Grilled MeatballsSteven Raichlen
- Yield: Makes 24
- Equipment: Best of Barbecue Meatball Grilling Rack
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (plus additional oil for your hands)
- 2 strips smokehouse bacon, finely chopped
- 3 large shallots or 1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
- 2 pounds ground meat (ideally, equal parts beef, veal, and pork)
- 1 cup finely grated imported Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs (preferably homemade)
- 1 teaspoon each sea salt, black pepper, and dried oregano (or to taste)
- Nonstick cooking spray
Step 1: Heat the oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and shallots and cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes, stirring with a slotted spoon. Using the slotted spoon, transfer the bacon mixture to a mixing bowl and let cool to room temperature.
Step 2: Add the ground meat, Parmigiano-Reggiano, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and oregano to the bacon mixture. Mix well with your hands or a wooden spoon. To test for seasoning, grill or fry a small patty of the mixture until browned on both sides—add salt as needed. You can make and grill the meatballs right away, but they will be easier and tastier if you chill the mixture for 6 hours before shaping and grilling.
Step 3: Make the meatballs: Lightly oil your hands. Pinch off 1-1/2 inch portions of the mixture and roll them into balls between your palms. Place on a baking sheet. Chill for 30 minutes. Spray the meatball basket with nonstick cooking spray and load in the meatballs.
Step 4: Set up your grill for direct grilling and preheat to high.
Step 5: Place the meatball basket on the grate directly over the fire and grill until the meatballs are sizzling, darkly browned, and cooked through (you’re looking for an internal temperature of 160 degrees), about 5 minutes per side.
Step 6: Transfer the meatballs to a platter. Impale on toothpicks for serving. I wouldn’t say no to a smoked tomato sauce as a dip.
Serve with these other appetizers for a New Year’s cocktail party hot off the grill.