It looks like panko on the outside of these meatballs, but it’s not panko. It’s something much, much better.
I read somewhere, (which I meant to link back to but someone exed out of my browser before I got to it, which meant I lost all my open tabs) that a renowned chef somewhere in England’s meatballs are so good because he uses pork cracklin’s (otherwise know as “chicharrones”) in them. Which clearly made me think that was about the best idea ever. When concocting what type of meatball to make, I thought about what types of cuisine are especially porky. I went back and forth between something Spanish or something Asian and settled on Korean inspired meatballs, mostly because I had some gochujang in my fridge that was starting to form a film and it needed to be used up.
Using pork rinds is actually an old paleo trick to replace breadcrumbs. It works amazingly well. Luckily I live in Texas, so I don’t have to make my own chicharrones, I can just buy them fresh made at the Mexican grocery store. You can always buy some pork skin, however, and just kind of fry it up and make them yourself. You can use the fat in the pan to cook something else in, or wait for it to cool some and drizzle it into the meatballs. I would not suggest this if you are not using venison but instead using a fatty meat. If you really can’t find either pork skin or fresh made chicharrones, I guess you could use those like pork rind things you get in chip bags – if you must. Make sure to set a good amount aside to either sprinkle on top of or roll your meatballs in. It really makes them delicious looking.
The other ingredient in this recipe you might not have on hand is the gochujang, or Korean red chile paste. It’s got a little kick to it but is pretty mild, nowhere near as spicy as Siracha. Do keep in mind though that the spice level does kind of vary brand to brand, so it’s best to taste a little before you use it and adjust accordingly. It can be a little on the salty side so you really shouldn’t need much salt, especially if you are using salted chicharrones. These meatballs were so good we ate them all up and I ended up having to make another batch the next day for El Gallo’s hollow leg.
- 2lb ground venison
- 1 1/2 cup chicharrones (blended, plus more roughly chopped for garnish)
- 1 egg
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1/2-1 " fresh ginger (grated)
- 2 tablespoons gochujang (Korean chile paste)
- 2 green onions (finely sliced)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/3 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons gochujang
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
|Preheat the oven to 350. Mix together all the meatball ingredients. Roll into equally sized balls and bake on a foil lined pan or mini muffin tin for about 12 minutes, or until finished. Meanwhile, combine all the sauce ingredients in a sauce pan and cook on medium until it just starts to bubble.|
|Toss the meatballs in the sauce, garnish with more chicharrones, and serve with rice or as an appetizer.|