Meatball Intel

KevinBig Game, From The Wild, Moose, PhilosoFoodLeave a Comment

I received the following email this week from good friend and blog-commetor Yen, who was riffing on a meatball recipe I posted, doing some serious R&D towards the optimal meatball. Such a noble effort. If you like meatballs, which you know I do, you will find this interesting. [and yes, I scolded him for the lack of photo to make for a pretty blog post].

“Thought you might be interested…

I made meatballs based on your moose burger (not calf moose) yesterday. While researching the different ways of addressing meatballs, i found 3 things recipes proposed were critical.

1. Using moisture when using bread as a binder
2. How much you should work the meatball
3. Adding liquid directly to the mixture (stock)

I tried variations on all 3, using your base recipe, and this is what i discovered.

One theory suggested that using bread as a binder does suck all the moisture out of the meatball itself. I agree with this. The meatball i made with only breadcrumbs was significantly drier than my base meatball.

My base meatball soaked the breadcrumbs in whole milk and plain yogurt mixture. They suggested buttermilk because it achieved the same thing as the two, but i didnt want to just buy buttermilk. I had milk and yogurt already. This tasted a lot richer, and moister.

2. You suggested working the crap out of it. Most recipes suggest less handling. The ones i worked the crap out of were firmer, easier to hold their shape. But they were also a bit rubberier. I would say it depends on what you were serving the meatballs with. In a pasta, i like mine to breakup a bit, be soft, but i can see why you would want them to hold their shape better, especially if you are serving them for lunch the following day. Or as a standalone appetizer. Otherwise though, i prefer the texture of a lightly worked ball.

3. Some suggested stock in the mixture right before frying. This was a terrible idea. They broke apart into mush..did not make things moist at all.

Anyway, thought i’d share the intel.


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