Meatballs Again

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Roll_Bones

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I have 1 pound of ground pork, 1 pound ground lamb, 1 pound of ground veal and 1 or more pounds of ground beef.
I want to make meatballs. I want juicy soft meatballs. For some reason they do not come out as good as I remember them. I am making Italian style.
So I do add all the regular ingredients.

Meat
Bread crumbs, I am considering using panade instead?
Parmesan cheese
Eggs
Grated onion, garlic and sometimes fresh tomato or canned sauce
Milk or stock
Salt and pepper.

I’m sure I’m forgetting something. But you guys get the idea.
For some reason it seems my meatballs are to firm and not as juicy as I remember them being. They taste great and my wife says they are perfect. But I am particular. Very particular. I know I can improve the texture. That’s the keyword (texture). I want to improve the texture.
Maybe it’s the ingredients and how much or to little I use.
My hope is you guys can give me an idea as to how much ingredients I would use for 4 pounds of chopped/ground meat.

I have researched this and it seems I am using the correct amount of binders. But I’m not sure. I don’t measure for meatballs.
I like to make a big batch of meatballs and reserve some for future meals. I make them about golf ball size and bake at 400f for 10 minutes to set them. They do not get brown baking them this way. They just get set.

I am posting this on my phone so I apologize for how this thread appears or turns out once I click post.

Thanks in advance
John

Edit: I am also thinking the meat may be to lean?
 

Andy M.

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RB, here's the recipe I use. You can see it's similar to yours. This recipe produces delicious tender meatballs. Maybe the difference is in the amounts of the different ingredients.


MEATBALLS (POLPETTI)


1 Tb Olive Oil
1 Ea Small Onion, minced
3 Cl Garlic, minced
1 Lb Ground Beef
1 Lb Ground Veal
½ Lb Ground Pork
1¼ C Bread Crumbs
¾ C Pecorino Romano, grated
2 Tb Italian Parsley, chopped
TT S&P
3 Lg Eggs
2 Tb Oil


Place 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onion and garlic for 3 minutes or until the onion is translucent. Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, thoroughly combine all the ingredients, except for the last oil amount. including the cooled onion mixture.

Shape the mixture into balls approximately the size of a large egg. You should end up with 24 meatballs.

Brown the meatballs in the remaining olive oil. Add them to a Sunday Ragu to complete cooking. Deglaze the pan with some of the sauce and return it to the pot.
 

GotGarlic

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This is a recipe for basic meatballs, not for any specific cuisine, like Italian. I add other flavors if I'm using them for something specific. The meat should be around 85 percent lean; the breadcrumbs and milk and including the pork help tenderize the mixture.

1 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup onion, minced, or 1 tsp onion powder
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp dried sage, crumbled
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400F.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, mixing carefully with your hands. Do not overmix.

Form a test meatball with 1-2 tbsp meat and fry it in a pan. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

Form the remaining mixture into balls and place on a sheet pan. Roast for 20 minutes till cooked through and browned. Serve with your favorite sauce.You can also roast for 10-15 minutes to set up the meatballs and finish cooking them in a sauce.
 
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GinnyPNW

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Andy's recipe sounds great to me. Lately, I've taken to cooking the meatballs in the oven instead of frying them. It just seems easier to me and I like them that way. Depending upon the size of the meatballs, I cook them on a sheet pan, lined with non-stick foil or parchment paper, 400 degrees F, for about 16 to 18 minutes...YMMV.
 

dragnlaw

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for soft and juicy, I will suggest 2 things...

1. bread cubes soaked in milk, squeeze out excess milk after soaking for maybe 10 min. (while you're gathering every thing else).

2. be careful how you mix. Use your fingers stiffened straight, then pretend you are knead bread dough, grab from the outside, pull into center and jab down with your stiff fingers.

you've got 4+ lbs of meat there, look at the other recipes for increases.

Thass'a lotta meataballs!
 

Chief Longwind Of The North

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My recipe is about the same as Andy's. I simply add seasonings as per the theme of the dinner. For Italian, it's oregano, basil, Italian hard cheese. For a more Southwestern flavor, fresh minced peppers, chili powder, ground cumin, and coriander, plus grated queso fresco. Instead of bread crombs., I'll use broken corn tortilla chips, soaked in cocnut water. The meats will be ground beef, ground pork, and chorizo.

To cook, I form the meatballs, and place in a lightly oilef large fryin pan. I heat the pan just until the meat starts sizzling, the add a half cup of water. I cover the pan until the meatballs are set, and the cook over medium heat as the water evaporates, until all sides are lightly browned. Add the the sauce of choice and use for subs, with pasta, in burriyoes, in soups, stir-fries, etc.

With this method, there is no chance of over cooking the meatballs, and they stay juicy, and tender.

Seeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
 

taxlady

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for soft and juicy, I will suggest 2 things...

1. bread cubes soaked in milk, squeeze out excess milk after soaking for maybe 10 min. (while you're gathering every thing else).

2. be careful how you mix. Use your fingers stiffened straight, then pretend you are knead bread dough, grab from the outside, pull into center and jab down with your stiff fingers.

you've got 4+ lbs of meat there, look at the other recipes for increases.

Thass'a lotta meataballs!

That's the panade that RB was asking if he should try. Panade described on All Recipes
 

GotGarlic

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When I started making meatballs, I didn't know what a panade was, but the recipe I used included breadcrumbs and milk. I'm not sure what squeezing out the milk - and presumably discarding it - does to meatballs, but I just mix it all together and the meatballs are tender and delicious.

And I would suggest measuring the main ingredients. You can eyeball the seasonings if you're happy with the flavor from batch to batch.
 
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GotGarlic

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GG, you are using bread crumbs vs bread cubes, hence the squeezing.
But why? What's the purpose? Does squeezing break them down? Does it make a difference after the mixing? I've used fresh bread cubes, dried bread cubes, fresh bread crumbs and dried bread crumbs. I always just mix all the ingredients all together. Squeezing seems to me to be an unnecessary extra step.
 

medtran49

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Craig uses his version of Mama Marone's (sp?) from a Bobby Flay Throw down episode. He uses parm, finely chopped fresh basil and oregano, grated drained onion and garlic, fresh bread crumbs with milk, just enough to moisten so you don't have to squeeze, the panade noted above, s and p, plus whatever ground meat mixture he uses. He bakes them, either partly or fully depending on use. In sauce enough to firm up. In a sub cooked fully.
 
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Roll_Bones

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But why? What's the purpose? Does squeezing break them down? Does it make a difference after the mixing? I've used fresh bread cubes, dried bread cubes, fresh bread crumbs and dried bread crumbs. I always just mix all the ingredients all together. Squeezing seems to me to be an unnecessary extra step.

I ask the same question. If I add bread crumbs and milk to the mixture I am accomplishing a panade if you will with out soaking the bread or bread cubes.
Here are the things I think might be getting in my way.

1) Eggs I use 1 per pound of meat.
2) Bread crumbs. I am adding about 1/2 cup to 1 pound of meat.
3) Grated cheese (Parmesan Regiano or Peccorino Romano). I am adding a lot of this. Maybe close to a cup for 1 pound of meat? This could be my issue. I mentioned I don't measure these ingredients. Maybe I should?

I do mix lightly as I know this is important.
I don't saute the onions and garlic like Andy does. But I do mince each very fine or I grate them. The last time I made meatballs I grated the onion and the garlic. I also had a ripe tomato that I grated and added. This grating makes the mixture quite loose. I figured that was a good thing?

Anyhow I will make them following these guideline you guys have provided.
 

dragnlaw

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But why? What's the purpose? Does squeezing break them down? Does it make a difference after the mixing? I've used fresh bread cubes, dried bread cubes, fresh bread crumbs and dried bread crumbs. I always just mix all the ingredients all together. Squeezing seems to me to be an unnecessary extra step.

GG, I don't have an answer. All I know is that when I followed that recipe I had the most tender meatloaf that still held together. When I applied it to meatballs I had the same results.

I have used bread crumbs (but not necessarily with milk) and find that they often came heavy.
I also firmly believe that the mixing is important - so that you don't compact the meat by driving all the air out, and IMO that leaves space for the juices to stay in. So that instead of having compacted lead textured meat you have light and juicy.
 

Andy M.

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But why? What's the purpose? Does squeezing break them down? Does it make a difference after the mixing? I've used fresh bread cubes, dried bread cubes, fresh bread crumbs and dried bread crumbs. I always just mix all the ingredients all together. Squeezing seems to me to be an unnecessary extra step.

Maybe it's just a way to control the amount of moisture in the mix.
 

dragnlaw

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I'm looking for the original recipe to show the relative quantities.

But yes, you discard the milk. But I have, on occasion, added it back in, in small amounts when I thought it was too dry.

My meatloaves (balls) start of extremely goopy.
 

Andy M.

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So you discard the milk after squeezing?

I don't do a panade or add milk to my recipe. The moisture comes from the eggs.

What I was trying to say was that, in a recipe that called for squeezing the milk out of the bread crumbs, there may already be the needed moisture, making the milk unnecessary.
 

taxlady

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I'm thinking that the part about squeezing the milk out or not is personal taste. It might be easier to just tear up some bread and let it soak in milk than to add measured amounts of bread crumbs and milk. The bread and milk could each be added little bit by little bit, adjusting to the desired texture. BTW, it doesn't have to be milk. It could be stock or water.
 

CharlieD

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The way I see it, the main thing to get the meatballs juice is not to overcook them. Everything else is also important, but if you overcook them no matter how great the recipe is, they will not be juicy.
 

GotGarlic

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I'm thinking that the part about squeezing the milk out or not is personal taste. It might be easier to just tear up some bread and let it soak in milk than to add measured amounts of bread crumbs and milk. The bread and milk could each be added little bit by little bit, adjusting to the desired texture. BTW, it doesn't have to be milk. It could be stock or water.
It seems to me that adding a measured amount that you know works every time is easier than adding some bit by bit and hoping for the best ;)

Here are some considerations from the great Kenji: https://www.seriouseats.com/the-food-lab-all-american-meatloaf-excerpt-recipe
 

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