Growing up, my grandma took care of me, my brother, and my cousins while our parents worked during the day. She was a very practical woman. She would cook up a month worth of meatballs (동그랑땡) at a time, and our lunch boxes had those meatballs for 30 days straight. I don’t know the exact recipe, but I remember them being delicious for the first few days. Then I would just trade banchan (side dishes) with my friends; thank goodness, they were quite popular. Now, these meatballs became a funny memory we share with my father because he also had his fair share of meatballs while growing up.
I promised myself that I won’t serve the same food for Munchkin several days straight. Having said that, I think meatballs are great to stock up in the freezer; they freeze well, taste good, and are perfect when I want to add some meat to my kids’ meals.
Types of meat
The fat content in the meat makes a big difference in the final texture of the meatballs. Using fattier beef will produce a juicier texture. I’ve tried making these meatballs with ground wagyu beef (which has over 20% of fat), and I couldn’t get enough of them. These meatballs made with lean beef were not as impressive. 85% lean/15% fat is the leanest I would go for these meatballs.
If you like extra tender meatballs, try using half ground beef and half ground pork. I also noticed that the meatballs shrunk less in size by adding pork to the mixture. When adding pork, make sure the meatballs are fully cooked through. Especially if you’re using partially defrosted broccoli, the meatballs take a little longer than 20 minutes to cook. Using a digital cooking thermometer is the best way to gauge the doneness. Meatballs are fully cooked when the temperature registers 160 F.
You can insert a grid/wire rack inside a sheet pan and bake the meatballs on the wire rack. (I still line a parchment paper under the rack for easy clean up.) This way, the excess fat will drip onto the sheet pan instead of pooling around the meatballs.
Also, check out Baked Turkey & Pork Meatballs.
Beef Meatballs With Korean Flavors
Soy sauce and honey marinated meatballs. Great to stock up in the freezer for easy lunch and dinner.
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
- 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
- 12 oz frozen riced broccoli or riced cauliflower defrosted
- 2 eggs beaten
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 lb ground beef 85% lean 15% fat
Position rack in the middle and preheat oven to 400 F. In a sheet pan, insert a cooking wire rack or line the pan with parchment paper.
In a bowl, add panko, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, and honey. Mix and set aside to let panko soak up the sauce.
In a separate large bowl, add broccoli, eggs, parmesan, onion powder, garlic powder, and ground meat. Add panko mixture to the bowl. Mix until everything is combined using your fingers.
Form the meat mixture into balls a little smaller than the size of a golf ball. I like to use a medium (1.5 tbsp)-cookie scoop to portion out the meatballs. Place meatballs on the sheet pan with some space between them.
Bake for about 20 minutes or until cooked through.
• Fat content in ground meat will affect the final texture. I prefer 85%/15% for this recipe.
• A cooking wire rack will let the grease drip off the meatballs while baking. However, baking on a parchment paper-lined sheet pan works if you don’t have a cooking rack. You can also line parchment paper under the cooking rack for easy clean-up.
Let’s test out this recipe
I am happy to have an eager recipe tester, Kalya, on board, who tried out this recipe and shared her feedback. Kayla is a rookie home cook, understandably, still attending high school. I’m excited to have Kalya’s feedback, as I’m sure some of the readers here are also just learning to cook. I hope you find this section helpful and relatable.
Kayla: “I have eaten meatballs all my life and I never get tired of them! Whether they’re in pasta, salad, rice, soup, sandwiches, or even by itself they ALWAYS taste good. For this reason, I was very excited to try these. I ended up halving the recipe because the original recipe does make a lot of meatballs. I also used fresh broccoli instead of frozen so I had to grate them in order to give the same texture as the small-pieced frozen broccoli. It was nice to have fresh ingredients, but frozen ingredients are certainly easier to handle and store.
The Korean-inspired flavors went so well with these meatballs! For instance, sesame oil is a staple ingredient in Asian food and you can eat it with pretty much anything. It has a nutty flavor and, from my experience, tastes the best with rice and other toppings. Panko bread crumbs are also a great source of crunch for anything you are making, which I loved in this recipe! The panko crumbs also gave it more flavor and texture
As recommended, I used 85% lean and 15% fat. I thought this was a good ratio because the meatballs were crunchy on the outside and had a bite to it. Despite having vegetables, this recipe tasted so so good. Although the shape was not what I was going for, the flavor made up for it. To make more round meatballs, I would suggest firmly pressing between both hands instead of using a fork and spoon like I did. Mine also came out a little burnt at the bottom, so I would also suggest flipping them over mid-bake. Personally, the little burnt side added to the smoky flavor so I actually liked the taste of it regardless.
This recipe was so delicious and a great way to add vegetables to your diet. I also really enjoyed making these because it was nice to try something new and add broccoli to an everyday meal. I ended up eating this on top of rice and furikake and then again with japanese-style curry. Both were so tasty! Other food combinations which would go great with this are kimchi, mashed potatoes, or even Mac and Cheese. You could also add other vegetables to these meatballs, such as chopped carrots, onions, zucchini, or even tofu!”