How Alton Brown Uses A Mini Muffin Tin To Make Meatballs

Contrary to what their name suggests, meatballs aren't just balls of meat. In addition to ground beef and pork, they also contain breadcrumbs, various herbs and spices, sometimes ricotta, sometimes parmesan cheese, and eggs to bind it all together. The long list of ingredients, however, isn't the most complicated part about making meatballs. It's actually the cooking process that is.

According to Home Cook World, meatballs can quickly go from perfectly moist to dry and rubbery. This is due to the fact that traditionally they're cooked twice. First they're fried on the stove, then they're transferred to a pot of tomato sauce to simmer. If you let them sit for too long at either stage, you'll be left with overcooked meatballs, and no amount of sauce can fix that.

To prevent this from happening, you just have to monitor the meatballs at all times. Home Cook World recommends using a meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature doesn't go over 160 degrees. Alton Brown, on the other hand, has a much more effective hack.

Use your muffin tin next time you make meatballs

In an episode of "Good Eats" (via Facebook) Alton Brown revealed that he bakes his meatballs in the oven from start to finish. This allows the meatballs to cook at an even temperature the whole way through so there's less risk of overcooking. It also means you can cook all your meatballs at once instead of in separate batches the size of your pan. And, because the method uses a muffin tin rather than a baking tray, there's no need for any flipping or temperature measuring.

The one downside to this method is that the oven prevents you from getting a good sear on the edges of the meatballs like you would if you were to pan fry them. That texture is important, so to achieve this, Brown uses breadcrumbs. Just before adding the meatballs into the muffin tin, he coats each one in breadcrumbs. Once they bake, they're both crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside.