Grandma LaBarber’s Meatballs

This is the recipe I use when making meatballs – otherwise, I would have to listen to my husband’s protests of ‘these don’t taste like my grandma’s meatballs’, followed by a walk down memory lane filled with big chunks of onions, perfect spices, and huge, glorious, melt-in-your-mouth meatballs drenched in red sauce. I never met her, but the stories about Grandma LaBarber’s cooking prowess run rampant. She was truly the standard by which all other cooks are judged!

These are great meatballs, by the way, whether eaten straight out of the pan or nestled atop a mountain of red sauce-covered pasta. While I normally only use extra-lean ground beef, these beauties call for ground chuck, and that’s what they get! While my cooking will never rival Grandma LaBarber’s, I do my best to give my husband a taste of that legendary cooking.

Grandma LaBarber's Meatballs
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins

If you're gonna make meatballs, make them big, juicy, and full of Italian flavor. Whether you eat them nestled atop red sauce-covered pasta, or in an Italian steak roll slathered with red sauce and buried in melted mozzarella, these meatballs make a big statement! I suggest doubling, or even tripling, this recipe and freezing any leftovers (if there are any). 

Sear and partially cook meatballs if canning in red sauce.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4 people
Author: WW
  • 1 lb. ground chuck
  • 2/3 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 ea. eggs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup parsley to taste
  • sprinkle pepper to taste
  • 3/4 tsp. salt to taste
  • 1 ea. onion, medium chopped
  • 1 clove garlic chopped
  • 1 dash powdered cloves optional
  • basil 1/2 tsp. or more if desired
  • fennel seeds 1/2 tsp. or more if desired
  1. Mix all ingredients together in medium bowl.

  2. Form meatballs about 1-1/2" diameter

  3. Place in heated frying pan and cook until no longer pink, turning occasionally to brown all sides.

  4. Remove from pan and drain on paper towel-covered plate, or immediately add to red sauce.

Recipe Notes
  1. We get our Parmesan cheeses from Latina Importing in Niagara Falls, NY via special delivery from visiting friends. Whenever we visit there, we always bring home Latina's cheese (enough to last the whole year). These cheeses freeze well (thank goodness) when vacuum-sealed.
  2. Meatballs can also be baked on a nonstick cookie sheet at 425 °F for about 15 minutes (but it's just not the same).

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