distant crack of a baseball bat. An ice cream truck approaching, with the screams of delighted children in chase. And then you catch a whiff of your neighbor’s barbecue grill, and you ask your South Florida self, “Who the heck barbecues in this heat?”

Yep, there are two things that are certain signs of August in South Florida: hurricanes on the horizon, and temps of 94 degrees F with a heat index of 107 F. Fear not. This gastronomical grenade is simple to create in the air-conditioned comfort of your galley and is a treat for any dockside or poolside party.


  • 5 medium white onions
  • 1 1/2 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/3 cup onions, diced
  • 1/3 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon green jalapeno sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon. soy sauce 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 pack of bacon (the wider the better)
  • 1 bottle of barbecue sauce
  • Toothpicks  


  • To start making these tasty barbecue meatball onion bombs, preheat your oven to 425 F. 
  • Cut off the tops and bottoms of the onions and remove the exterior skin. Cut the onion in half. Starting at the middle, carefully peel the onion from the inside-out, leaving the last two outside layers for a shell. Set the onion layers aside. 
  • Mix the ground beef, diced onion, parsley, brown sugar, condiments and bread crumbs in a large mixing bowl by hand. 
  • Place a handful of the meatloaf mixture inside two of the onion shells and join together to make an onion-meatball. 
  • Wrap the onion meatballs in bacon, using three slices per ball. Secure the bacon with toothpicks to keep it from unraveling during cooking. 
  • Bake in a dish or cast iron skillet at 425 F for 40 minutes, or until the interior temperature reaches 165 F. 
  • Baste your balls in barbecue sauce and bake for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and let sit at least 5 minutes before service. 
  • Enjoy.

Capt. John Wampler ( has worked on yachts for more than 30 years. His recipes are casual enough for anyone to prepare. Comments are welcome below.