It’s hard to find anyone who grew up in America that doesn’t have childhood memories of meatballs. And in the grand tradition of our great country, we stole these from someone else, and no one can agree how they are really supposed to be made.
They can be in a sandwich, over pasta, by themselves, with rice, with cheese, spicy, herby, pork, or beef. But there are some things to keep in mind when making these savory little balls of meat, regardless of how you want them to taste.
First, the less you handle the meat the better, overworked meat gets tough and mealy. Second, add some flavor. Spice, or herbs or cheese, these big bites of meat need a kick. Feel free to experiment.
Lastly, if you want them to be round there are a few things you can do:
Make sure the meatballs are really cold before cooking, they’ll hold their shape better.
Boiling them in sauce or liquid will help them stay round but rob them of the nice caramelization that pan frying can give. a combination of cooking methods works best if you want both a nice caramelization as well as a nice shape. But err on the side of flavor, taste always wins over glamour.
Last, don’t be afraid to make them your own. These guys lend themselves to adventure, from chorizo mole meatballs to Bree cheese stuffed meatballs with cherry shallot sauce, these culinary gypsies can go where you send them.
And of course, they like beer. So they can stay for dinner.
For this recipe I used a Pacific Northwest treat, Ninkasi Oatis. A beautiful, creamy oatmeal stout that’s really easy to find now that I live in the Emerald City.
Stout Meatballs with Beer Barbeque Sauce Glaze
For the meatballs:
- 1 lb ground chuck (or a combination or ground pork and ground beef)
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- ¼ tsp cumin
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup stout beer
For the sauce:
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
- 3 tbs tomato paste
- 1 ½ tsp Sriracha (red chili sauce)
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 cup stout
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- In a large bowl add all the meatball ingredients (except the 1 tablespoon oil), stir until just combined (about two of three turns with your hands). Over handling the meat will make it tough and mealy.
- Place bowl in the fridge for 1 hour and up to 1 day (this will help keep it’s shape during cooking.
- While meat is chilling make the sauce.
- Add the olive oil to a pot over medium high heat, add that garlic and stir for about 30 seconds. Add the remaining sauce ingredients, simmer until thickened and reduced, about 15 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Using a cookie scoop, make balls just smaller than a golf ball with the chilled meat. Place on a cookie sheet that has been covered with parchment paper. Cook for 12 minutes.
- Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat until very hot. Add the meat balls, pull the skillet back and forth over the burner to roll the meat balls around in the pan. Cook until meatballs are just starting to brown, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat and add the barbeque sauce, cooking at a simmer until meatballs are glazed and sauce is very thick.
- Remove meatballs, add toothpicks to serve.
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