on meatballs and beef boxes

Nothing beats a well-crafted meatball made from flavorful beef…

This may surprise you, but give me the choice of some super-fine meatballs or steak,  I’m gonna go with the meatballs.

Of course there’s a catch. They can’t be just any meatballs. No rubbery, bouncy, overly seasoned hard-balls need apply. Since my budget is tight, I make lots of different kinds of meatballs from pork, pork and beef, and chicken, but I think my very favorite is all beef.

Don’t tell, but there’s a couple secrets that take a meatball from okay to sublime. First, forget about that box of dry bread crumbs. Go for stale white bread, crust removed and soaked in milk. Then, sauté your veggies until translucent but not burned. Gluten free? Use gluten free oatmeal in place of the bread. Just give the mixture a rest in the fridge before cooking to give the oatmeal time to soften.

When the beef is super lean, pork can soften the balls, but if you aren’t careful the pork can increase the rubber-factor too. If you take care to brown gently, sautee your veggies carefully until they’re translucent and soft and not browned, use white bread soaked in milk instead of dry breadcrumbs (tender gluten free meatballs can be made by replacing the bread with oatmeal) and finish in the oven with sauce, you’ll end up with a budget meal fit for the finest company.

You’re always ready for dinner emergencies when you’ve got pre-made meatballs in the freezer, a can of good sauce or even tomatoes and a box of decent pasta in the pantry.

Another great thing about meatballs is how well they freeze. I always make a big batch, then divvy up the leftover balls into six-pack freezer bags for future dinners. With meatballs in the freezer, a jar of good (extra points for home-canned) sauce and a box of decent pasta in the pantry, you’re always prepared for unexpected company or a last minute dinner everyone likes.

Don’t have sauce? No problem, I rarely buy prepared sauce. If you’ve got a large can of tomatoes, an onion and some meatballs, you’ve got all you need. Put the tomatoes into a large saucepan,  add the peeled whole onion and the meatballs straight from the freezer. Simmer gently until the meatballs are warmed through, discard the onion and serve with pasta, gnocchi or polenta.

And please. Is it really so hard to grate the fresh Parmesan or Romano? Who even cares if shake cheese has cellulose, it’s such a step-down in flavor and texture, why do we use it? When the food is simple, the flavor of the ingredients and taking a few extra steps with the preparations means everything.

So far, my very favorite meatball recipe is Tyler Florence’s ultimate spaghetti and meatballs recipe from Food Network. Of course I make changes based on what’s in my pantry at the moment, but the technique makes tender, perfectly flavored balls every time. I don’t always have the mozzarella on hand and they’re still very good.

But when you do go for the mozzarella, that baked, saucy casserole of meatballs, tomato sauce and mozzarella really IS the ultimate.

All-beef meatballs ready for browning. For a change, try adding sautéed carrots and celery or plumped, chopped raisins to your raw beef mixture.

Why do I have meatballs on my mind today?  Well, because Devon beef is especially good in meatballs. The beefy flavor holds up to the browning, the oven braise and whatever sauce you’re using.

What a coincidence that I just so happen to have some beef boxes in the freezers ready for immediate sale.

Typically I sell only by the quarter, half and whole. This is for a few reasons, mainly being to comply with my limitations of freezer storage, my need to process all my beeves in a short timeframe in the fall, and to keep costs down for you.

I’m trying to find ways, while working within the USDA restrictions, to keep your costs down, to minimize your risk and still comply with regulations. So, I decided to try something new. 

I’ve put together 1/8-th share boxes.  The boxes are 35 pounds each.  Each box (eight per beef) will receive an equal share of lean ground steak burger,  one package of filet and one pound of shaved Delmonico sandwich steak.

These are twenty month old bulls, fed only mother’s milk, grass and dry hay.  Since they are younger and still a bit lean, we opted for steak burger, grinding all the premium steaks except the Delmonico and Filet into the burger. We shaved the Delmonico (or Ribeye) for sandwich steaks and cut the filet into individual steaks.

The price of the box is $210. It consists of 33 pounds of ground steak burger and one package of Delmonico sandwich steaks and one package of filets. The meat is frozen, wrapped and ready for pick up by appointment. 



This is a nice opportunity to purchase a smaller portion than typically required at a lower price.  The meat is ready today;  wrapped and frozen, the ground beef in one pound plastic tubes, the sandwich steaks wrapped in paper and the filet vacuum packed.

The beef was cut and wrapped at Palumbo’s Meat Market in West Middlesex, PA.  Palumbo’s Meat Market is a beautiful store with lots of local items.  They make all their own deli meats, bacons and hams, hot dogs and more. Well worth a road trip, most of their meats are purchased from local farmers and their prices are hard to beat.

To reserve a box or ask a question, send me an email via the contact button above. If you prefer, feel free to text or call.

Hopefully this is an idea that helps get local food into your pantry. Better for you, better for the environment and better for our local economy. And do yourself a favor, make these meatballs. ASAP. 

What’s your best trick for eating well on less?