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The Trick To Making The Juiciest Meatballs Simply Comes Down To Fat

Plate with spaghetti and meatballs
Plate with spaghetti and meatballs - Fcafotodigital/Getty Images

We could debate all day about the best meatball recipes and still not agree. Some love their meaty spheres with a bit of sauce while others prefer lots of it. Some will cook them in the oven, others can't resist a crispy pan fry, while others go for poaching in the sauce. The options are truly varied. What we'd easily agree on, though, is that all finger-licking good meatballs have to be tender and juicy. Yet, striking the right balance of juiciness with a homemade recipe is not always easy. We'll let you in on a little secret — the trick comes down to fat content.

When cooking meat, the heat melts the fat which then spreads to coat the meat. This fat covering reduces the amount of liquid the meat loses due to the heat, thereby keeping it moist and tender. In addition to keeping your meaty treats juicy, fat enhances flavor, so it's a win-win for your taste buds. For the juiciest meatballs, be sure to use finely ground meat with a fat content of between 20% and 30%; anything more could lead to a greasy meatball, which you don't want. However, in a case where the meat you're using is leaner, hence lacking the ideal fat content, here's how you can amp up this vital ingredient.

Read more: Tips You Need When Cooking With Ground Beef

How To Add Fat To Your Meatballs

Meatballs stuffed with cheese
Meatballs stuffed with cheese - Alexander Prokopenko/Shutterstock

There are a few homemade meatball hacks you can use to add various fats to your meat mixture and produce the most deliciously moist and tender meatballs. The first option is to combine lean and fatty meats into your recipe. Lean meat loses more moisture as you cook, making your meatballs tough and dry. So blend your lean cut with higher fat content meats such as pork or veal to achieve the 20% to 30% fat content needed.

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If you can't get your hands on veal or pork, your other option is to add your preferred dairy product. For example, mix panko breadcrumbs with milk and leave to soak for a few minutes. The soaked bread creates a paste called a panade that binds the ingredients and traps pockets of air, preventing dryness during cooking. You can also swap the milk with buttermilk, which adds a hint of acidity to your dish while keeping the meatballs soft.

Finally, if you love cheese, then you must try a cheese-stuffed meatball. You'll be yearning for more after biting through a soft, moist meatball with warm cheese in the middle. For a mild, milky taste, use mozzarella. For something tangy and sharp, consider a blue or cheddar cheese.

Read the original article on Tasting Table