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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.