The Every Day Meatball

Over the years I’ve made Italian meatballs. I’ve made Swedish meatballs. I’ve made meatballs for subs and for appetizers. (Does anyone still do THAT?)

The fact of the matter is that almost every type of meatball you make is ultimately either dipped in a sauce or covered in one. So it seemed to mean that the answer was an all-purpose meatball, like that little black dress that proved so versatile in decades past.

So I looked at all my recipes, and came up with a synthesis of them all, that is generic and yet is substantial in its own right. Add the sauce of your choice or the dip and you got a meal.

This recipe makes a bunch–like about thirty depending on the size you choose to make, so you can freeze them with ease and pull out the number you need for any occasion.

The technique of cooking is an Alton Brown invention which I tweaked to fit the universality of this recipe. Alton made large balls and set them in mini-cupcake tins. But you can accomplish the same thing and may bite-size ones with my method.

So get cooking!


  • 1 lb each ground beef and ground pork
  • 1/2 c finely minced onion
  • 1 c fresh breadcrumbs (leave a few slices of bread out for a couple of hours and then buzz them up in the food processor)
  • 1/2 tsp granulated garlic (no garlic salt please!) or two cloves micro-planed
  • 1 lg egg
  • 1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 c fresh parsley chopped
  • 1/2 c milk more or less


  1. Mix meat with onion and breadcrumbs gently with your hands.
  2. In a separate bowl whisk the egg with the garlic, W. sauce, and parsley and half the milk
  3. Add to the meat and mix gently again, adding more milk until it comes together easily but not excessively wet. (if the mixture is too sloppy, the meatballs tend to flatten out and lose their nice roundness.
  4. Take two jelly roll pans and line with foil or parchment. Place wire racks in each (I have long ones or two short ones will do)
  5. With a small ice cream scoop or larger depending on the size you wish to make, scoop out some meat mixture and roll a bit in your palms until round and place on the rack.
  6. You can set the balls close together but no touching.
  7. When all are done, place in a 400° pre-heated oven for 20-30 minutes.
  8. Cool on the racks when done and then place in a freezer bag.

Serves: about 30 meatballs

Suggestions: These are fine for either Spaghetti and meatballs or Swedish meatballs. Just thaw and place in the sauce to warm up. Also consider making barbecue sauce or mustard sauce dips for parties. Be inventive. That’s what cooking is about. Heat the meatballs in a baking dish, covered for 30 minutes on 275° if using as dippers or for a sub sandwich.