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Meatballs - Hors d'Oeuvres - "Juicy"

Anyone have a sure-fire recipe for 'toothpick' meatballs that will definitely be "juicy?"

I'd prefer the juiciness not be a result of a lot of fat.

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  1. Use a panade of bread and buttermilk (buttermilk is lowfat). Use only the yolk of an egg (egg whites make meatballs gummier; you need the lecithin in the yolks to help emulsify and retain the liquids in the meatball). And don't try to use meat that is too lean. Brown the meatballs to maximize flavor.

    1. Don't go lower than 20% fat.
      Sorry, but that's the bottom line.
      Of course a panade, wet panade, helps.

      1. Adding a little grated onion can increase the juiciness, and it has the bonus of adding flavor.

        1 Reply
        1. re: linguafood

          There is never anything less than a LOT of onion in my meatballs, which are always tender and moist. I also always use a panade, and most often also mushrooms, grated carrot and bell pepper. By volume, there's probably as much filler as meat, which is what makes them delectable.

        2. A sauteed mirepoix helps to keep things moist, too.

          1. Good stuff so far - tks. Am wondering if much experience with mixing pork and beef - pork fat IMO is tastier and easier to work with - and the pork meat itself works with the beef - course won''t be Kosher :-)

            1 Reply
            1. re: jounipesonen

              Well at least 1/3 should be pork OR (even better) pork sausage (especially if you use lean beef, bison, venison, or turkey/chicken - generally, if one must use poultry, use dark meat only, as dark meat tolerates being cooked well). I am more of a fan of veal in meatloaf than in meatballs, where the collagen can more easily just leach out. (In a meatloaf, beef provides depth of flavor, pork provides sweetness, and veal provides collagen which makes it succulent; a meatball's comparatively high surface-to-volume ratio means it leaches more than a meatloaf).