Let's talk NJ meatballs

Where are your favorites?

Does anyone have any good butcher mixes?

Last night I cooked up the best meatballs I’ve ever had from up state ny. My coworker hooked me up and these were absolutely amazing! I’ll get some details soon but I’m anxious to hear some intel.

Dunno - I make my own with whatever’s handy. Usually a pound of ground beef, a pound of loose sausage meat & a pound of pork. I used to use a pound of ground turkey if I had it but I think it gives the meatballs a funny taste.

For company I do equal amounts of ground beef, veal and pork. Lately for us though, I use ground chicken and/or turkey, personally I can’t tell the difference all that much once there’s sauce on it. If anything it’s lighter and more agreeable to digest. And you can get it for $1.99/lb or less all day long :wink:

I don’t think of this as something to go to the butcher for, but do tell.

For me the only essential ingredient is the ground pork or pork sausage. I’ve made meatballs from lots of different cultures from Lion’s Head to swedish and they all are better with the fatty goodness of pork.

1 Like

It’s been years since we last went to Pete & Elda’s. In addition to pizza, we’d often get a side order of their meatballs with marinara and added peppers & onions. Yum! I just checked the website and they still have it. This has me thinking we should get ourselves down there again.

I recently came across the recipe for Chef Michael Symon’s Ricotta Meatballs. I haven’t tried it yet, but considering the source, the meatballs are bound to be delicious. (On a side note, we met Symon many years ago. It was when he had just one restaurant in Cleveland and well before he became famous. He opened a Mediterranean restaurant in Manhattan called Parea, and as it was close to our apartment, we had dinner there soon after the place opened. Because it was brand new, he was in the kitchen. He came out to our table to ask what we thought of the food – it was excellent – and he chatted with us for a few minutes. A totally nice guy who deserves all the fame and fortune he’s received since then. Unfortunately, Parea failed. Why remains a mystery to me.)

My Blog
My Flickr

1 Like

My kitchen and I would tell you my grandmothers recipe, but then you would have to sleep with the fish.


Yes sir! Render pork fat makes the sauce much better imo. I also think it just makes the meatballs so much better too. Hell, what doesnt pork make better? Lol

Jr, are you mixed meat guy or straight beef?

There are SO many things I want to type, but I’m just gonna let @NotJrvedivici respond. @seal DON’T GO THERE. :joy:


I’m a bit obsessive about my Italian meatballs. I’m a retired chef and voluntarily cook for a social club where I’m a member. A majority of members are Italian American baby boomers, many from the Bronx. They know their Italian food and the metro NYC Italian restaurant scene. Most meatballs I eat out at restaurants or delis in suburban NYC are too dense and have too much dry herbs. I prefer my meatballs pretty bland and very tender. I think the #1 problem with most meatballs is not enough bread and liquid is used so they are more like seasoned hamburgers. I generally only use ground chuck but when ground pork is cheap, I’ll use a mix. The Italians in my area prefer a beef, pork and veal mix and that does make a nice meatball but it is unessential for making a great meatball. I need to quantify my recipe some day, so I don’t know what bread to meat ratio I use but my ingredients are pretty similar to Rao’s recipe, posted below, except I use a milk and white bread panada and I sometimes I like a little chopped celery in them (I know, an infamnia!). The key is to get them to a point where they just barely hold together when cooked. The eggs and the meat bind them but I find a tablespoon or two of starch helps too, without adversely their flavor/texture. I use potato starch. I cook them in tomato sauce, sometimes browning them first but usually not because I cook them in the same brazier where I’ve first made the sauce, just gently plop them in and don’t stir the pot until they’ve firmed up, about ten minutes.



For the record I am a STRAIGHT BEEFY GUY (Regardless of what @seal would have you believe), however for my meatballs I’m actually a beef, pork and veal guy, in equal parts.


God I stared at that sentence for like a minute with all the jokes flying through my head. You GOTTA have pork in your meatballs IMO, pork > beef for meatballs and hamburger steaks IMO.


I am a fan of Chef Symon and gave his meatball recipe a try months ago. I drained the ricotta cheese over night. Even following the instructions verbatim, left me with very loose meatballs in a tasty sauce. I wound up breaking the fried meatballs up into the sauce and served the sauce over penne.

I’ve enjoyed a few meals at Keyport’s Old Glory restaurant and bar since the opening. They serve two large stuffed meatballs over a bed of fresh tomato sauce and combined with the complimentary warmed bread you cant go wrong. The meatballs are stuffed with mozzarella cheese. One of their most popular dishes according to staff.

1 Like

I’m trying this recipe. Thank you!

I like making tiny little meatballs out of whatever ground meat I have, with some Parmesan, parsley (or whatever), and sometimes fresh bread crumbs.

Edit: Okay, I forgot this was about NJ, but these little meatballs are great in minestrone soup.

I put them into vegetable soups of all kinds. Sometimes with tortellini too.


How about Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza by Menlo Park Mall. Their meatballs are very good. Almost as good as their roasted chicken wings, which are served smothered in caramelized onions, probably the best wings I have ever had and very consistent.

This spot sounds like Tommy’s around here in Monmouth county. I’m a huge fan of their wings.

Jr, any clue if they are related?

Nope, to my knowledge Tommys and Anothy’s are not affiliated.

Bumping this up!

I saw someone just responded to MGZ’s thread thatthat was three years old and it got me thinking about meatballs and the meatball mix in my freezer. Haa anyone been cooking any up now that it is cooler out?

Nunzios in Sayreville has really good ones.

Your thread got me wondering… I mean I love meatballs and all that, but what actually makes a truly great meatball? I feel like when it comes to meatballs, they are in a very narrow window of good to bad. Specifically, they are generally all good, never bad, but none have really stood out to me as being far above the rest.