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Secrets to good meatballs?

SteveTimko Apr 1, 2007 07:52 AM

I had meatballs I didn't like at what should be an otherwise good Italian restaurant I wondering why I didn't like them. Asking them how they cook them might be a good start, but parking is difficult there and I'm not sure when I'll be getting back. I'm not much of a cook, more of an eater, so I"m wondering what the board members think goes into a good meatball.
The meatballs I didn't like seemed to have two problems. One is that there seemed to be too much of a filler like breadcrumbs or something else. A second is that I think they used too lean of meat. Does this sound like a potential problem to any one else?
I don't think they spiced it properly either.
On the other hand, on Friday at another restaurant I had meatballs with linguine and a French sauce described as Swedish meatballs that were excellent. They weren't heavily spiced, either. But there didn't seem to be a lot of filler.

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  1. Suzie RE: SteveTimko Apr 1, 2007 07:56 AM

    I use half beef and half pork. I also take a few slices of white bread, crusts remove, soak the slices in milk and then add them to the meat mixture.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Suzie
      budlit RE: Suzie Apr 1, 2007 08:46 AM

      I use half beef 1/4 pork, 1/4 veal, freshly grated reggiano, minced garlic and chopped parsley and one egg per lb. of meat. I first soak sourdough bread (crusts removed) torn in pieces in buttermilk for about ten min. mashing the bread into a paste. People say my meatballs are the best!

      1. re: budlit
        mcel215 RE: budlit Apr 1, 2007 09:02 AM

        If you google either Tyler's Ultimate spaghetti and meatballs, or Giada's, you will find their recipes. Both are tender, and delicious. Not alot of filler.

      2. re: Suzie
        tytyvyllus RE: Suzie Apr 4, 2012 05:38 AM

        its the bread soaked in milk that makes the difference (all ingredients equal) rather than bread crumbs.

        1. re: Suzie
          iL Divo RE: Suzie Oct 25, 2012 07:09 PM

          ...gramma's trained loving hands...

        2. h
          hot tamale RE: SteveTimko Apr 1, 2007 09:08 AM

          I use 3 meats like budlit(veal, pork, beef)and avoid overhandling--that makes them tough. Fine Cooking had a good recipe that used maybe 1-1/2 cups fine soft breadcrumbs which also contributes to tenderness. It keeps the meat from being "packy".

          1. chelleyd01 RE: SteveTimko Apr 1, 2007 09:29 AM

            Meatballs are an easy but amazing thing.
            3lbs. ground beef, 70% lean
            1 egg
            1/2 cup seasoned italian dry crumbs
            1/2-3/4 cup FRESH romano, grated
            4 large garlic cloves, crushed
            1 T parsley

            Mix lightly and gently. I use about 2T per meatball and drop them straight into a hot crock of sauce and let them go all day. I skim the grease as necessary. Pre-browning just sucks the moisture right out of them. I never add milk or anything like that. The more freshly grated the romano, the better. The green can....BLECH!!!! Enjoy!

            1. Sam Fujisaka RE: SteveTimko Apr 1, 2007 09:34 AM

              As others have said, it is getting a balance of not-to-lean groundmeat(s), bread in some form, egg, parsely or cilantro, seasoning--and options such as garlic, Worcestershire/fish sauce, chili flakes; and then not over-mixing and not over-compacting. A good browning followed by finishing in the oven does the trick. Ever so slightly rare is my preference.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                ben61820 RE: Sam Fujisaka Apr 1, 2007 10:15 AM

                its interesting becuase my gut tells me to go with all meat and no filler like breadcrumbs/bread, etc. however, mario batali, who is a real cook's cook in my opinion, always says that the best meatballs come about directly because of the use of adequate filler like breadcrumbs. supposedly its that perfect marriage of bread and meat.
                for my money at home i always go 100% meat. i think the pan searing makes a big difference. in other words, no matter your ingredients, you want to pan sear the meatballs in a VERY hot pan with oil on all sides for a quick minute or two to bring about that superflavorful browning and then transfer to the oven, or the pot of simmering/reducing sauce to finish cooking through. this initial step will really bring about another dimension, a new layer, of flavor to your meatballs. nomatter the ingredients.

                1. re: ben61820
                  Ruth Lafler RE: ben61820 Apr 1, 2007 10:42 AM

                  I'm with Mario: the breadcrumbs absorb juice and fat and keep the meatball from drying out and becoming tough. Getting the right balance is important, though -- I think my favorite recipe calls for a couple of tablespoons per pound.

              2. n
                newbatgirl RE: SteveTimko Apr 1, 2007 10:14 AM

                Last time I made meatballs, I had a little bit of fresh parmasan leftover from another recipe so I ground it up with a smaller amount of breadcrumbs than I would normally use and mixed it in. What a difference!

                Hubby noticed the improvement in taste immediately. He also said that the lesser amount of crumbs improved the texture. I think at least one egg is essential if you want the balls to hold their shape.

                Also, I don't fry my meatballs. I broil them for a few minutes, turning once. since some in my family don't like them in sauce, we store them dry in a separate container and add them to sauce as needed.

                3 Replies
                1. re: newbatgirl
                  puppymomma RE: newbatgirl Apr 1, 2007 10:40 AM

                  This is the best meatball recipe I ever made. Unfortunately, I only made it once, because I'm sure it was super fattening, and that's probably the secret to this great meatball! It was from a chef who showed how to make them on MSNBC or NBC. They posted the recipe for free.

                  Sicilian Sweet and sour meatballs
                  1/3 pound ground pork
                  1/3 pound ground beef
                  1/3 pound ground veal
                  1/4 cup pine nuts
                  1/4 cup raisins
                  1/4 cup parmesan
                  1/4 cup bread crumbs
                  3 eggs
                  2 cloves garlic (minced)
                  Salt and pepper to taste
                  Oil to saute the meatballs
                  In a mixing bowl, add all ingredients together and mix until fully combined. Roll small meatballs (about 2 ounces each). Heat a frying pan on medium high heat and saute the meatballs until golden brown. Add the meatballs to the simmering sauce (see recipe below). Cook for 1 hour on a low temperature.
                  Tomato sauce
                  2 tablespoons olive oil
                  1 small onion (diced)
                  3 cloves garlic
                  8 ounces crushed tomatoes (canned is fine)
                  1 teaspoon dry oregano
                  In a sauce pan, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and saute for 2 minutes. Finally, add the tomatoes and dry oregano and simmer.

                  1. re: puppymomma
                    ben61820 RE: puppymomma Apr 1, 2007 11:12 AM

                    yep, you got that browning step in there - all important.

                    1. re: ben61820
                      Xine RE: ben61820 Apr 1, 2007 05:50 PM

                      I stick to beef and pork (about 2/3 beef and 1/3 pork) because I don't think the veal adds much to the flavor. I agree with other posters who have said that bread or breadcrumbs are a good thing as long as you don't overdo it. Likewise, you can't make good meatballs if the meat is too lean. Lastly, and the comment on browning above made me think of it, I think the best meatballs I've eaten were cooked in the drippings left by Italian sausage It added to the flavor, and definitely kept them from sticking to the pan.

                2. k
                  k_d RE: SteveTimko Apr 1, 2007 01:15 PM

                  I agree that it's the balance between meat and bread that makes the difference. I also throw in minced garlic, plus minced carrot, celery, and sometimes onion. Nice flavor! Instead of pan browning, which takes a bit of time and makes a huge greasy mess on my stove, I have started convection baking mine in a quarter-sheet pan at about 375 F. Works great - puts a nice brown on the meatballs and I get the whole batch done at once with no mess.

                  1. c
                    cheesemonger RE: SteveTimko Apr 1, 2007 01:18 PM

                    My meatball tip- let them rest before trying to cook them. It's the key to keeping them from falling apart.

                    1. QueenB RE: SteveTimko Apr 1, 2007 03:12 PM

                      Believe it or not, I add water to my meatballs.

                      I mix together the meat (usually a mix of pork and beef, but I've done it with all beef), egg, bread crumbs, parm. cheese, and spices. When all that is combined, I add warm water and mix until absorbed by crumbs. Then fry in olive oil, drain and throw into sauce. The meatballs are very soft and flavorful. I had never put water in them before, but when I started making this recipe, I never went back.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: QueenB
                        missmasala RE: QueenB Apr 1, 2007 03:57 PM

                        i agree, water is the secret to soft meatballs. I urge everyone to add a little water to their meatball recipe and see.

                        1. re: missmasala
                          heylids RE: missmasala Sep 16, 2011 02:10 PM

                          I too agree, water is the trick, I add some salt to my water and let the meat rest for about an hour. My meatballs are very soft and I don't brown them, I drop them into the sauce and simmer. Since they are soft I don't touch them once I drop them into the sauce until at least 15-20 mins. I will take the pot and gentle swirl it round and round after about 5 mins so that nothing stick, I do this quite a few times. Everyone raves about how tender and moist they are.

                          1. re: heylids
                            jello RE: heylids Nov 9, 2011 06:21 AM

                            heylids....I agree...no frying or baking. Just drop them into the sauce and simmer away!

                            1. re: jello
                              georgethegreat RE: jello Nov 18, 2011 06:04 PM

                              Do they break up in the sauce? That's my worry. Otherwise they would be super soft. I still can't figure out how restaurants make them. I don't they spend too much time making them soft.

                        2. re: QueenB
                          tzanghi RE: QueenB Nov 9, 2011 07:47 AM

                          Instead of water, try a red cooking wine. I use this in my meatballs instead of water. Haven't tried water yet, so I can't testify as to which is better, but it's an alternative.

                        3. NiKoLe1625 RE: SteveTimko Apr 1, 2007 03:18 PM

                          this is how my italian grandmother makes meatballs:

                          ground beef (not too lean)
                          plain breadcrumbs
                          Parmesan cheese

                          i have no clue as to the quanities of each because its one of those old family recipes. HOwever, I do know that she puts a significant amount of Parmesan in them which gives them an incredible flavor!

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: NiKoLe1625
                            lalajane RE: NiKoLe1625 Nov 1, 2012 07:00 AM

                            I am with you - this is the old recipe from my family as well. Also missing any measurements. But if you and I were making meatballs nearly every day, we wouldn't need measurements either!

                            I do also like meatballs made with pork, BUT these all beef are the go to from my childhood. We do fry them a bit first, and then drop into a pot of sauce to simmer. Even if I make pork or mixed meatballs, I always make these straight beef ones.

                            As a kid, everyone would come to one house on New Years Day. There would be a two giant vats of sauce - one with meatballs and one with sausage. Everyone would watch football all day (on multiple tvs set up in the living room) and you would just go make yourself a sausage or meatball sandwich when you felt like it.

                            I also miss the "hard" rolls that we used for those sandwiches. I can't find them anymore. They were called Italian hard rolls, but they weren't as hard as hard rolls are now. Maybe that doesn't make sense, but it is the only way to describe them. I miss those rolls as well as the huge number of bowl games all on NYD. I hate that they stretch it into nearly mid-January.

                            1. re: lalajane
                              Jay F RE: lalajane Nov 1, 2012 07:08 AM

                              <<I also miss the "hard" rolls that we used for those sandwiches. I can't find them anymore.>>

                              Did you grow up in New Jersey? That's the only place I've ever seen hard rolls, at least the ones that look like the second pic down: http://labon.com/index.php?cPath=26_56

                              You're absolutely right. They're the best way to eat a meatball sandwich. Or a pork roll sandwich.

                          2. j
                            Jimmy Buffet RE: SteveTimko Apr 1, 2007 04:05 PM

                            Pork, as was mentioned above. I also add milk.

                            Also, I mix the meatballs by putting my hands in (with gloves, naturally) and squeezing between my fingers until the mixture becomes like a paste.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Jimmy Buffet
                              breadbox RE: Jimmy Buffet Apr 1, 2007 05:49 PM

                              I boil my meatballs in beef broth...and the flavor is good and meaty.

                              1. re: breadbox
                                Sam Fujisaka RE: breadbox Apr 1, 2007 07:40 PM

                                I do that for small meatballs going into Asian soups!

                            2. g
                              georgethegreat RE: SteveTimko Sep 15, 2011 02:41 PM

                              Water. Just mix it in with the bread crumbs, bread, etc. Put in enough water to make it soft. Then sear them and boil with sauce. Soft as can be.

                              1. Aabacus RE: SteveTimko Sep 15, 2011 02:56 PM

                                Meatballs are like so many other things. Whatever you grew up with is perfect. You just stumbled in to a solution that is fundamentally different from what you are used to. However, someone else might think it's awecredible.

                                Personally, I've never made my meatballs the same way twice. However, I always make them small. If I have to slice a meatball it's too frickin' big. Bite sized so there's more room for my buddy Maillard.

                                1. o
                                  oldunc RE: SteveTimko Sep 15, 2011 06:52 PM

                                  The secret to good meatballs is caring, maybe you ought to give that restaurant a future miss. I make, I guess, a pretty normal Italian meatball- pork and beef, usually some parmesan and a bit of Italian tomato paste, lots of herbs. I like shredded, boiled potato for filler. I guess I'm some sort of atavism, or at least anachronism, anyway, I fry my meatballs. If there's a secret, it's to have enough oil to slightly float the meatballs- about 1/4" or a bit more. Otherwise, the first side to hit the pan flattens out and you end up with meat squigetts instead of balls. I'm with Aabacus on meatball size.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: oldunc
                                    Aabacus RE: oldunc Sep 16, 2011 10:41 AM

                                    Excellent use of the word "squigetts"! Loved it. I was wondering if it would be possible to deep fry the meat balls for a couple minutes to give them a crust. You half answered my question (it rocks) but would a full deep fry work even better? I like the idea of using shreded/boiled potato. Why not? Neutral taste for the most part, starchy, good texture. It's a win!

                                    1. re: Aabacus
                                      oldunc RE: Aabacus Sep 16, 2011 11:17 AM

                                      I suspect deep fat frying would be a good way to go, but I'm not set up for it, and don't really feel like messing with big quantities of used oil and such.

                                  2. monavano RE: SteveTimko Sep 15, 2011 06:59 PM

                                    A nice wet panade with good homemade bread crumbs and at least 4% milk, more fat preferably.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: monavano
                                      blue room RE: monavano Sep 16, 2011 11:23 AM

                                      Yes, mashed bread + milk mixed in = tender meatballs.

                                      1. re: blue room
                                        donovt RE: blue room Sep 16, 2011 12:14 PM

                                        I use ricotta cheese, but no bread and my meatballs turn out tender. Does the cheese servevthe same purpose?

                                        1. re: donovt
                                          blue room RE: donovt Sep 16, 2011 01:28 PM

                                          I think what is needed for tenderness is moisture--the bread helps keep the moisture inside the meatball, better than just adding milk/water to the meat mixture. So yes, I suppose the ricotta would do the same thing. I moosh up the bread and milk to a paste, about 1/4 cup milk, 1 slice bread to a pound of meat.

                                    2. p
                                      pamelak52 RE: SteveTimko Sep 16, 2011 11:56 AM

                                      So many great recipes...my husband is Hindu and doesn't eat beef. Every combination below calls for some beef - suggestions for beef-less meatballs? Or is that sacrilege? Maybe a mix of turkey, pork and lamb? has anyone tried such a crazy thing?

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: pamelak52
                                        monavano RE: pamelak52 Sep 16, 2011 12:14 PM

                                        You can absolutely do turkey, and I'd leave it at that, not other meats. Same with lamb, although the taste of the meat, to me, doesn't say Italian meatballs. Lamb is great for meatballs with a Greek or Turkish bent.
                                        If using turkey, try to get ground dark meat in your mix for the fat. Plus, if you use half and half or cream in you panade, you will provide moisture and mouth feel from the fat.
                                        Pork meatballs say "Asian" to me, and they have a great flavor.

                                        1. re: pamelak52
                                          oldunc RE: pamelak52 Sep 16, 2011 06:44 PM

                                          This discussion is mostly about the traditional Italian (or Italian American) meatball, but sure, if it's meat you can make meatballs out of it.

                                          1. re: pamelak52
                                            Frizzle RE: pamelak52 Mar 28, 2012 08:43 PM

                                            Pork meatballs are fantastic. I've done all pork several times with Italian sauces or Spanish sauces. For a more Asian flavour I use loads of grated ginger, garlic and some palm sugar or hoisin sauce in the mix. Fry them and serve with steamed Asian greens.

                                            1. re: Frizzle
                                              pdxgastro RE: Frizzle Mar 29, 2012 12:25 PM

                                              Your Asian meatball sounds like a potsticker without the wrapper. ;o)

                                          2. aching RE: SteveTimko Sep 16, 2011 12:31 PM

                                            My meatball recipe (which I think was from Cook's Illustrated) calls for baking the meatballs in the oven with a small amount of beef broth (just enough to cover the bottom of the pan). The steam from the broth somehow infuses the meatballs as they cook, and the outsides get all brown and crispy - delicious!

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: aching
                                              georgethegreat RE: aching Sep 27, 2011 08:29 PM

                                              Water in the meat balls. Whether you sear them or boil, that's what makes them soft. Kids loved them, tasted like the salty soft balls you get from the restaurant.

                                            2. g
                                              gilintx RE: SteveTimko Sep 28, 2011 12:15 AM

                                              A lot of great tips up-thread. The only thing I would add is that you don't want to overwork your meatballs. Handle them gently, much as you would an egg. Get them in to shape, then leave them alone. Rolling them around and squeezing them will only turn them into rubber balls.

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: gilintx
                                                benila RE: gilintx Feb 7, 2012 12:20 AM

                                                on compaction - I have a recipe that has about 9 ingredients mixed in with the ground meat. So how would I mix all the ingredients together without over compacting/ over handling the mix? Could I mix like crazy, and then use some sort of fork to re-fluff the meat, and then roll/shape the meat balls?

                                                1. re: benila
                                                  bcc RE: benila Feb 7, 2012 02:46 AM

                                                  Do you grind your own meat? Cut the meat into chunks of an appropriate size for the grinder, mix in the other ingredients, refrigerate loosely covered overnight, then grind everything together.

                                                  1. re: benila
                                                    Ditdah RE: benila Feb 7, 2012 04:58 AM

                                                    I wouldn't suggest mixing it all like crazy then "re-fluffing," as I think then it would be overworked. I mix together my other stuff first - bread crumbs, seasonings, parmesan, milk, egg... whatever I'm using (which changes all the time.) You don't have to beat the snot out of it all, but just get it mixed pretty well. (I whisk the egg lightly with a fork before adding to the mix, so that I don't have to mix it as much once I add it to the other ingredients.) Then I add the ground meat, and toss it lightly.

                                                    You can take a while to get it all combined, as long as you're doing so with a light touch and not over working it. Try to just use your fingers, not the palms of your hands - so you're mixing but not compacting. And once the mixture is all combined, then it's even more important not to over-work. You shouldn't pick up some of the mix and roll and squish and roll and squish into the perfect round ball; that's when they get too compacted and rubbery. Just scoop out your meat and lightly roll and shape, then leave it alone.

                                                    It takes a bit of practice, but really - as long as you know you're not supposed to over-work the meat mixture, then you'll be conscious of not doing so and should be ok.

                                                    1. re: benila
                                                      Shrinkrap RE: benila Oct 22, 2012 12:30 AM

                                                      This is totally my conundrum. I use beef, pork, and veal, grated parmesean or some such, eggs, breadcrumbs and milk, fresh parsley and/or basil, worcestershire, salt, and pepper, grated onion,granulated garlic.

                                                      Perhaps this wouldn't be a problem with grated bread, soaked in milk and squeezed, but I never seem to have it. I don't usually have bread. Tonight I was close, as I had a loaf in the freezer, but I just couldn't wait for it to thaw. When I use store bought bread crumbs soaked in evaporated milk, it seizes up within seconds, and I can't mix it without worrying about overworking the mix.

                                                      I'm mostly just mentioning it, as my family seems to like them just fine.

                                                  2. r
                                                    River19 RE: SteveTimko Nov 9, 2011 07:18 AM

                                                    I subscribe to the mixed meats as well, beef, pork veal usually, plus bread crumbs, egg and I use a seasoning mixture I make in the processor. I take fresh onion, parsley, garlic, red pepper flakes and olive oil and make a slurry out of it in the food processor (I don’t like onion or garlic chunks in my balls)……..I then mix that in as my primary “wet” ingredient and to also add a little fat to it from the oil. Grated Romano or parmesan is also included.

                                                    I used to brown them on the stove and then finish in the oven, but I just baked them in the oven last time and they came out much juicier and better overall. I missed a little of the crust I get in the skillet, but the juice wasn’t worth the squeeze for that in my opinion.

                                                    1. natewrites RE: SteveTimko Feb 7, 2012 08:24 AM

                                                      Ironically, Lynn Rosstto (sp?) just addressed this issue this weekend on NPR's, "The Splendid Table."

                                                      She also said that Batali said the one mistake meatball makers make, is thinking it's all about the meat. He said it was all about a variety of things, including the filler.

                                                      Then Lynne went on to share her recipe, which included soaking the bread crumbs in not milk, but red wine, using a little shredded good cheese in the meatballs etc.

                                                      Here's her advice to a caller who wanted to suprise her boyfriend with the perfect meatballs recipe with spaghetti and red sauce. I don't think it's listed as a recipe on her site, becaue it was a caller who requested it on the fly. But you could listen to the delightful podcast and write it down.


                                                      1. s
                                                        sandylc RE: SteveTimko Feb 7, 2012 10:54 AM

                                                        Bread, egg, milk, parmesan. Salt. Herbs and spices - usually oregano, red pepper flakes, and fennel. Meat - beef or beef and pork.

                                                        Cooking method depends upon time and whim. Fried, baked, simmered in the sauce - I like them all!

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: sandylc
                                                          georgethegreat RE: sandylc Feb 7, 2012 08:39 PM

                                                          Fennel is the key. Forgot about that one. That's what makes it taste Italian.

                                                          1. re: georgethegreat
                                                            iL Divo RE: georgethegreat Jul 30, 2012 09:36 PM

                                                            fennel seeds or fennel? not a fennel fan so I'd not put it in.
                                                            just my opinion though, you go ahead if you love it.
                                                            fennel seeds are ok but I far and away prefer anise seeds in Italian dishes.

                                                        2. q
                                                          qbdave RE: SteveTimko Feb 7, 2012 11:23 AM

                                                          1lb ground chuck, 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs, 1/2 cup grated romano, 3 eggs, 2 teaspoons garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: qbdave
                                                            Jett456 RE: qbdave Mar 28, 2012 07:14 PM

                                                            I use stale Italian bread (use the blender) and about 1 cup water to 2 lbs meat. Meatloaf mix is great to use. I put in a cup of Romano, 2 eggs, 3 or 4 cloves of minced garlic, dried parsley or fresh and salt and pepper. The cheese is very salty so you don't need a lot of salt. Broil or bake. I discovered the trick to keep them from falling apart is to roll them with your hands. I used to use an ice cream scoop and some would fall apart. Now I use my hands even though I hate it. Everyone in my large Italian family likes my meatballs and always asks me to make them.

                                                          2. pdxgastro RE: SteveTimko Mar 28, 2012 08:27 PM

                                                            THE PANADE! I just made like 48 meatballs. Cooked half, froze half. That bread and milk mush makes them so light.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: pdxgastro
                                                              Chowbird RE: pdxgastro Oct 23, 2012 01:43 PM

                                                              I agree! Panade is the REAL secret behind good meatballs. (Another is to use dehydrated onions instead of fresh ones; they absorb moisture, and, in a lot of cases, the cooking juices).

                                                            2. c
                                                              calumin RE: SteveTimko Oct 23, 2012 05:36 PM

                                                              I think Michael Chiarello has the best meatball recipe. He adds water to the mix (2 cups for 2 lb meat), and then steams them. It sounds weird, but they come out very soft and luscious.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: calumin
                                                                Jimisi RE: calumin Oct 26, 2012 01:18 PM

                                                                I found that one online and it does sound weird. I wonder why he'd steam them versus just simmering in the sauce. I might have to try it for the novelty.

                                                                Anyway, my best Rx for meatballs is in agreement with others who say panade and simmering are the way to go. I like a soft meatball.

                                                              2. h
                                                                Healthyfoodie121 RE: SteveTimko Oct 26, 2012 07:15 AM

                                                                Making moist meatballs is easy without the addition of soaked bread which in my opinion is too carby and takes too long. Usually per pound and a half of meat i add 1 egg and some Parmesan and shallots or onions. Another way to get them even more moist and give them a wonderful burst of flavor is to add mushrooms to the mix. I do that with a lot of my meatballs. Any mushroom will do really but it depends on what taste your looking for when it comes to the mushroom for flavor. Brown or Cremini, Portabella, Porcini, Baby Bella all of those work quite well flavor wise with any meat and they give a wonderful texture and keep those meatballs super moist. I highly suggest everyone tries this mushroom method as it is super delicious and give a whole new level of flavor to your meatballs. And its much more healthy.

                                                                3 Replies
                                                                1. re: Healthyfoodie121
                                                                  jjjrfoodie RE: Healthyfoodie121 Oct 26, 2012 08:37 AM

                                                                  It takes too long to mix bread and milk?

                                                                  Mushrooms weep too much moisture as they cook for most meatball recipes unless you plan for it and add extra binder.
                                                                  While tasty it's certainly NOT the standard.
                                                                  And in NO way more or less heathy than a bread and milk panade.

                                                                  1. re: Healthyfoodie121
                                                                    Jay F RE: Healthyfoodie121 Oct 26, 2012 04:31 PM

                                                                    >>>Making moist meatballs is easy without the addition of soaked bread which in my opinion is too carby
                                                                    I highly suggest everyone tries this mushroom method as it is super delicious and give a whole new level of flavor to your meatballs. And its much more healthy.<<<

                                                                    I like meatballs (or meatloaf) made with panade, and I highly suggest everyone make meatballs however they like..

                                                                    Is "carby" even a word?

                                                                    1. re: Jay F
                                                                      Healthyfoodie121 RE: Jay F Oct 26, 2012 05:39 PM

                                                                      Wow I didn't think everyone would get so defensive I was just making a suggestion. I'm not here to mess up anyone's day I just gave my opinion and what has worked for me. You don't have to try it . Thought this was a message board for suggestions not for vicious attacks on someone who is trying to help. God damn.

                                                                  2. p
                                                                    phxjcc RE: SteveTimko Oct 26, 2012 03:52 PM

                                                                    Link to my favorite recipe:

                                                                    Soak the breadcrumbs in milk
                                                                    Grate one onion on a box grater and eliminate the onion powder
                                                                    Keep the meat in the fridge until you are ready to mix
                                                                    Mix as little as possible
                                                                    After the mixture is ready, let it rest in the fridge for 1 hr
                                                                    I use an 1/4 cup ice cream scoop to measure the portions
                                                                    Brown in skillet for the crust
                                                                    Drop into simmering sauce for 1/2 hr to reheat

                                                                    Why: If you mix too much, the fat from the meat will dissolve onto your hands and they will be dry and tough.

                                                                    This is one of those easy, but time consuming things to do.

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                                                                    1. todao RE: SteveTimko Oct 26, 2012 04:13 PM

                                                                      The operative word here, IMO, is "meat". So I shy way from fillers. 1 part veal, 1 part pork, 2 parts beef. The beef is ground tenderloin or other rib cut with plenty of marbling (meat balls need fat for flavor. The veal is lean and the pork is ground from the loin. Add some herbs, spices and seasoning of choice along with well beaten egg for a binder, roll them to no larger than two inches in diameter. I sometimes brown them before adding them to the sauce to finish cooking but I also like them simply dropped gently into the simmering sauce to cook.

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                                                                      1. re: todao
                                                                        Puffin3 RE: todao Nov 1, 2012 07:37 AM

                                                                        I agree with using milk added to the bread and mashed up. There is a little trick I use to add a bit more flavor and juiciness. I mash a couple of tablespoons of cold butter and a couple of tablespoons of finely chopped fresh herbs like oregano/thyme/ into the bread/milk. Some of the butter stays inside the meatballs and the herbs are a tasty treat.

                                                                      2. piceno777 RE: SteveTimko Apr 27, 2014 11:53 PM

                                                                        Minced brisket,belly pork,garlic,parsley,salt,pepper,reggiano,breadcrumbs,egg,,,and,,,,,,,,,Leave overnight in the fridge,,,,,

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