HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
What's your latest food quest? Get great advice

Battle of the Balls Meatball Competitiion - Judging Criteria?

Vivalish Jan 18, 2012 08:51 AM

Three of my friends are arguing that they make the best meatball and want to have a Battle of the Balls competition! I have been anointed as one of the judges.

I'm trying to think of a good system for judging. Taste, uniqueness, healthiness, appearance, juiciness? Should one weigh more than the other?

How would you judge?

  1. c
    cgarner Jan 19, 2012 11:15 AM

    Okay, call me crazy, but how can you judge different kinds of meatballs against each other?

    I LOVE well made Italian meatballs, just as equally as I love Vietnamese Xiu Mai. I’d never be able to compare them, though because they are SO different, yet (when properly made) equally as delicious!
    It’s the ol’ apples to oranges analogy here, isn’t it?

    1. f
      FoodPopulist Jan 18, 2012 03:11 PM

      You must eat four meatballs. One from each of your friends. The fourth is your choice. Whichever one you choose is the winner.

      It doesn't have to be more complicated than that.

      1. j
        joonjoon Jan 18, 2012 02:45 PM

        I think you're making it too complicated. My friends and I do competitions like this all the time and in my experience adding other categories only serves to complicate the judging...Unless you have a really good reason to judge in multiple categories, I think it's best to just go by taste.

        1. w
          wyogal Jan 18, 2012 09:29 AM

          If you think taste is most important then...
          Taste - 40
          Texture - 20
          Creativity - 20
          Appearance -20
          With an extra 10 points for sauce pairing.
          Are you limiting it to type? Like Italian, Swedish, Asian; or anything goes?
          I like the word "creative" better than "unique" as creative can be unique, and unique can be, well, just bad. ha!
          Also, "juiciness" level can depend on the type of meatball, so think that "texture" covers that aspect.
          I like dealing with round numbers, like a 100 pt. scale, with the extra points going for the one that goes the extra yard.

          8 Replies
          1. re: wyogal
            Vivalish Jan 18, 2012 10:03 AM

            Thanks so much for your suggestion!

            @melpy, agreed about the juiciness
            @wyogal I was thinking of opening it up to all types. And I think texture does cover juiciness.

            1. re: Vivalish
              Perilagu Khan Jan 18, 2012 10:14 AM

              Are veg and tofu balls allowed? Not that I'd recommend it, mark you.

              1. re: Vivalish
                Harters Jan 18, 2012 10:20 AM

                Maybe not, about equating texture to juiciness. Some types of meatballs, say Italian, have an open texture which makes juiciness easier. Other types, say Scandanavian or British, tend to be much denser which, IMO, concentrates the flavour. Judges will have to decide which texture they prefer

                1. re: Harters
                  wyogal Jan 18, 2012 10:23 AM

                  exactly. Texture would be as in appropriate to the specific meatball. Scores higher if the Italian style has the right texture for Italian, and the Swedish has the right texture for Swedish. It's all subjective anyway, but I thought that "texture" was more adaptable to type than "juiciness." I didn't equate them. That's why I chose the word texture over juiciness.

                  1. re: wyogal
                    Harters Jan 18, 2012 11:03 AM

                    Indeed. I rather like your scoring suggestion, although I'm not sure about the "creativity". Might that mean that points would be scored for a creative Swedish ball but nothing for a traditional? Could be problematical.

                    1. re: Harters
                      wyogal Jan 18, 2012 01:52 PM

                      yeah. not sure that it should even be included. Because a trad meatball can be very good.
                      If I got "creative" with my Swedish meatballs, the family would revolt! ha!

                      1. re: wyogal
                        Harters Jan 18, 2012 02:18 PM

                        Let's jointly suggest dropping the creativity and subbing in the sauce?

                        Although this only works if all meatballs, of whichever national origin, have a sauce or gravy? I'd like to hope that they do. Even the canape sized ones I've been known to make have a ketchup based dipping sauce with them.

                        1. re: Harters
                          wyogal Jan 18, 2012 02:52 PM


            2. melpy Jan 18, 2012 09:28 AM

              I don't think juiciness should be part of it. As kids we used to steal the balls right out if the bowl after frying. Unless they all plan to soak em in sauce it doesn't make sense plus if you are judging the ball everyone better use the same sauce or it is completely unfair.

              1. Perilagu Khan Jan 18, 2012 09:04 AM

                Great idea, but healthiness should be a concern only to the extent that it is regarded as a demerit. ;)

                2 Replies
                1. re: Perilagu Khan
                  Vivalish Jan 18, 2012 09:20 AM

                  I agree! Taking healthiness out of the categories!

                  1. re: Vivalish
                    wyogal Jan 18, 2012 09:22 AM

                    (Will these treads be combined?)

                Show Hidden Posts