Korean-Marinade Glazed Meatballs

There’s something about a memorable meatball – the kind that’s not just flavorful but also juicy and tender. In strange way, making a good meatball is like a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors; only instead of a fist, a peace sign and an open hand, you’ve got fat, filler, and form.

Now, you’re probably wondering what a tried and tested method of settling scores, bets and arguments has to do with small spheres of meat. Well, the lesson here is about balance: overdo one part and you might as well be eating ground meat for dinner.

N.B.: If that is the case, throw in some marinara/rose/tomato sauce and you’ve got an instant Bolognese sauce for dinner

To break it down, a meatball needs some sort of fat content. In its purest form, fat is flavour and if you’re skimping on the fat then you’re likely to get a dry and tasteless chunk of meat. You’re also going to need a bit of filler’s so there’s a binding agent to keep your meatball looking like, well… a meatball.

Finally, there’s form which has less to deal with what your meatball looks like and focuses more on how you handle the meat itself (there’s probably a sexual innuendo in that last sentence but I’ll leave that for the comment section). To keep things simple, the result of over mixing your meat is a tough and dense meatball and a chore to eat.

Fortunately, there are ways to get around each issue.

For form, being gentle and keeping hand contact to a minimum can make the difference between eating a meatball and a ball bearing. Remember, you’re just forming little balls, not packing snow to build a fort.

For filler, less is often more. If you’re finding the meat isn’t holding together, try adding an extra egg instead of more bread crumbs as too much bread can lead to a coarse and mealy tasting meatball.

Finally there’s fat. Fortunately, you can control how much fat is in your ground meat by choosing the right cut to be grounded, with the leanest cuts having least fat. To get a meatball that’s still got flavour but won’t be swimming in grease, try using a mixture of lean and non-lean types of meat. For example, a typical Italian meatball uses ground beef, pork and veal – the holly trinity of meatballs.

Alternatively, you can play with flavours with seasoning or cooking with a marinade high in sugar which will seal any flavourful juices inside the meat and not on the pan.

And when you put all these tips together, you get the recipe for Korean-Marinade Glazed Meatballs, a recipe that a few attempts to perfect but in the end these little bundles of deliciousness were well worth the time.

Korean-Marinade Glazed Meatballs

A BLT Original Recipe

-1 lb of ground pork

-1/2 lb of lean ground beef

-1/2 cup of bread crumbs

-3/4 cup of Korean short rib grill marinade

– 1/3 cup of finely diced onion

-1 large egg

-3 cloves of minced garlic

-2 tbsp of sesame oil

-salt and pepper to taste

– sesame seeds for garnish (optional)

Makes roughly 24 meatballs


1. Let’s begin by preheating the oven to 350°F. Next,  place everything except the marinade and the sesame seeds into a large metal bowl.

2. Using your hands, mix all the ingredients together, making sure the egg and bread crumbs are spread out across the meat. Add the marinade and keep on mixing.

3. You’ll want to keep mixing for about another 5 minutes. The mixture should have a slight shine to it from the marinade and the only thing visible should be the diced onion.

4. Spoon roughly one-and-a-half tablespoon of the meat mixture onto the palm of your hands and roll to form the meatballs. 

5. Lay the meatballs on a greased tray and bake for 45 minutes, remembering to turn the meatballs over after 20 minutes of baking and coat with any remaining marinade.

6. Garnish with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and savour on top of rice with steamed vegetables for a hearty meal. Alternatively, you can serve these meatballs as an appetizer using toothpicks and 23 other friends.

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Categories: Beef, Onions, pork, Recipe

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