Cheese Stuffed Meatballs
Ooey gooey cheese stuffed meatballs is pretty much a non-discussion item for dinner. When I bought a 5lb package of lean ground beef from Costco for this week’s Supper Challenge “bite size” theme, I didn’t expect to prep the whole package. Nor did I expect the family to inhale ALL the meatballs cooked for dinner. I thought I’d pre-cooked some for leftovers. Ha!
Two recipes to choose: Italian Cheese Stuffed Meatballs and BBQ Cheese Stuffed Meatballs. Both are flavorful and convenient to make. Seasoning may be substituted, added or even omitted and preferences can be accommodated. Since my pantry always has spice rub, I like how a premixed seasoning can be everything you need to whip together meatballs.
These meatballs can be made without cheese….but would you? Ha!
A few tips to ensure meatballs are fluffy and juicy vs. tough and dry:
- Ensure meat contains fat. If you’re making turkey meatballs, no problem! With less fat entrained in ground turkey meat compared to pork or beef, meatballs tend to be dry.
- Minimize eggs. Eggs are a binder in a meatball mixture, it doesn’t add a lot of moisture.
- Refrigerate or resting the meat allows the moisture added (typically milk, but chicken broth or beef broth will work as well)
- Don’t overwork the meatball mixture. If you stir each ingredient individually and mash the meat, fold and stir the meatball mixture, the meat proteins will begin to bind and when heat is added, will squeeze together.
- Don’t overpack or squeeze the meatballs too tight. Meat doesn’t need to be squished to stay together. A light squeeze and rolling when forming the meatballs is all you need.
- Taste test a small spoonful of meatball mixture on a small frying pan on medium heat to taste the level of seasoning.
- Breadcrumbs and milk or/and chicken broth or/and beef broth entrains moisture in the meatball
Taste: Delicious! As long as the meatball mixture is well seasoned, these are fabulous!
Texture: Light and fluffy, with an extra soft center. Soooo good!
Italian Cheese Stuffed Meatballs or BBQ Cheese Stuffed Meatballs
- Large Bowl
- 13"x9" pan
Italian Cheese Stuffed Meatballs
- 4-5 Babybel cheese or cheese sticks cut into 9 pieces
- 2 lbs lean ground beef cold from the fridge
- ½ teaspoon garlic granules
- 1 ¼ teaspoon kosher salt more to taste
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon thyme
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
- 2 tablespoons fresh minced parsley
- ¼ cup finely minced cooked onions
- ¼ cup breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup chicken broth or milk
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese
- 1 large egg
BBQ Cheese Stuffed Meatballs
- 5-7 Babybel cheese or cheese sticks cut into 9 pieces
- 3.5 lbs ground beef cold from the fridge
- ¾ cup finely minced cooked onions
- 2 tablespoons fresh minced parsley
- 3 tablespoons BBQ Spice Rub more to taste, I prefer Blues Hog All purpose Spice Rub
- 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/3 cup chicken broth or milk
- 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups tomato sauce
- Minced parsley
- Grated parmesan cheese
- In a large bowl, add all meatball ingredients except Babybel cheese to the bowl.
- Using your hands (with gloves or lightly oiled to prevent sticking), mix the meatball mixture together.
- Meatball mixture can be refrigerated for 1-24 hours for better seasoning.
- Take meatball mixture to form a nest shape and place a piece of Babybel into the meatball “nest.” Fold the meat over and form a ball about 1 ½” around. Place onto 13×9” pan.
- Pan Fry Method: Preheat pan to medium heat. Place meatballs onto pan and allow to cook 10 minutes until brown on one side. Turn and cook with a lid for additional-10-15 minutes. Meatballs are ready at 140F internal temperature or until cheese starts to ooze out. Strain excess liquid. Add tomato sauce to pan of meatballs to warm.
- Baked Method: Preheat oven to 400F. Place 13×9 pan into oven for 20 minutes or 140F internal temperature or until cheese starts to ooze out. Strain excess liquid. Add tomato sauce to pan of meatballs to warm.
- Smoked/ BBQ Method: Preheat smoker or grill to 350F. Place 13×9 pan into smoker/ BBQ for 25-30 minutes or 140F internal temperature or until cheese starts to ooze out. Strain excess liquid. Add tomato sauce to pan of meatballs to warm.
- Garnish with minced parsley or grated parmesan cheese