The basics of meatball making
Choosing the right meat is the first step. If your meat is very lean, the meatballs will not be very tender as they lack fat. We like to use an 80% lean (20% fat) Wagyu Ground Beef. You can mix beef and ground pork, or beef and ground turkey or chicken. Don’t use too much poultry because we need that good fat in the meatballs. The leaner your meat, the more you will have to be careful not to overcook the meatballs into toughness. You can mix in some ground sirloin if you’re feeling decadent!
What gets added to the meat
Meatballs are not just meat, and here is where things get personal. Some people swear by putting eggs into the mixture, and some say only breadcrumbs will do. Some people add Italian seasoning, and some add fresh onions as well. We think all of these are great ideas, so we’re going to do them all in our perfect meatball recipe. We like to soak breadcrumbs in milk for a bit, making it an excellent binder and adding moisture. Eggs increase the richness and flavor. You could use dried Italian seasoning, but we like to use fresh parsley, onion, and garlic with salt and pepper instead. Grate your fresh onion to make sure it’s small enough.
Mixing and cooking
Just like making homemade biscuits, it’s important not to overwork the meat as you mix it. We recommend using your hands as it’s easier to ensure even mixing that way. Mix it until it’s just barely combined.
How you’re going to cook the meatballs depends on how you’re serving them. If you’re making them for meatball subs or freezing them for later use, you’ll want to roast them in your oven. This will give the outside of the meatball that brown, slightly crispy texture. You can also cook them in the oven if you’re preparing a pasta dish, but simmering them in the sauce will add flavor to your sauce and keep the meatball incredibly tender.
The recipe for perfect meatballs
Without further ado, here’s exactly what you’ll need:
- 1 egg
- ½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ cup Italian breadcrumbs
- ½ cup whole milk
- ¼ cup minced parsley
- 1 clove minced garlic
- ½ cup grated onion
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
- 1 pound of your chosen ground meat or a mixture
Prep the breadcrumbs – Stir the milk and breadcrumbs together in a small bowl and set aside until needed.
Make the meat mixture – Whisk your egg in a large bowl, then add the salt, pepper, parmesan cheese, and minced parsley. Whisk to combine. Then, add the ground meat and mix thoroughly. Next, add the onion, garlic, and the breadcrumb and milk mixture. Once all ingredients are in the bowl, mix with your hands until loosely combined. Be sure not to overwork the mixture.
Form the meatballs – Roll about two tablespoons of the mixture into individual balls. Each should be about the size of a golf ball. Place the meatballs on a baking sheet with enough space that they aren’t touching. Tip - make sure your baking sheet has a raised edge, so the fat doesn’t run into the bottom of your oven!
If roasting – Place the baking sheet in a 400° oven for 25 minutes. The meatballs should be browned and cooked to 165°.
If simmering in a sauce – Place meatballs gently into the pot when your sauce begins to simmer. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Sample and serve – Bon Appétit!
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