Let’s talk a little bit about balls. What makes for an ideal ball? Is it a matter of shape? Size? Density? Aroma? Presentation? This is a very personal issue for me, because the balls I’m about to evaluate are near and dear to my heart. They’re dense, they’re Italian…they’re meatballs.
Yes, this is the 2015 Baller Meatball Ball-Off, in which we order the meatballs from various eateries and rate them on five key characteristics:
The first four measures are fairly self-explanatory — a good plate of meatballs must be the right size, have excellent flavors, come with a quality sauce that enhances the meat, and be well-appointed upon the plate. But what is this fifth quality that we have deemed essential — ballerness? It’s a bit more ephemeral. To judge the ballerness of a meatball, you need to answer questions like these in the affirmative:
- Does this meatball bring true swag to the plate?
- Does Skee-lo wish he was more like this meatball?
- Might this meatball have been a classmate of Terrell Suggs at his alma mater, Ball So Hard University?
- Would Adam Sandler accept this meatball as payment for a singing lesson?
- Would Scott Conant agree that this meatball is “a solid representation of its culture?”
- Would your drunk Italian uncle take a bite of this meatball, go “OHHHHH!“, and toast it with Sambuca shots at every family gathering for the next ten years?
Now that you’ve taken a crash course in what it means for a meatball to truly possess ballerness, we can begin with the judging.
So let’s dig in. An order of Franktuary meatballs typically comes sandwich style, but to really give the balls a fair showing, we had them cradled in leaves of romaine lettuce so as not to distract from the main attraction.
Now let’s go through it, point by point. These balls were on the small side, but delightfully tender. The sauce was light and unobtrusive. It was tangy, but it didn’t hide any of the meat’s own seasoning and natural flavor. Moving on to the flavor, it was excellent and uniform with every bite. The cheese topping had a nice richness to it. I don’t know if these balls are slow-cooked, but they sure taste like they have been stewing for a while. On the presentation front…well, they’re cupped in a hammock of romaine. They looked serviceable, to be sure, but a little short of eye-popping. And as for their essential ballerness? We’d have to say they fell in the mid-range. These were not LeBrons, nor were they Woody Harrelson in White Men Can’t Jump.
We score these meaty baller meatballs at a solid 3.6 out of 5. Ball on!