Looking for a meatball recipe

laceyvailAugust 11, 2013

I'd like to find a meatball recipe that uses half beef, half pork and that freezes well. Italian style would be great. I'm sure one of you great cooks can help.


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I have two meatball recipes that I really like. They both freeze well. You can freeze the meatballs in sauce, or I prefer to make the meatballs up to the browning stage and then freeze the extra meatballs without sauce. When I'm ready to use the frozen meatballs I make another sauce to simmer them in.

One made from just Pork -

Pork Meatballs with Garlic and Fresh Basil

Edited July/2012
1 1/2 pounds ground pork
2 cloves garlic, mashed
1/2 cup fresh basil
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
2 eggs
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese freshly cracked black pepper
More breadcrumbs (Optional)


olive oil
small onion
2 to 3 cloves of garlic
2 cans of tomatoes
high quality dried basil
salt and pepper
1/2 cup fresh chopped basil
1/2 cup Chicken or Beef Broth (optional)

For the Meatballs

Put the meat in a bowl. Tip: Using a microplane grate the garlic. This is the quickest and easiest way to make a garlic paste. Add the Parmesan cheese and the salt and pepper. Pulse the basil with the bread crumbs and add to the bowl. Add the eggs and mix well. Tip: To check for seasoning by frying a small piece.

Form into meatballs and brown in olive oil. Add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer about one hour. NOTE: I like to roll the meatballs in fresh made breadcrumbs and fry before simmering in the sauce.

For the Sauce

Saute chopped onion in olive oil until translucent. Add the minced garlic and saute for 30 to 60 seconds. Do not let the garlic brown.

Add the tomatoes, dried basil, salt and pepper and bring to a simmer.(add broth if using) Add the browned meatballs, cover and continue to simmer for about an hour or until the meatballs are tender. NOTE: If you like your sauce thick, remove lid and let the sauce simmer for an additional 10 or 15 minutes.

Just before serving add fresh chopped basil.

Mamma's Meatballs which are made from beef , pork and veal. Although you can adjust and make with just beef and pork.

Mama's Meatballs and Tomato Sauce

Serves 4 to 6

My own Sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 onion, chopped
2 or 3 cloves of garlic minced
2 cans of quality tomatoes
Season with basil, salt and pepper.

Rocco's Mama's Meatballs

1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 large sweet onion, rough chopped
4 cloves garlic, rough chopped
1/2 bunch parsley, chopped
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 pound ground veal
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
5 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
2 to 3 pinches chili flakes
2 to 3 pinches salt
Olive oil, to coat hands and for browning meatballs
Cooked spaghetti (optional)
. Make the sauce: Heat oil in a large saucepan. When oil is hot, sauté
onions until translucent.Add the garlic and the tomatoes. Simmer. when
the meatballs have been browned add them to the sauce and simmer for at
least one hour.

Make the meatballs: Place the chicken stock, onion, garlic and parsley
in a blender and purée. Set aside.

Place the meat, breadcrumbs, eggs, grated cheese, chili flakes and salt
in a large bowl. Add the puréed chicken-stock mix. Using your hands,
gently but thoroughly combine all ingredients, being careful not to
overmix the meat.

Coat your hands with a little olive oil and form the meatballs.

Pour oil in a large skillet to a depth of about 1/2 inch and place over
medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, brown the meatballs, turning
once. Add as much of the tomato sauce as you desire, and bring to a
simmer. Cook until meatballs are done. Serve over spaghetti, if desired

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 10:54AM
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This recipe does not have pork in it, however I do not see why you could not put it in. My family loves this recipe...I have used this recipe for 40 years, my mother came home from a work Christmas party where the hostess had served them as an appetizer. I take them to a family reunion every year and whatever amount I take I bring none home.

2 cups soft bread crumbs (3 slices of bread)
1/2 cup milk
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt (I use 1/4 tsp garlic powder
plus 1/4 tsp salt)
1/4 tsp onion powder
1 lb. ground beef (I use ground chuck)
1 5oz can waterchestnuts (drained and finely chopped)

Mix well, form meat mixture into 1 inch size balls (or size
of large marbles) place on rack on cookie sheet.
Bake in oven 20 - 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Makes about 5 dozen small meat balls. I always make a double
batch if not a triple. Coat with Bar-B-Q sauce or serve with spaghetti and sauce. Freezes well.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 11:22AM
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These are also baked. An old forum recipe.

Marilyn's Meatballs

3/4 + 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/3 cup heavy cream (or milk)
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground veal or pork
1 onion; minced
2 cloves garlic: crushed or minced
1 teaspoon each; oregano, basil, parsley
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt (1/2 teaspoon table salt)
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/3 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
2 egg yolks

Combine 3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs with milk; let set for five minutes. Stir together meats, onion, garlic, oregano, basil, parsley, salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese, egg yolks and bread soaked in milk. Shape into 1/4-cup balls and roll in remaining bread crumbs. Place a rack inside a baking dish sprayed with Pam. Bake 30 to 35 minutes at 425 degrees, until they reach an internal temperature of 160. Do not over bake. Makes 20 meatballs. These are very tender and juicy.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 1:27PM
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Like Ann T, I make Mamma's Meatballs, but I leave out the veal and just use a mix of pork and beef, occasionally I'll add chicken if I have it.

I bake the meatballs instead of frying them, and usually make large batches as they freeze well.

They make a very tender meatball and my girls love them.


    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 7:50PM
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Ann T. Are chili flakes something I will find in the spice aisle or is it just crushed red pepper?

Annie: What temperature do you bake the meatballs and for how long?

They sound really good and I'm wanting to do some meals for the freezer.


    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 1:46AM
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Thanks for the recipes. one question, re Marilyn's Meatballs: Does 3/4 + 1 cup mean 1 3/4 cups?

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 5:40AM
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Yes, 3/4 for the panade and 1 for rolling them in.

I want meatballs for breakfast!!!

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 7:53AM
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Laceyvail, Yes it does. In that recipe you use 3/4 cup of bread crumbs in the meat mixture and then the other cup is used to roll the meatballs in before frying or baking.

Liz, yes, chili flakes and crushed red pepper are the same thing.

Regardless of whether meatballs are browned by frying or baking, the secret to a tender, delicious meatball is simmering the browned meatballs in the sauce for at least one hour. It not only tenderizes the meatball but also adds flavour to the sauce. Otherwise the fried/baked meatballs have the texture of a burger.


    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 8:00AM
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I have made both Mama R's and Marilyn's meatballs and my vote goes to Marilyn! Gosh, I miss her!

Why? I do not like the texture of Mama's. Just to loose and "gushy" for us. I like a firmer texture and I don't worry that they will start to break up if left to simmer in a sauce/gravy for a while.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 10:41AM
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Question for other meatball bakers: what rack do you use? The grid has to be fairly small to hold the meatballs,and I would really like a nonstick one. But I have never seen one that says it's safe in the oven. They all just say "cooling rack."

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 11:47AM
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Mini muffin pans work well. Learned that from Alton Brown.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 12:04PM
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I've got a couple from WS that I use. They are "cooling racks" but I use them anyway sprayed w/Pam and have never had a problem. I use them for meatballs, to keep cutlets warm while I make sauce/gravy, etc. They are not non-stick though - my non-stick one has a black coating on it I'm concerned wouldn't do well in the oven especially at enough heat for meatballs. I use it for cooling sticky buns or other such messy things.


    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 12:07PM
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FOAS, I use a rack so fat and excess liquid can drain out.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 12:37PM
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And I use mini muffin pans for the same reason ;-)

The meatballs are larger than the muffins would be, so they sit on top, suspended, and (most of) the fat drips into the pan. The meatballs are also held nicely in place. It's just an idea, and one that has worked well for me.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 12:47PM
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Cloudy, I've only baked meatballs a couple of times, but I never baked them on a rack. Just on parchment paper.


    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 12:56PM
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FOAS , that is brilliant!

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 1:12PM
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Yep, it works. I just got an email from someone who uses a broiler pan - sounds like another good solution that allows the fat to drip away.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 2:23PM
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Love the idea of the mini muffin cups. I've only used pretty lean ground beef and have decided that Mom's method of adding some moisture like tomato sauce during the baking process has ensured a more moist result.

This post was edited by compumom on Mon, Aug 12, 13 at 15:28

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 3:19PM
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But then you have to wash muffin pans with baked-on grease.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 5:24PM
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Liz, I bake at 350F until they are done, maybe 20 minutes but it will depend on the size of your meatball. I make mine small, maybe a two bite meatball. I bake them because I can get a couple hundred meatballs on sheet pans and bake them all at once, get it over with, and then freeze them so they are ready for use.

I don't use a rack, just line 'em up on a baking sheet with sides, I use my own grassfed beef and there just isn't enough fat there to worry about it.

I make Mamma's exactly for the reason Peppi doesn't, because of the texture. I don't like the rubbery ground meat texture of commercial meatballs or the fatty/greasy mouth feel. I've never tried Marilyn's recipe so I can't conjecture and I think much has to do with the quality of the meat used. Cheap/greasy meat will make a cheap/greasy meatball, you can't get a quality finished product without good quality ingredients.

Truthfully, though, I'm not crazy for meatballs, meatloaf or anything else with ground meat, so I make what my family likes.

The girls really like the Mamma's meatballs because the onions go into the blender and there are no chunks of onion. That technique would work with nearly any recipe, I think.


    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 10:58PM
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Annie, that about sums up my feelings too. Don't like greasy and I'm not a huge fan of meatloaf either. Although my DH & DS love meatloaf so do I make it now and again for them to enjoy!

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 11:28PM
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Just want to say I made Mamma's Meatballs for the first time last night and they were awesome! We loved the texture. I wasn't sure about the 5 eggs but followed the recipe except for cutting half the parsley and adding a good sized bunch of our home grown basil. They were light, fluffy and very moist. Oh, forgot...I did change the meat mixture to just pork and beef since we don't eat veal.

I thought I made them small but I didn't get anywhere near 200 meatballs...more like 50. But, that's okay - there's just two of us and we've got enough in the freezer to last the winter. Very good!


    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 6:27PM
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I don't make them that often. Maybe once a year. Have a meal in sauce then freeze the rest.
I like to toss a few in soups when i think of it. I bake mine and never greasy. I use 1/2 sheet pans just like Annie's. My recipe is not so different but i do add a bit of grainy mustard, soy, and a splash of worcestershire. (and a bit of yogurt)

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 7:23PM
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