The chronic inflammatory response to Mycobacterium generates complex granulomatous lesions that balance containment with destruction of infected tissues. To study the contributing factors from host and pathogen, we developed a model wherein defined mycobacterial components and leukocytes are delivered in a gel, eliciting a localized response that can be retrieved and analysed. We validated the model by comparing responses to the cell wall lipids from Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) to reported activities in other models. BCG lipid-coated beads and bone marrow-derived macrophages (input macrophages) were injected intraperitoneally into BALB/c mice. Input macrophages and recruited peritoneal exudate cells took up fluorescently tagged BCG lipids, and matrix-associated macrophages and neutrophils produced tumor necrosis factor, interleukin-1alpha, and interleukin-6. Leukocyte numbers and cytokine levels were greater in BCG lipid-bearing matrices than matrices containing non-coated or phosphatidylglycerol-coated beads. Leukocytes arrived in successive waves of neutrophils, macrophages and eosinophils, followed by NK and T cells (CD4(+), CD8(+), or gammadelta) at 7 days and B cells within 12 days. BCG lipids also predisposed matrices for adherence and vascularization, enhancing cellular recruitment. We submit that the matrix model presents pertinent features of the murine granulomatous response that will prove to be an adaptable method for study of this complex response.