Quick Venison Meatballs
See below for the ingredients list.
This recipe is fairly basic, which is the beauty behind it. It gets you started, but is wide open to variation with seasonings or sauces. This make up was inspired by my boys watching a cartoon with a runaway meatball. “Dad, we want meatballs!” A bit unprepared and “winging it”, we made a suitable meatball for the evening. I’ve since fine tuned the ingredients and amounts to create a now household favorite. It’s an incredible way to serve wild game on the busiest of week nights.
Something to be aware of. I mix in fat to my ground (80/20), Fat helps with binding for patties, or in this case, meatballs. The crackers help form the shape of the ball and keep it moist throughout the cooking. I know some hunters who prefer straight venison ground. Straight venison is lean and takes more effort to form patties or meatballs and have then stay together. So for straight ground, crack one egg into the meat and cracker mix. That will give the lean meat something to bind to, to make great meatballs. I used whitetail, but whatever ground meat you have will work in this recipe.
Clock Face Method
When browning many pieces of meat, or meatballs in this case, using the Clock Face Method will help in making consistently done pieces. This technique allows you to time the rest of Meatballs off of only one piece.
Start by placing the first meatball at “12 o'clock”. The next one goes to the “1 o'clock” and so on. If you fill up the outer ring, start a second ring in the middle. Careful to not crowd the meatballs. It makes it difficult to turn them. When your “12 o clock” has browned to your liking, begin to turn over your meatballs in the same way you set them. Using the same piece as your starter, you only need to check that one, not all of them. This process ensures that each meatball will have the same amount of sear.
Finish in the oven.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total:l 20 minutes
Makes: 12 Golf ball sized Meatballs
- Large Mixing Bowl
- Cast Iron Skillet
Warm the sauce and add the meatballs.
- 1 lb Ground Venison
- ½ Sleeve of Crackers
- ½ Cup Milk
- 1 egg (if using straight venison, no fat added) optional
- 1 Tbsp Oregano
- 1 Tbsp Basil
- 1 Tbsp Thyme
- 1 Tbsp Rosemary
- 1 Tbsp Onion Powder
- 1 Tbsp Garlic Powder
- ½ tsp Black Pepper
- ½ tsp Salt, more or less for taste
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
- Preheat oven to 350 F
- Crunch up the crackers and place in the bowl, add the milk and let the crackers soak it up, takes a couple minutes
- In a large mixing bowl add ground venison, soaked crackers, and if using straight venison with no fat added, add the egg as well. Mix well. I find using your hands is the best
- Begin adding the spices making sure to mix thoroughly as to distribute them evenly in the in the meat. Again, hands is the best ustensil.
- Portion out the mixture, form a meatball and place on a plate or sheet pan. Consistent size is important for even cooking. Let the meatballs set on the plate for a few minutes to help the bind, while preheating the cast iron skillet.
- Have the skillet on Medium heat, add oil to the pan. When the oil is heated through, add the meatballs. Using the Clock Face Method, brown up 3 sides of each meatball to your liking.
- Now put the whole skillet in the oven. Set a timer for approx. 10 minutes. If you can see the meat has been cooked in the center by splitting one apart, they are done.
- Pull meatballs from the skillet and onto a plate. At this point the meatballs are done.
- To finish, pour a jar of pasta sauce into the skillet. Scrape the bottom and mix the renderings of the meatballs into the sauce. Heat until the sauce begins to bubble, add the meatballs back into the skillet and coat with sauce.
- Plate, Serve, Be a hero