Steaming, take two: meatballs

Lesson learned:  meatballs belong in the oven.  Let me explain.

Because my current Two-Week Technique is steaming, I found myself perusing the recipes at  When I saw a recipe for Mini Chili Tomato Meatballs, I was ecstatic.  After all, I’m a girl who loves her meatballs (no dirty jokes, please).

Things started off about as uneventful at meatballs normally do.  I mixed my ingredients together, shaped them into balls, and arranged them neatly on a sheet of parchment paper placed inside my steamer basket.  Nothing out of the ordinary here…yet.

Once the water was boiling, I placed the steamer basket over the pot and set the timer.  I left the little darlings to cook.

Ten minutes later, I approached my stove and the sight was horrific.  First lesson:  steamed meatballs should be made with extra lean beef.  Greasy meat drippings, anyone?

I scooped the meatballs out of this mess with a slotted spoon, genuineley thinking this mother of a grease pool was no big deal.  Gross, yes, but problematic?  I ain’t afraid of no grease!  And they looked like regular ol’ meatballs, so surely they would taste like regular ol’ meatballs.

Considering the number of flavors packed into these meatballs (tomato paste, garlic, onion, chili pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and freshly ground salt and pepper, to name a few), there was a HUGE flavor deficit in my meal.  The meatballs were so flavorless I couldn’t even taste the meat itself.  I am convinced–though I may simply be making excuses for a bad recipe–that all of the flavor was left behind in the puddle o’ grease.  Whatever the reason, I took one bite of my meatballs and the udon noodles they were served with, and I tossed it in the trash and made myself a ham and cheese sandwich.  I’m not particularly fond of “cardboard” flavor.

Steaming probably isn’t the best choice for prearing meatballs.  Fattier ground beef is an equally poor choice for preparing meatballs.  Keeping a supply of lunch meat, cheese, and bread while teaching yourself to cook is of the utmost importance.  So many lessons…gotta love it!


3 thoughts on “Steaming, take two: meatballs

  1. The problem I think with steaming meatballs, even if it did work, is that they don’t go nice and brown on the outside like they do when you fry them in a pan… maybe just maybe… they could be seared in a pan first and then steamed? …but then to my mind if you are going to sear them in a pan, then you may as well just carry on and cook them where they are.

    Oh, and for the record… meat balls need to be exactly 25 g (0.881849 oz) (measured on digital scales :-)p with an allowable tolerance of 1 gram plus or minus. Just sayin.


    • i mix lean ground beef with chopped garlic and bread crumbs, i brown them in a frying pan, add water, put on the lid (to steam). I pour off the water and melted fat, heat some more, add water again and steam it again with the lid on. works very well, and the meatballs soak up the marinara wonderfully.



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