In a Bind

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by pepper grind, Jul 16, 2015.

  1. pepper grind

    pepper grind

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    Making sweet and sour meatball on basmati later, once again realizing I'm out of egg. To avoid getting my lazy butt to the store I googled some interesting substitutes.

    I didn't realize binding was such a science! I am thinking maybe I can pull it off though without ruining the texture and complimenting the flavor with just the right measurement and ingredients. Here is what I purpose, and would love your opinion:

    The websites suggested pasta, bread crumbs, and oats, all which sounded weird to me because I always thought they were more of a filler, but,I digress. Get to the point, Pepper!

    So, I was thinking either rolled oats or mashed potatoes with apple sauce to hold the moisture since it is moose meat. I wouldn't normally sub with fruity things unless it was a dessert but it is a sweet and sour meal.

    Do you think I can pull this off, or do you have a better suggestion that doesn't involve me getting out of my slippers to get eggs? I suppose I could've already left and been back in the amount of time it took me to research and type this, but whatevs.
     
  2. french fries

    french fries

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    You don't need eggs in meatballs. I never use eggs in my meatballs. I find that makes the meatballs more dense and less moist, as the egg is typically overcooked by the time the meat is fully cooked. Never had a problem with the meat falling apart. 

    On the other hand, I nearly always use bread crumbs (or, in a bind, panko) soaked in milk. I'm not sure if it helps with the binding or not honestly. I just like the flavor and texture it brings to the meatballs. 

    I do add eggs when I make frikadels on the other hand, but the mixture is kept very very moist (lots of milk), much more than for meatballs. 
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2015
  3. pepper grind

    pepper grind

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    That is the answer I was hoping for! I still wonder since the meat is so lean being game, if I should at least add oil or something while rolling the balls? I'm not working with a fattier variety like pork or beef... won't it dry out and crumble when I fry it up?

    Thanks for your reply!
     
  4. french fries

    french fries

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    Ah. Game meat is a whole new ball.... game (sorry, couldn't resist). I use fatty pork or beef meat for my meatballs, I've never tried making meatballs out of lean game. 

    So I'm just guessing here but if it were me I wouldn't use oil, I would try to find some kind of hard fat (bacon, lardo....), mince it and mix it with the game meat. 

    ultimately I suppose you ought to make some test meatballs and try for yourself. I for one would be curious to hear what you end up doing and how it turns out. 

    I'm also curious, what game meat exactly, and what is the recipe for sweet and sour game meatballs?
     
  5. pepper grind

    pepper grind

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    You never need apologize for puns as far as I'm concerned! The further the stretch, the better.

    I'm dealing with an adult moose, and the ingredients will be a basic ketchup with vinegar and maybe sarachi type thing. I'm sorry that I don't have measurements as I go by instinct and texture.

    Was thinking maybe if I cut down on on ketchup, apple sauce would work for moisture and sugar content. Really winging it here. Also, will possibly throw in some ginger, onions, sesame, and finely diced water chestnuts.

    Guessing that might add sufficient moisture? Extra sauce around the meat to caramelize in oven after fried?

    Yeah, I'll tinker as you suggested and let you know.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2015
  6. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    You're in a bind because you're looking for binder?  Your thread title is a pun in itself lol.

    If you were making pork meatballs then applesauce might work very well, I'm not sure how much it would help bind but it would certainly add a flavor that is often paired with pork.  I can see this in a swedish meatbal.

    I don't know about game meat though.  I would probably go in a sweet savory direction with allspice and garlic, maybe even a hint of cinnamon.
     
  7. panini

    panini

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    @Pepper Grind

    Is your moose already ground? If not throw it in the cuisinart a little. Even if you don't, just put them together 
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2015
  8. luc_h

    luc_h

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    a couple of other ideas are:

    Letting salt work on the meat for 1 hour in the fridge will extract muscle protein fibres (mostly myosin and actin) that will help bind your meatballs together when it cooks up.  This principle is use in meat processing and sausage making.

    http://www.nassaufoods.com/index.php?content=basicsofmeatscience

    So simply, add your salt (ideally a larger crystal like pickling or Kosher salt) to cold ground meat, mix well then let it rest 1 hour in the fridge then mix well again.  The meat will get real sticky from the protein extraction. Add your other ingredients and you're ready to go. note: if converting from ground salt to crystal salt you need to add more of the crystal by volume for the same weight.

    Binders: bread crumbs, flour, cornstarch are possibilities.  Tapioca starch (ground to a powder) has a gelling point temperature similar to meat and gives a nice texture and water holding capacity during cooking.

    A common egg replacer is Chickpea flour (a.k.a. Gram flour or Garbanzo bean flour) and is a good binder as well.

    as proposed earlier, and I also concur with your assessment, that you should add some fat. Oil would help but a solid fat (lard) would be better. Adding a high fat cream (35%+) adds fat and give a nice taste as well.

    Luc H.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2015
  9. cerise

    cerise Banned

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    Eggs are not necessary in meatballs.
     
  10. fablesable

    fablesable

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    I use moose meat quite often and we make meatballs with some handmade rendered lard, spices, and ground up flax seed to help keep it all together. I also make moose burgers this way and they hold together beautifully!

    I hope you find your version of moose happy recipes /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif
     
  11. pepper grind

    pepper grind

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    Yay!!! You got my weird punny! I had also considered the cinnamon idea. It would be similar to the coating of Korean BBQ pork., and there is nothing wrong with that!

    I resulted in a mash up inspired by personal instinct and many of the various posted suggestions, and it turned out better than expected! Thanks for the help everyone!
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2015
  12. pepper grind

    pepper grind

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    A lot of posters tips agreed with you to implement some sort of pork fat. I chose to combine lean pork with my moose instead of full on lard, and added some rolled oats. They stayed together and maintained moisture, but might have been because I browned the outside first in oil before slow cooking in oven in the sweet and sour sauce. Thanks again for the advice!
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2015
  13. pepper grind

    pepper grind

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    Oh, heavens yes! It was already ground,. . Or else I would have been in an even bigger bind!😁
     
  14. pepper grind

    pepper grind

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  15. pepper grind

    pepper grind

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    I used your tip too, but subbed soy sauce for salt. I don't know whether this was a good idea or I just got lucky. I figured it was salty and sticky and might compliment the Asian flavor a bit. I did let it sit and marry in the meat in my defense.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2015
  16. pepper grind

    pepper grind

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    I
    I now 100% agree :) Thanks!
     
  17. pepper grind

    pepper grind

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    Awww, thank you! Ground flax was the one ingredient I really wanted to try but didn't have on hand.
     
  18. luc_h

    luc_h

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    Did the soy sauce work? yes it contains salt but also some flavour.  Pure salt crystals extracts the meat protein a little better than a salty solution like soy sauce.

    If it worked than great!... the scientific reasoning holds true.

    Luc H.
     
  19. panini

    panini

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    When i asked if your moose was ground. I was thinking some times when I have ground game we make a breakfast sausage by adding. Papa, Blk. Pep, nutmeg, cayenne, sage, thyme, coriander. coarse salt and pulse it a little. In the ice box and the patties hold up very well so I thought they would make great meatballs. Maybe next time you can make a moose mousse?/img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif
     
  20. pepper grind

    pepper grind

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    I still have no idea how I was successful because I used so many different tips and a cooking method I wouldn't normally with the fry and simmer.

    I have a feeling mixing the moose with pork helped, and don't know if I needed as many oats as I added if any at all. Not sure if soya sauce had anything to do with it, but with such a high sodium content and that it is liquid, I took the risk it might meld well in a meatball containing no egg. I think you should stick to your advice of straight up salt because I don't know why it worked out and your way makes more sense.

    I am mourning the loss of one meatball, which did crumble. I'm hoping its because it was the last meatball created from the scraps left in the bowl. The other 23 seem ok!

    RIP little meatball. I'm glad I didn't name you.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2015