The Meatwave: Barbecue & Grilling Recipes, Reviews, Tips, and Tricks

Tue Aug 9, 2011

Keftedes

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Meativersary

Whew, with all those veggies at Virginia is for Meat Lovers, it's best that I get this blog back on track with some hardcore meat, and what's more meaty than meatballs? Pure, uninhibited meat, that's what I'm about right now, and these Greek meatballs deliver on that plus a whole lot more with the excellent and unique flavor of the herbs that define these little balls of goodness.

Keftedes

Now that's what I'm talking about, pure meat. These meatballs start with ground chuck, which I always prefer to grind at home. Just like a burger, getting a nice fatty piece will ensure these stay juicy and burst with beefiness after being grilled.

Keftedes

I said I needed uninhibited meat, but I guess you could fault me here because there is a fair amount mixed into the beef, but it's all for a good cause. First some milk soaked bread, along with eggs, helps bind the meatballs and add a little extra moisture. Then the seasonings of oregano, mint, and garlic is mixed in and creates the ubiquitous Greek flavor you'd recognize the second you bite into one of the finished meatballs.

Keftedes

Working the meatballs is just what's called for after a veggie stretch. There's something pleasing to me in working the mixture by hand and then subsequently forming the meatballs. Grilling a steak has a very primal feel, while meatballs, on the other hand, falls somewhere between that and memories of play dough as a kid—an oddly satisfying combination.

Keftedes

The meatiness just keeps coming once these hit the grill—a grate covered in meat is a sight for sore eyes. While they ended up being a tad soft for the grill (maybe a little less bread is called for), they still grilled up to browned beauties and held together well.

Keftedes

Finally, a plate full of meat, putting this blog back on the right track. Juicy and beefy, these meatballs started off with a winning combo, then the herbs and garlic gave them a great fresh Greek taste. A spritz of lemon is all these really needed to be outstandingly delicious, but I also served my keftedes with a side of tzatziki, which just deepened the Greek flavor and was a nice compliment.

Keftedes

Ingredients

1 pound ground beef, 80% lean
4 slices of white bread
1 cup milk
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup of finely chopped fresh oregano
3 tablespoons finely chopped mint
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 eggs, beaten
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

For serving
Tzatziki
Lemon wedges

Procedure

1. Place the milk in a swallow bowl and dunk each piece of bread in and then squeeze the excess liquid out. Tear bread into chunks and place in a large bowl.

2. Add the beef, onions, oregano, mint, garlic, eggs, salt and pepper in the bowl with the bread and then mix with your hands until thoroughly combined. Roll out meat mixture into balls 1 1/2 inches in diameter.

3. Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over the charcoal grate. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Place the meatballs on the grill and cook until well browned all over and cooked through, about 8 minutes total, 2 minutes per side. Remove from the grill and serve with tzatziki and lemon wedges.

Comments

  • 01
  • Genie says
    Beautiful photos. I've never used mint with beef before. Usually reserve it for lamb. I guess you could also try this recipe with lamb too?
    Posted Tue, Aug 9 2011 11:24pm
  • 02
  • Anna says
    Hello:-)
    If you are just a foreigner who loves Greek cuisine with no connection at all to Greece, then congratulations on this recipe!
    After all these years of surfing around in cooking blogs and sites, it is probably the first time I see someone from abroad posting the recipe for "Keftedes" so accurately!
    Most people (unfortunately even some of those who are related to Greece one way or another) they make the mistake to mix up the recipe for "Keftedes" with the one for "Biftekia" (burgers) when they should not.
    The only thing missed in your recipe, so to have the ultimate Greek keftedes, is the parsley:-)
    Congratulations again and as a Greek I thank you for being so careful using the correct labels next to the dishes!
    Posted Wed, Aug 10 2011 12:55pm
  • 03
  • Josh says
    @ Anna Thanks! Glad to hear this is pretty accurate. I'm not Greek, but live in Astoria--where Greek restaurants abound--so I'm pretty familiar with the different Greek foods and how they taste. I spent a week in Greece once too, but I was poor and lived off the cheapest souvlaki and gyros I could find, all which were better than most places here.
    Posted Wed, Aug 10 2011 3:09pm
  • 04
  • Anna says
    Hi Josh! Thanks of the reply
    Living in Astoria explains a lot:-) I have plenty of relatives in various areas around the US and a few of them are based in NY and I think close to Astoria. Glad to know that you enjoyed souvlaki and gyros, next time try the "kontosouvli" and "kokoretsi" as well:-) Delicious!
    Posted Thu, Aug 11 2011 4:05am
  • 05
  • Kath says
    Hey there,
    I'm venturing into the world of cooking and looking forward to trying out your recipe. I'm thinking mashing meat with my hands should be pretty foolproof, right *fingers crossed*. Newbie that I am, can you tell me about how many meatballs I'd get from following your recipe? Thanks!
    Posted Sat, Aug 13 2011 1:38pm
  • 06
  • Chris says
    I should have read this yesterday when I was trying to think of something to make to finish off my last batch of ground chuck. These little beauties look perfect!
    Posted Sun, Aug 14 2011 8:40am
  • 07
  • Josh says
    @Kath I can't remember exactly how many meatballs this made, but 1 pound of ground beef should be good for 3-4 people as a meal, or a little more as an appetizer.

    Hope they turn out well for you!

    @Chris I made some Italian meatballs yesterday with chuck (and pork). They turned out soooo well, I can't wait to share the recipe.
    Posted Sun, Aug 14 2011 5:04pm
  • 08
  • Alvin says
    Our Meat Recipes section contains a number of mouthwatering meat recipes. http://bit.ly/qt6xzX

    Posted Thu, Sep 22 2011 8:09pm
  • 09
  • Shelby says
    Made these last night for the Greek boyfriend. We both loved them, thanks for posting
    Posted Tue, Oct 18 2011 1:17pm
  • 10
  • Maggie Corkery says
    Have spent wonderful vacations on the Greek Island of Paros and am always happy to try Greek recipes. Made these last night and they were amazing. Thanks!
    Posted Sun, Aug 18 2013 10:40am
  • 11
  • john says
    There is a Peloponnesian version: 1lb ground pork, garlic, onion, bread, soaked and squeezed dry, 1 egg, paprika (yes paprika), salt pepper.saute the onion and garlic in a little butter... then Blend all and make your walnut sized keftedes. Fry in a pan with olive oil (enough to make about 1/2 inch deep in whatever size pan you are using..I use a smaller 8 in pan. After frying all the keftedes, place them in a deep serving platter. Take 1/2 red wine combine with remains of the frying in the skillet. Stir well until the wine is heated thru, and drizzle over the Keftedes.. serve with a fresh green salad. MMMMM.. a little tzatziki if you like, a glass of wine or cold beer.. mmmmmmm

    Posted Thu, Aug 22 2013 3:06pm

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