How to Make the Perfect Meatball
Meatball variations are in cuisines all over the world. There are albondigas in Spain, kofta in Middle Eastern nations, bakso in Indonesia, and many others. It's easy to understand why – meatballs are affordable and simple to make, delicious, and versatile. You can find beef, pork, lamb, sausage, and even chicken meatball varieties, all complemented by unique seasonings and sauces. For the perfect meatball, however, combine different premium quality meats. This creates one-of-a-kind meatballs bursting with flavor.
Making meatballs requires a bit of TLC but is relatively easy in that you don't need any special kitchen tools or skills. As Lodi's favorite butcher shop, Lakewood Meats & Sausage is best known for our hand-tied sausages, but we also know a thing or two about meatballs. After all, we're a "meat and potatoes" family.
Tips for making perfect meatballs
We're sharing our top tips for making perfect meatballs, but it starts with premium quality meats. At Lakewood Meats & Sausage, we take great pride in the fact that our meat is ethically-sourced. Our premium quality beef and chicken are pasture-raised on family farms, which makes a tremendous difference. Happy animals = better meat.
- Don't overmix. Meatballs should be tender and have the ingredients well-distributed. It's easy to overmix them, however, which can lead to meatballs that are tough. Use your hands and loosely roll meatballs just until they hold their shape.
- Use fresh ingredients. Choose fresh herbs and aromatics whenever possible, as they are far more flavorful.
- Create a panada. Meatballs need a "binder," such as bread crumbs, to hold them together. Soak yours in milk or broth to create a paste, the panada, before mixing into the meat. This method works beautifully to keep meatballs moist and help them retain their shape.
- Don't skip the sear. Brown meatballs in a skillet first, then finish them by simmering for a while in your sauce. This sear-then-simmer method keeps meatballs ultra-moist and allows them to absorb the flavors of the sauce.
Perfect meatball variations
One of the best things about meatballs is their versatility, so don't be afraid of mixing meats or experimenting with different spices and sauces. Here are some of our favorites.
- Beef, pork, and sausage - Use one part ground pork, one part ground Italian sausage, and two parts ground beef. Alternatively, omit the Italian sausage and instead add sliced hand-tied sausages to the sauce.
- Chicken - Ground chicken breasts can be made into several meatball varieties. We love parmesan, buffalo, and teriyaki.
- Lamb - Ground lamb has a distinct richness we just can't get enough of. This classic New York Times recipe is a guaranteed home run, but you can't go wrong with a Moroccan or Greek recipe, either.
Ready to cook up a big batch of meatballs? Come visit Lodi's favorite butcher shop for an extensive selection of premium quality meats and hand-tied sausages Monday through Saturday. You can also order many items online for shipping. For more cooking inspiration, be sure to check out our recipes page!