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Cooking Kansas City - A Broncos Tailgate Theme

Kansas City is known for their Barbeque, IMO's Pizza and of course the Kansas City Strip, among other things. It is also said that Arrowhead Stadium is one of the best places to Tailgate. In fact, a recent article named it the 3rd best Tailgating destination.

For football fans who know a thing or two about tailgating, it's no surprise that Kansas City makes this list. While other stadiums work hard to crack down on tailgating-mania by limiting parking lot hours, Chiefs' fans light up the smokers a day early and camp out overnight to ensure they are raring to go Sunday morning. It's rare for many NFL stadiums to reach the sort of status of college tailgating, but Arrowhead attendees do it weekly. Part of their secret to success is a mastery of a tailgating menu, and Chief's fans have mastered their barbecue.

Anyhow, because the Kansas City region has many ethnic cultures and neighborhoods, I thought I would stick to one ingredient and offer a few flavor varieties for you to audible. So get the Grill fired up, we've some cookin' to do.

Today's feature is the Meatball Sub Sandwich. I've been hankering for one of these recently, so I decided to share a few of my favorites. You can do these on the grill or at home. I also have some slow cooker or Crock Pot Sauces if you decide to take a shortcut and purchase a big bag of meatballs at Costco.

Italian Meatball Sub

  • 2 slices of white sandwich bread (crusts discarded), torn into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk or 6 Tablespoons plain yogurt thinned with 2 Tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 Lb. ground meat (preferably 3/4 lb. ground chuck and 1/4 lb. ground pork)
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons finely minced parsley leaves
  • 1 Large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • About 1-1/4 cups vegetable oil for pan-frying

Combine the bread and buttermilk in a small bowl, mashing occasionally with a fork until a smooth paste forms, about 10 minutes. Place ground meat, cheese, parsley, egg yolk, garlic, salt and pepper to taste in a separate medium bowl. Add bread-milk slurry to the meat mixture and combine until evenly mixed. Heat about a 1/4" of oil in a large skillet. Take a handful of the meat mixture and form into golf ball sized shapes. Cooking in batches to avoid overcrowding, carefully drop them into the hot oil. Fry, turning once, until evenly browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer meatballs to a paper towel on a platter.

For the Sauce

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried or dried oregano
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 large can (16 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine
  • 6 to 8 sandwich rolls, split and warmed
  • mozzarella cheese

Saute the chopped onion in a skillet with a drizzle of olive oil. Add the tomato sauce, Italian herbs, crushed red pepper flakes, garlic powder and wine. when incorporated and hot, add the meatballs. Cover and simmer for about 1 hour. To serve, place 3 to 4 meatballs in a split roll then top with some sauce from the crock pot. If desired, top with sliced or shredded mozzarella cheese and heat under the broiler just until cheese is melted. Serves 6 to 8.

Asian Meatball Subs With Hoisin Mayonnaise

  • 1 slice white sandwich bread
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 5 scallions, white and green parts separated
  • 1 1/4 pounds ground pork
  • 3 large cloves garlic, finely grated
  • 1 Tablespoon finely grated peeled ginger (about a 2-inch piece)
  • 1/3 cup water chestnuts, drained, rinsed and chopped
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 3 to 4 teaspoons Asian chili-garlic sauce
  • Peanut or vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 4 7-inch long pieces baguette, split open

Tear the sandwich bread into small pieces, then toss with the milk and soy sauce in a large bowl. Let stand 10 minutes. Meanwhile, mince the scallion whites. Cut the scallion greens into thin 2-inch-long strands. Put the strands in a bowl of ice water and refrigerate while you make the meatballs. Add the scallion whites, pork, garlic, ginger, water chestnuts, egg, cilantro, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper to the bowl with the bread; mix until combined. Gently form into 16 golf ball-size meatballs. Put the meatballs on a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 to 4 hours.

Stir the hoisin sauce, mayonnaise, 11/2 tablespoons lime juice, the chili-garlic sauce and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Heat about 1 1/2 inches peanut oil in a large, wide saucepan over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350 degrees F. Add the meatballs in batches and cook, turning occasionally, until browned and cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

Drain the scallion greens and toss with the bean sprouts, the remaining 1 tablespoon lime juice and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Spread the hoisin mayonnaise on the inside of the baguette pieces, then fill with the meatballs and top with the scallion-sprout mixture. Serves 4.

Okay, so you've decided to hit the grocery store and grab a bag of meatballs to cook on the Crock Pot at home, there's nothing wrong with that. I've got two plays called in the huddle and these are Read Option plays. You might just break free and score a touchdown with your guests.

Barbecue Meatballs

Sauce Ingredients
  • 1 Tablespoon oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon cider vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1 heaping tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of liquid smoke
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

Cook 1/4 cup chopped onion in oil until tender. Add remaining sauce ingredients. Simmer 10 minutes. Place meatballs in a crock pot. Pour sauce over, cover, and keep on LOW setting for serving.

Makes about 5 dozen meatballs. You can serve these with pretzel toothpicks or slide them on to a hoagie bun.

Meatballs In Chipotle Sauce

  • 6 chipotle chiles, pickled or en adobo
  • 6 medium tomatoes, roasted & peeled
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 Tablespoons lard (or a little oil and butter)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Puree the chiles, tomatoes, broth, garlic, cumin and oregano. Strain. Sauté the puree in light lard and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring sauce to a boil. Add the meatballs to the slow cooker and cover with the sauce. Cook the meatballs in the Chipotle Sauce for about 1 hour.

That's it for this week's football food corner. As always, good eats and...

Go Broncos!