Prep Time: 10 min
Chill Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 25 min
- 4 strips sugar-free, nitrate-free bacon
- 1 tablespoon grated onion (about 1/4 medium onion)
- 1/2 fresh jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed, minced
- 1 pound ground beef
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 2 tablespoons warm water
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 cup minced dill pickle
- 1/4 cup minced raw tomato
- 1/4 cup minced raw onion
NOTE: Why cream of tartar and baking soda? Traditional ground meat recipes are usually tenderized with breadcrumbs. I use a cream of tartar/baking soda combo to keep the meat light and juicy, with a nice, crisp exterior.
- Preheat the oven to 425F and cover a large, rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil
- Cut the bacon crosswise into 1/4-inch wide pieces. Place the chopped bacon in a large, cold skillet, turn the heat to medium-high, and fry the bacon until it’s crisp, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel. Pour the grease out of the skillet, leaving whatever clings to the pan, and place it back on the heat.
- Add the onion and jalapeño to the pan and sauté until the jalapeño is soft, 2-3 minutes. Set the pan aside until the veg are cool to the touch.
- In a large bowl, place the ground beef, salt, pepper, paprika, bacon, and the vegetables from the skillet. In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix the water with cream of tartar and baking soda. Pour into the bowl with the meat and mix until all the ingredients are evenly distributed. Cover and refrigerate at least 20 minutes and up to overnight. Meanwhile…
- Make the relish. Mix all the minced ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.
- Make the Awesome Sauce. Mix all the ingredients together in another small bowl and refrigerate until it’s time to eat.
- Remove the meat dough from the fridge. Moisten your hands with cold water and shake to remove excess. Measure a rounded tablespoon of meat and roll into a ball between your palms, then gently flatten it a little bit so it’s almost like a mini burger patty (that will make it easy to top with relish later). Line up the meatballs on the prepared baking sheet, about 1/2 inch apart. Slide the meatballs into the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, until browned and cooked through.
- Serve immediately, topped with a little relish and a drizzle of Awesome Sauce.
Our thanks to Melissa Joulwan for this outstanding meatball recipe. Melissa is the author of the best-selling Well Fed cookbook series and the blog www.MelJoulwan.com, where she writes about her triumphs and failures in the gym, in the kitchen, and in life. Her newest cookbook is Well Fed Weeknights: Complete Paleo Meals in 45 Minutes Or Less (November 1, 2016).