I am in the process of making moose meatballs for my class on 'States Day' we chose Maine(I'm a teacher.) The recipe I have, see below, is not bad. But the meatballs are very dry. I fugure I can add some fat to the recipe, but how much? Help Chowhounds youre my only hope.
Honey-Garlic Moose Meatballs
1/4 cup minced garlic
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons garlic powder
3 tablespoons onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder (optional)
3 pounds ground moose
2 tablespoons canola oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Stir together the minced garlic, soy sauce, and honey together in a small saucepan. Stir in garlic powder, onion powder, and chili powder. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low and gently simmer for 15 minutes, then set aside.
While the sauce is simmering, roll the ground moose into meatballs in 2 tablespoon portions. Heat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the meatballs in batches until well browned, and cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes; drain well.
Place the drained meatballs into a baking dish. Pour on the sauce, and stir until well coated. Bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes so the meatballs absorb some of the sauce.
I have never cooked moose, but I make venison meatballs all the time using Marcella Hazan's recipe, and they always come out very well, not dry at all. It involves soaking bread in hot milk, and adding this, as well as seasonings, parmesan, egg, and parsley to the meat, then dredging in breadcrumbs and frying. You definitely need liquid and something to soak it up (like bread) to lighten the meat and moisten it. Also she stresses to handle the mixture very lightly so as not to compact the meatballs -- this is important because compacted meatballs will be hard and dense. Her recipe is around on the web, give it a try.
Moose is lean like deer, which I made meatballs out of. I added ground beef to my mixture. You need some fat in the meatballs by way of ground beef, sausage, bacon or beef fat. You can also use veggies that give off water for moisture like onions, celery, shredded squash or zucchini, spinach. IMO, even if you use the veggies, you still need some fat mixed into the meat.
Lean meat like moose will dry up when overcooked. I'd cook the meatballs in the sauce.
Have you made these before? The absence of bread crumbs. liquid, egg, and diced vegetables leads me to perceive them as dense and dry. Plus, you are cooking the meat fully and then subjecting it to 20 minutes longer in the oven.....sounds like hockey-puck territory to me. I'd scrap that recipe entirely and use a more standard meatball recipe - one that includes fresh bread soaked in milk (a panade), onions, garlic, and egg, at the very least. I always put drained (mayo-based)coleslaw in my meatloaf and meatballs because it melds into the meat, making them more tender, moist, and sweet. Nobody but nobody would know there's cabbage in them. Either cook them on the stove or in the oven - not both. The bread and egg will be enough of a binder for the lean meat that you will not need to add extra fat. If you want to keep the sauce in the original recipe, just pour it hot over the meatballs when they are almost cooked. Turn off the heat and let the meatballs sit in the sauce until the dish is cool enough to eat.