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Which meat do you use in your favorite meatballs?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Hello all,

I'd like to know what meat you like to use in your meatballs, and if possible why? Do you like beef meatballs, 1/2 beef + 1/2 pork, or do you use lamb, veal, etc...?

Also which cuts from each meat?

The reason I ask is I recently tried to make meatballs with 1/2 beef + 1/2 pork, and for the beef, I chose to go for the ground sirloin, which was 3 times the price of regular ground beef (I have no idea what cut is "regular" ground beef - guess I should ask my butcher), and I was slightly disappointed with that choice. I mean the meatballs were great, but I couldn't tell it was sirloin, in fact if anything I thought they tasted more pork-ish than usual!

The meatballs also had milk-bread, shallots, garlic, fresh herbs and parmesan.

Thanks!!
post #2 of 24
i think it's depend with what u serve the meatball with, if for soup i like to make it with chicken mix with nutmeg , egg , mash potato ( just a little bit to make it moist ) , and crispy fried shallot. if with tomato sauce i like it beef or lamb, with simple seasoning , or if you like it serve with demi sauce or soysauce base sauce ( asian style ) i like it with pork.

i hope it help :smiles:
post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 
Any little bit helps, for sure, so thanks a lot. I was thinking of Italian style meatballs in tomato sauce with pasta. But your post gave me some ideas...!
post #4 of 24
For that, I like 1/3 each ground pork, beef, and veal, which my local supermarket at home packages as "meatloaf mix." I use Hazan's basic recipe, including rolling them in a little flour and shallow-frying until brown, then pour off excess fat, saute mirepoix, add the tomatoes and such, and cook partly covered until it's turned into a good sauce.
post #5 of 24
The "regular" ground beef you're talking about is most likely made with chuck. It costs less than the sirloin and it's much fattier, thus giving a better flavor than sirloin. I like to use chuck because it stays juicier than other cuts.

My combo is 1/2 pork, 1/2 beef. I mix it a bit the same as you, with milk-bread, eggs, fresh parsley and mint, a little olive oil, a splash of wine, a pinch of baking soda, and a dash of cumin, making sure not to knead too much or they will get pretty hard.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #6 of 24
French Fries,

Sirloin is almost always the worst choice for ground meat, because it's so lean. Mixing it half 'n half, as you did, provides the necessary fat content. But the pork naturally overpowered the sirloin flavor.

Chop meat bought at the market is almost always chuck, unless otherwise labeled. Chuck has about 25% fat, compared to sirloin, which has only about 15%. Ground round would be the dryest, and always has less than 15% fat.

Nowadays most markets label their ground meat by the percentage of fat. If you want to know the actual source (i.e., the cuts used) just ask. But for the average consumer, the fat-content labeling actually makes more sense.

Now, as to your question, I don't have a favorite. It depends on the kind of meatballs I'm making. Overall, I like venison, but it's even dryer than round. So you have to be careful how you cook it, or add fat to it one way or another.

Because I've developed a facination with the "other Med" the past few years, I'm very big on lamb, and use it a lot as well.

For standard burgers, I go with 2/3rds ground chuck and 1/3 ground pork neck. For something like Italian-style meatballs in a tomato sauce, I'd go 1/3 each beef, veal, and pork.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #7 of 24
as with the majority, meat and proportions vary......

meatballs for sandwiches/on top of spaghetti are typically beef/pork (15% fat beef) typically 2 parts beef to 1 part fatty ground pork. sauteed onions/garlic/celery, ground fennel (hate picking fennel seeds out of my teeth), dry thyme, dry Greek oregano, fresh or frozen basil or if in freezer pesto, parmesan, bread crumbs, eggs, sometimes a hit of worchester, black pepper, salt.

Chicken balls, ground chicken (no skin), bread crumbs, eggs, dried morels, tarragon or Penzy's Parisian blend, toasted pecans, orange zest, salt and pepper....these are low fat.
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #8 of 24
Italian Beef/Pork 60% 40%

Swedish Beef/Pork /Veal 30% 35% 35%

French Quennels I sometime use ground chicken in these with the above meats only I drop them into simmering chicken stock.

Chuck only beef Pork Shoulder Veal trim from sirloin or hip(I grind all My Own)

I add fresh not dry bread crumbs to all my meatball blends, except quennels.:roll:
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post #9 of 24
I made sketti and meatballs tonight - well, in truth linguini instead of spaghetti, like there's a major difference. I used about 1/2 ground beef and 1/2 italian seasoned ground turkey. They turned out fairly well. The beef I used was 85/15, I think 80/20 would have worked a bit better with the turkey.

mjb.
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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post #10 of 24
Thread Starter 
Great, thanks for all the answers! Seeing how everything is possible (I should have guessed), I think I may have a little tasting party one of those nights. Make a bunch of meatballs with various meats, and then organize a little blind test. Might be very interesting.

Thanks!
post #11 of 24
Just a word on chopped beef. 80/20 75/25 90/10 and on and on
This is a percntage of fat to meat. However it does not tell you how much of the weight is meat because the put water in it or grind it with ice. Believe me they are not dong this for your health they are adding to the weight. When you buy frozen shrimp, seafood the same thing applies ,before they are frozen they coat with water to add to weight(but they tell you to protect it).If they add 1.6 ounces water to every pound, a dollar $1.00 a pound package is actually costing you 1.10.. There is no law against this. Sometimes a product will say ''sufficient water for processing'' Please give us a break.
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post #12 of 24
Thread Starter 
Hey is that water they're adding just H2O, or is it the healthy "Vitamin Water" full of high fructose enriched corn syrup? :lol:
post #13 of 24
I just use ground chuck or anything 80/20 fat ratio or better.
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post #14 of 24
>However it does not tell you how much of the weight is meat because the put water in it or grind it with ice. <

It's not as simple as that. Depends on the labeling and whether or not the meat was inspected..

Under federal law, inspected product identified as ground or chopped beef is all meat, with a maximum of 30% fat. It cannot contain added water, fat, seasonings, binders or extenders.

If it's identified as hamburger it can have added fat and seasonings, but no other additives.

The only way around this is to use meat that is not federally inspected---which many markets do. Even the majority of whole meats they sell are no-roll. So who knows what they do with their chopped meats?

So one way of assuring non-adultrated chopped meat is to insist on federally inspected beef. Even if it's only Select grade (which is what most no-roll meat is), if it bears the stamp it has to follow the rules.

Another way is to grind your own; which is what I prefer, because I then know exactly what I'm getting..
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #15 of 24
I do the same with the "meatloaf" mix.
post #16 of 24
I always buy the "store grind". This is the trimming from every part of the cow. My store says theirs is between 80-85%. To get a good idea what cut is going into the mix, just look what cuts are on sale. This is what they are usually cutting the most of.

You could always pick out a roast and ask them to grind it for you. You will lose about a half a pound in the grinder.
post #17 of 24
I agree that it depends what sort of burger you want as mentioned by others above.

Generally, I like fatty 80/20 ground beef, half beef to half ground pork. To keep it juicy, I dice and fry off some onion and bacon and minced garlic, sometimes finely diced mushrooms, cool then add to mixed meat base. Add enough egg, dried breadcrumbs (you could try soaking some fresh crusts-off bread in milk for 10 minutes, then squeezing out the excess liquid, tear it up and add to mix), some tomato ketchup, seasonings, dried oregano, smoked paprika, ground dried sage. Have just enough sauce and egg in there to make it soft but not sloppy. If it does get a little sloppy, add some plain flour or dried breadcrumbs. If it's too dry, add some more beaten egg or more sauce.

Instead of breadcrumbs, dried stuffing mix in the packet is a good variation, or a packet of powdered French Onion soup. I've also used dried chicken noodle soup - its a nice quick cheat :)

Treat it gently, rolling between wet hands. You won't need flour that way. Chill them down in fridge for 30 minutes before cooking. Seems to help them to stay firm and not crack.

Hint. Always make a little taster meatball and fry that off first before making the rest to check seasonings.

There's so many combinations of meats - pork and prawn, lamb and pork, chicken and pork, all the combos under the sun. Find what you like most, but don't be afraid to experiment. Different herbs, spices, sauces, add grated vegies like zucchini, hide a chunk of good melting cheese in the middle of it. Yum!

When the budget's tight - use packaged sausage meat, just add lots of herbs & spices (curry powder is good), grated veg, bottled sauces to suit. Its also good for using leftover veg in, just chop them up and mix in. While they're not elegant, they fill you up just as well when times are tight.
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
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post #18 of 24
May I ask... what does "no-roll" mean? Sounds like an "inside" term.
post #19 of 24
A one pound package of chopped beef, sirloin, chuck. shin or whatever today could be meats combined from 5 different countries. If you go to the usda website, you will find countries on a daily basis approved for import to the US. To me this is scary.
I worked in places with inspectors years ago, when it was really strict. Today there are not enough inspectors, in every plant because of budget cuts.
The plants are in a self inspect mode.
Also what it is supposed to contain and what it does contain, and its long journey to get to us is the problem.
Fish is the same in 2007 over 200000 pounds of fish was imported into Florida of which about 25000 pounds were fed. inspected.??? What about the rest? It took the FDA 5 weeks to finally notify us about pnut butter, if you dont believe that,? look at the dates of some of the processed foods they are now recalling containing pnut butter. You can believe in Government Inspection if you want, Me, I have seen it first hand , so dont believe their propaganda. :lol:
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post #20 of 24
While I have no argument with your point, Ed, it has nothing to do with grading of beef.

Granted, a majority of beef sold in this country is not graded. Or, I should say, the majority of beef sold to consumers. But that meat which is has to follow the rules.

So, if you want to assure quality chop meat, you start with graded whole cuts, and grind them yourself. If not, to paraphrase the old commercial, if it doesn't have a purple stamp on the outside, you don't know what you're getting.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #21 of 24
I like elk but didn't have the time to get one this year:cry:
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Is a hippopotamus a hippopotamus or just a really cool opotamous? - Mitch Hedburg
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post #22 of 24
OK , so if we were to grind our own meat, what would be the roast or cut to buy to get the right proportion of meat to fat?
post #23 of 24
You need a beef chuck.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #24 of 24
For beef hamburger meat, Koukouvagia is dead on. Chuck has the perfect balance of lean to fat.

And, while we're on this subject, let me remind everyone that Bruce Aidells will be conducting a guest forum in just a couple of weeks, and these are all good questions to ask him.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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