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What is the secret to tender meatballs?

asked by Pepperjam over 5 years ago
12 answers 26932 views
48dd002c 4c45 4b84 8006 ac8614d467cd  dsc00859 2

Lisanne is a trusted home cook.

added over 5 years ago

Egg yolks (reserve the whites for another use).

0dcfb05c 8a90 480f 8cf7 cbc33e9a6b5c  me
added over 5 years ago

Not handling them too much! I use one egg per two pounds of meat (a half pound of pork, 1 1/2 pounds chuck) and just enough bread crumbs to hold them together. Slide them under the broiler to brown them briefly and do most of the cooking in the sauce ....

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added over 5 years ago

I agree with the addition of milk & using
different ground meats. A good combination is 1/2 beef, 1/4 veal & 1/4 pork. Also using buttermilk instead of regular milk to soak a
small amount of bread crumbs. But a very
Important part of the technique is NOT compressing the meatballs when forming --they need a gentle touch.

164ae6cf b233 45ae a461 8d7543fae705  melissa mitchell
added over 5 years ago

We made these once --

They contained all of the elements outlined above, including instructions not to compress them or handle the meat too much. They were delicious, but a little too fluffy for our liking -- we tend to like a pretty dense meatball (I know, I know, sacreligious to many!).

3162c11b e070 4795 95d1 fd9492a6b582  lulusleep
added over 5 years ago

I add a little water....also, finely chopped/grated onion mixed in...

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added over 5 years ago

Eggs, Yogurt, and any type of moisture holding grain or grin derivative (bread, breadcrumbs, ritz crackers, Cooked rice, etc (i really like to use cooked Quinoa as id adds more healthy protein, whole grain goodness, and a clean nutty flavor that makes my lamb meatballs awesome. Thing about flavor building, adding grains/bread that are cooked and toasted, which allow either more moisture themselves (cooked quinoa) or will absorb and retain added milk, yogurt, more than just bread (toasted bread, breadcrumbs)

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added over 5 years ago

well. this seems funny but, in my italian family instead of using dry breadcrumbs soaked in milk, we use fresh breadcrumbs made from hamburger buns...the lighter and airier the better (like a wonder bun). just whir them up in the food processor. couldn't be easier. also - don't overmix the meat. and lastly - we never fry them. just bake on a cookie sheet for 15 minutes or so, then finish in the sauce. they literally melt in your mouth every time. i promise!

1097a5b5 1775 4eec a8ea 7421137b65dc  image 2 apples claire sullivan 2

amysarah is a trusted home cook.

added over 5 years ago

I recently made meatballs by baking them in the oven, before finishing in the sauce; normally, I brown them in a skillet. The ones done in the oven definitely seemed less dense....maybe from not being exposed to direct heat? In any case, I'm a meatball convert. (And SO much less mess to clean - win/win.)

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added over 5 years ago

I've never used breadcrumbs in my meatballs, is that a usual ingredient?
For every pound of 80/20 beef (or fatty ground pork) I add 1 egg and about 2 TBS arrowroot powder plus spices, I fry until at least 1 side is brown and most of the outside has at least cooked a little (so they don't stick together), add the sauce (or soup broth) and simmer covered on medium/low until they're cooked through (165f in the center of the largest one). Generally I make them a little bigger than a golf ball and they take 20-30 minutes to cook. I've never had a problem with toughness.

Maybe your meat is too lean and you need to supplement it with some fat (or buy some that isn't so lean).

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added over 5 years ago

A blend of meats, not too much breadcrumbs, skillet browning, and oven finishing!

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added almost 2 years ago

As an Irish person without one ounce of Italian blood in my bones, I feel I have perfected the meatball. I use a combination of meats, different each time. The best meatballs I make have sausage in them. I sauté a mirepoix first with fresh garlic. I use half and half, or heavy cream to keep things extra moist, Parmesan , baguette bread crumbs, 2-3 eggs, sage, thyme and basil. I sometimes sauté spinach with the mirepoix to sneak vegetables for the kids. I brown on both sides and finish cooking in Marcella hazan's sauce. The sauce must be made the day before, and the meatballs taste best the day after cooking. I typically cook for a crowd so i usually work with 4 pounds of meat. I keep the meatballs marble sized so they keep very soft.

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