Posted by: Erica Retrochef | October 1, 2012

Meatball Yummies

OK, marketing department, we need to have a chat.

I understand it’s tough to come up with appealing names for all these crazy recipes you whip up. But really, “Meatball Yummies?” How am I supposed to serve these at any party with adults — a faculty potluck, a baby shower, football tailgating — and when they ask what I’ve brought, I brightly smile and say, “Meatball Yummies!”

This is the language I use with an infant when I’m trying to convince him no, squooshy peas are really delicious, open your mouth here comes Split Pea Soup Yummies!

Meatball Yummies

1 lb. ground beef
1/3 cup dry bread crumbs
1 egg
2 tablespoons Prime Choice Steak Sauce
2 tablespoons oil
1/3 cup Prime Choice
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter or margarine

Combine beef, bread crumbs, egg, and 2 tablespoons Prime Choice. Mix and shape into 1 inch meatballs. Brownin oil in skillet. Drain fat from skillet. Combine 1/3 cup Prime Choice, brown sugar, and butter with meatballs in skillet. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes or until done. Makes about 2 dozen meatballs.

Or maybe these are choice hors d’œuvre intended for a children’s party.

This promises to be a very brown dish.

Not even the egg yolk can add much color here.

Here are the meatballs. Where are the yummies?

Like any hamburger recipe, a lot of grease comes out of the meat when it cooks. (All that oil sure was necessary…)

So. We drain off all the oil and fat. And then we add butter. (WHAAAAAAT…)

I guess… this is the yummies?

They then simmered for 15 minutes to finish cooking and absorb a bit of the surrounding flavor. It was nice to be able to walk away from the insanity for a little while and pretend I wasn’t about to try to eat this.

The extra cooking time was basically just an opportunity for more fat to come out of the meatballs, making for a very goopy, greasy sauce.

See that yellow greasy smear around the sauce? Yeah, that’s all the butter leaking out.

Alternative recipe names suggested during the meal:

  • Sweet Meat
  • Meatballs Cooked in Three Kinds of Grease
  • Sweetballs
  • Triple Greaseballs
  • Pickle Meatballs
  • Meatball Yuckies
  • I Don’t Like These, Stop Asking Me What They Should Be Called

To give the recipe some credit, the meatballs were very tender. The breadcrumbs and egg balance was wrong (or something), because they tended to fall apart easily. But the vinegary flavor (from the steak sauce) and the extra sugar, not to mention the loads of grease, made these downright unpleasant. You’d have to serve these as party snacks, because nobody would want to eat more than one.

Shelf Life Taste Test agrees that these meatballs look pretty grim and gloopy.


  1. I thought this recipe would have been a winner (personally, I have never met a meatball I didn’t like!). Maybe using leaner hamburger and baking the meatballs? I agree, there’s too much grease here.

  2. So sad that they weren’t, in fact, yummy.

  3. There’s an additional subtext here. I hate steak sauce. I mean, I really hate it. It’s vile stuff, and just looking at the selection of steak sauce varieties at the supermarket made me start to feel nauseous. Since the type depicted in the recipe with its “special hint of sweetness” wasn’t available, I bought the smallest bottle I could find, to minimize leftovers. (I was worried that regular A1 might not be sweet enough, but if the dish was supposed to be sweeter than it was, I shudder to imagine.) When I brought the mini bottle home, we tossed it back and forth for a while, nobody wanting to open it. When I finally did, I thought the contents smelled like pure cider vinegar, and when I tasted the sauce, I remember why I’ve stayed the heck away from the stuff for decades.

    And the meatballs were greasy. Very greasy.

  4. Gotta agree with Buzz on the whole steak sauce thing. To me, A1 and Heinz 57 and the rest of that ilk all taste and smell like some kind of solvent. Solvent that would be used to clean a bus station bathroom floor.
    P.S. I vote for Meatball Yuckies.

  5. Oooh. This just sounds so, so bad. And it’s not like the picture from the magazine screams “good eats!” either.

    You guys really need a dog. Or several.

  6. Buzz is right, A-1, A-2, whatever the ‘Steak Sauce’ name, is the Devil’s own sweat!! A tasty, tasty cow gave it’s very LIFE for that steak, or that burger, why OH WHY would you put ‘sauce’ on it!!! It’s an insult to our mooing friends.


    Now, as to the meatballs, ground chuck would make all the difference in the world here I think. I think using 1//2 cup of beard crumbs would help too. Of course none of that accounts for that bloody steak sauce.

    why make my poor little dog suffer!? The little Rusty dog never hurt nobody! Give it cats, they’ll eat anything with meat in it! [nudge, nudge, wink, wink] Actually if it’s that greasy, sweety, nasty, yucky, weirdy, I’d pitch it so I don’t have to clean up after the dogs OR cats.

    • It WAS ground chuck. Don’t forget all the extra oil and butter. (OR, try to forget it, it may haunt your nightmares…)

      • These meatballs must be made with Prime Choice steak sauce. It’s not easy to find locally, but can be purchased online.
        My family loves these, but I can’t imagine them turning out good using A-1.
        They’re pretty sweet, but we like them better than the chili sauce & jelly meatballs

  7. I’ve made them for years using A1 sauce and they may look yucky but they are amazing. You have to make the sauce to your own liking. Looks can be deceiving. Their really good with mashed potatoes and broccoli & cheese. Don’t knock them til you try them 🙂

    • I DID try them… and didn’t like them. I can imagine adjusting the recipe to make it better, but I didn’t even enjoy it enough to feel like it was worth the work.

  8. Hmmm…I have not tried this recipe but, in all fairness to the advertiser, Prime Choice Steak Sauce is completely different than A1. Prime Choice tastes more like a spiceless chutney and doesn’t have that vinegary bite.

    • That’s a really useful observation; it would come out tastier with a different sauce base flavor!

  9. These are a family favorite that we have adapted over the years. The Prime Choice Steak Sauce is key, but we can’t get it any longer. Some store brands with tamarind used to work, but the one we used has too much cloves now.
    I now make the sauce using 1 c raisins, 1/2 c chopped dates and 2 T tamarind concentrate (a liquid), plus onion powder and maybe 1 T molasses. Cook together in 2 c water until all is soft and reduced about 30%. Blend til smooth.

    It gives a very different flavor than A1.

  10. Oh! Also, our original recipe adds (at the end) a can of pineapple chunks (with juice) and 1/3 c brown sugar.

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