Thu Jun 28, 2012
Meat-a-thon 3 was a cornucopia of Italian goodies. Of them all, I got the most compliments on the meatballs that were grilled and then simmered in the Sunday gravy. It's no surprise these stood out, they were the only thing I had made before, already having a recipe worked into the most delicious little bundles of meat they can be. The secret here...a little cheese goes a long way.
Well, maybe there's more than one secret here, the first one being a common theme across the Meatwave, fat! Yup, starting meatballs with a nice fatty piece of chuck, just like with burgers, ensured they would be juicy and fully flavored. The chuck was cut with some pork as well, mellowing the meat slightly and paving the way for the delicious extras to stand out too.
Those extras are ever important. In the flavor department we had a one-two punch of Parmesan and Pecorino Romano giving a sharp, cheesy, and light nuttiness throughout. Adding to that there was garlic, parsley, and red pepper flakes. Dry breadcrumbs and eggs were also in the mix, acting as binders to allow the meatballs to keep their beautiful form.
After the meat mixture was complete, it was formed into little balls about 1 1/2-inches in diameter. This was my army of meatballs, ready to conquer the grill.
Unlike with previous forays into meatballs, these stood up fantastic over the fire. They kept their shape and were the perfect size to be just cooked through at the same time the exterior was beautifully seared on all sides.
These meatballs were totally off the hook. The cheese lent a bit of a bite and a complex saltiness that melded into the rest of the mixture to make a cohesive flavor throughout. This was all set against the moist, juicy, and beefy meat that is not always a given with little pieces of meat done over a hot fire. Yup, these were incredible when I first made them about a year ago, and lived up to the same standards again at the Meatwave last weekend. It's always nice to have workhorse greats like these in the arsenal that you know will always be amazing.
Italian-Style Meatballs with Pecorino and Parmesan
- Prep Time:
- 30 Minutes
- Cook Time:
- 10 Minutes
- Total Time:
- 40 Minutes
- 4 servings
- 1 pound ground chuck
- 1/2 pound ground pork
- 3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
- 1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Olive oil
- Marinara sauce, for dipping
- In a large bowl, mix together chuck, pork, bread crumbs, eggs, Parmesan, Pecorino, garlic, parsley, and red pepper flakes until thoroughly combined. Roll out meat mixture into balls 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Season meatballs all over liberally with salt and pepper.
- Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over entire surface of coal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Brush meatballs with olive oil and place on grill and cook until well browned all over and cooked through, about 8 minutes total, 2 minutes per side.
- Remove meatballs to a platter and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve with marinara sauce.