Bacon Meatball Subs from The Cilantropist

Continuing with a meatball theme this week…

When I was doing my weekly meal plan on Sunday, I planned to buy both ground beef and ground pork, two things I don’t typically buy, so I had to come up with two recipes that used them. The Swedish Meatballs just so happened to use approximately 1/2 lb of each (or at least for the quantities I wanted to make) so it worked out perfectly to finally get to the Bacon Meatball Subs by The Cilantropist that I’ve had bookmarked for several weeks now.

I really like The Cilantropist, not just for her cleverly named blog, but because her recipes are sophisticated but not impossible. There are a ton of recipes based on new ingredients and flavor combinations that I’m eager to try, and they aren’t comprised of things that I would have difficulty finding in some of the higher end grocery chains and without breaking the grocery budget.

Also, The Cilantropist’s photography is fantastic and presentation is is worthy of aspiration. It’s certainly better than my chuck it on a plate and find a good angle style of food photography!

This! This is what I love about cooking. I’ve already semi-crispied up some bacon, and now I’m sweating this diced onion, celery, garlic, and mushrooms on the remaining bacon grease. I don’t know if I like the sound of the sizzle better or the smell that emanates from sauteing.

And just as you think it can’t get any better we add some sage, rosemary, and thyme to the mix.

In the food processor we combine the sauteed veg with the bacon. You may want larger pieces if you can – my Fopro is like a Dalek in that it pretty much has only one setting – EXTERMINATE!

This stuff smells a bit like Thanksgiving stuffing – mix in some stuffing croutons, a little chicken broth and maybe a little breakfast sausage, dried cranberries? Hmmm….

In another bowl, while the bacon mixture is cooling off a bit, we have the meat, an egg, a small amount of breadcrumbs, milk, soy sauce and fennel, coriander, nutmeg, paprika and a little salt and pepper. I mixed this up really well before adding the bacon/veg to it.

If you read my previous post, you’ll know that meatballs are created magically in my kitchen while the camera’s not looking.

A little trick I learned when pan-frying a meatball – don’t try to pick them with tongs or scrape them with a spatula to flip them. I find that using a utensil tends to tear them off the pan leaving an outer shell to stick and burn to the pan, which creates blackened bits in your meatballs. Instead, be patient and let them be for a few minutes before trying to move them, once you think they’re starting to burn just shake the pan – it’ll slide the meatballs around and flip them a little without tearing them.

Here’s after the first shake and flip. A nice crust developed, so now I’ll have plenty of time to make sure these are cooked through without burning them.

Buns! I thought I’d try cutting ’em from the top. Usually these tend to break fully in half when you try cutting and splitting them from the sides (cheap crappy buns). That does not make for good meatball subs.

Toasted under a low broiler, added some Mozz, and then broiled a little bit more to melt the cheese..

And then I was out of control with the marinara! This happened to be leftover pizza sauce from last Saturday. Not from a jar, baby!

So there we have it. I think it’s obvious that these were quite good. The bacon was a very prominent flavor in the meatball and added a nice crunch.

These meatballs were really fun to make, and if I learned one thing in this process it’s that when I typically prepare food for a blog post I’m typically rushing to get dinner on the table. So, I think in the coming weeks I’ll plan a little more in advance and see how much better in quality my photos and posts become.

Be sure to stop by and visit The Cilantropist!


  1. I liked these tasty sammiches quite a bit, though I think next time I will skip the marinara; I didn't love how the sauce tasted along with the bacon. A weird combo for me!

    ps: congrats on the Top 9 today honey bunches! 😉

  2. Oh bacon, yeah that's the one. A nice juicy meatball sandwich is sooooo GOOD. Thank you for giving us meatball week! And thanks for making me hungry. Again. I hope that you have a good weekend!

  3. Wow thanks for your very kind description of my site and my recipes, and I am SO glad you chose this one to make – I loooooove these meatballs. 😀 And your suggestion for browning them without using tongs is a great idea, because I find the same thing happens to me (that I tear them) when I try to use strong utensils. Yay for bacon!

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