>Meatballs!

>Kay’s Meatloaf, as delicious as it was, was not enough to sate my craving for ground meat. If you recall from my facebook earlier this year, I was consumed with the desire for a meatball sandwich for a good several days. Then, after watching a Good Eats episode about meatballs, I decided that I try to make them on my own.

I have tried to follow Alton Brown recipes in the past, and they are usually spot on for what I am craving. But, they frequently require modification if I am going to try them at home. Mostly, this is because I don’t like doing things like going to the hardware store, buying an extra large terra cotta planter, and converting it into a tandoor.

Here is the Alton Brown meatballs recipe that I started with.

Here is how I adjusted mine slightly:

  1. 2 lbs ground beef, lean
  2. 1 lb ground pork
  3. frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed. Alton Brown’s recipe calls for 5 oz. I just used the rest of a frozen spinach bag that I had. It may have been more. May have been less.
  4. 0.5 C grated parmesan. I grated this myself. 
  5. 1 medium brown egg, although I suppose the color doesn’t particularly matter. 
  6. 1.5 t parsley
  7. 1.5 t basil
  8. 1 t garlic powder
  9. 0.5 t red pepper flakes
  10. 0.25 C panko bread crumbs
  11. regular bread crumbs, about a quarter cup
The recipe wanted you to mix everything except for the regular bread crumbs while you preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Alton Brown also suggested that you let this meat mixture sit in the fridge overnight to let the flavors marinade. I don’t know anyone that would actually do that.
The recipe then wanted you to scoop the meatballs using a tablespoon and roll the meatballs in the extra breadcrumbs. I used regular breadcrumbs for the mixture and panko breadcrumbs for the exterior. Regular breadcrumbs would do a better job of soaking up juices and flavors, keeping them inside the meatball. Panko breadcrumbs would do a better job of giving the meatball a nice and crusty exterior.
If you’ve seen the Alton Brown episode where he makes these meatballs, he uses mini muffin tins to bake the meatballs. By doing so, it suspends the meatball in the air so the excess grease can drip down and away from the meatball. It’s really quite ingenious.
But I don’t have a mini muffin pan anymore. It, like my mandolin, went into the trash after watching a particularly long marathon of Hoarders.
So, we just set them on a baking tray for 20 minutes, which is what the recipe called for. My meatballs required about 25 minutes. Likely, this is because my oven is old/needs a thorough cleaning.
The meatballs turned out pretty decent. I was happy with the interior texture, the beef to pork ratio, and the panko exterior. But with the large amount of parsley and basil, they tasted somewhat like an italian sausage. By themselves, the meatballs seemed to be missing something. Likely, the missing ingredient was salt, as I elected not to include the teaspoon of salt that the original recipe had called for. Next time I make them, I will likely reduce the amount of parsley and basil and add something else, like chopped caramelized onions, cumin, or roasted garlic. Maybe a touch of soy.
However, when I put these meatballs into a baguette with some marinara sauce and provolone, they precisely took care of the meatball sandwich cravings I had been suffering. The meatballs were also good with barbecue sauce and/or hot sauce. 
This recipe turned out two and a half pan’s worth of meatballs, which is a ton of friggin meatballs. 
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