The holiday season is a time for gatherings, large and small. Quite often they involve bringing a dish. Immediately logistics come into play such as ease of traveling as some dished travel better than others. At the same time the setting must be considered as well which will dictate the type of dish you can bring. My husband was going to a holiday football game with 30 other football fans. He
wanted to bring something for the tailgate party before the game. Since most of the offerings for the tailgate party would be snack type, we made a large batch of meatballs. Meatballs are one of my larger gathering stand-by dishes. Depending on the setting, I make and serve them in the slow cooker or in a large foil baking pan in the oven. A larger batch can be made using the foil baking pan. This method is great for those gatherings where using a slow cooking is not possible or for larger gatherings where the meatballs can be kept hot in the oven until ready to serve.
I started with 10 lb of lean ground beef in two batches for easier mixing. I sprinkled a little garlic pepper over the meat then mixed well. Actually, my husband did the mixing so this was a team effort! I poured a bit of cold milk over the meat to serve as the binder for the meatballs. Milk allows the meatballs to keep their shape during cooking resulting in firm yet tender meatballs. My husband formed the meatballs by hand then we fried them using four non-stick skillets. The cream interior skillets are ceramic non-stick while the darker interior ones are T-fal. The browned meatballs were transferred to the foil baking pan to finish cooking in the oven as each pan was ready. I poured Sweet Baby Ray's barbeque sauce over each addition of meatballs. I started the meatballs at 120°C/250°F to keep warm until all the meatballs were added to the pan then I made the final addition of barbeque sauce, about a cup of water and increased the temperature to 177°C/350°F. Had I been cooking the meatballs in the slow cooker, I would have omitted adding the water.
I always make beef or venison meatballs using only meat, milk and either garlic pepper or Montreal steak seasoning. I keep the seasoning light so the meatballs can be used with any desired sauce, homemade or otherwise. These meatballs can be home canned in sauce if desired and they freeze nicely. I like keeping a few pounds of cooked meatballs in the freezer for a quick entertainment dish or using a few for dinner.
If you need a simple, easy dish that is sure to please make up a batch of meatballs. Add a bottle of barbeque sauce of your choice and some toothpicks for a tasty appetizer perfect for holiday entertaining! Don't forget to make extra for a quick meal start during the busy holiday season.