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meatball problems! (seriously)

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I need to make perfect meatballs for a crowd this week but everytime I make them, something always goes wrong
1. too hard
2. falls apart, especially when I pan fry them, even if I bake then put in sauce- same problem
3. dry, not enough flavor, not moist
I love sbarros meatballs and the combination of pork and beef (not a fan of lamb), any ideas?
I've tried so many different recipes, tried to to overwork the meat, tried fresh bread and boxed bread crumbs, wrong type of meat (80/20,95/5%)?
Could it be too many bread crumbs? maybe egg yolks instead of eggs? Add an extra egg? buttermilk?
What am I doing wrong?! I love meatballs!

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  1. Can you post the recipe? Probably the ratio of a certain ingredient is off.
    Also, don't try to mix them too much---that will lead them to be hard and tough.

    I use all beef, usually 85/15. To 1.5 lb beef, I use 2 large eggs, a handful of dry breadcrumbs (approx 1/2 cup, maybe a little more), about 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese and a little dry basil and parsley.

    1. There are countless meatball problem threads, not to mention the currently active ones like the September dish of the month: http://www.chow.com/search?query=meat...

      You are probably using too many breadcrumbs and not enough egg. Bread should be fresh, and wet (panade).

      1. I don't brown mine anymore, I cook them in the sauce. Solved all those problems for me.

        I do set aside a bit of meat and brown it when I'm making the sauce, for the browned meat flavour.

        1. Last few times I've made meatballs (or meatloaf) have ripped up a few slices of bread and soaked with milk instead of dry bread crumbs. I like my meatballs SMALL (one bite) and "soft"... soaked bread seems to help. Once browned, into sauce for a nice long simmer. Don't like "bare" meatballs with sauce just topping them.

          1. CI makes a meatball of pork and beef to which they add the standard milk and bread etc along with some gelatin for texture and "hold." Will be trying it myself on Tuesday.

            1. These are great .. I use currants instead of raisins but you can just eliminate that and the pinenuts if you prefer a plainer meatball. I also add more eggs and chopped fresh basil. I pan fry mine, not bake, but some people prefer to bake.