RECIPE: Talladega 'The Big One' Meatball

May 5, 2017

NASCAR is in Talladega, Ala. this weekend so we are celebrating with the cuisine found at the track. This recipe was made famous at Talladega Super Speedway where everything is bigger! 

This softball-size meatball, made to resemble an Italian meatball impaled with a forkful of pasta, holds a secret filling. The Big One is actually a deep-fried meatball filled with a molten center of smoky pulled pork, two cheeses, and BBQ sauce. 

TIP: Panko, also known as Japanese breadcrumbs, add a bold crunchy texture to these meatballs. You can find them next to traditional breadcrumbs in the baking aisle of your local grocery store.

PREPARATION: 

  1. Combine pulled pork, shredded cheese and ¼ cup BBQ sauce in a bowl and mix to blend. Using your hands, shape into 4 round balls; refrigerate for 5 minutes.
  2. Combine steak seasoning, salt, onion, and parsley in a large bowl and stir to blend; add ground beef and mix lightly to incorporate seasoning. Divide into 4 equal portions.
  3. To make each meatball: lightly shape 1 portion ground beef mixture into a ball; make an indentation in the center and stuff with BBQ pulled pork mixture. Wrap ground beef mixture around filling, seal and pat with your hands until outer surface is smooth. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
  4. Pour beaten egg into a shallow dish, add panko bread crumbs in another shallow dish. Dip each chilled meatball in egg mixture to evenly coat; dredge in panko crumbs to evenly coat and repeat a second time to fully cover meatball with breading. Repeat with remaining meatballs.
  5. Heat oil in electric deep fryer according to manufacturer’s directions. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  6. Gently lower 1 meatball into the deep fryer and fry until breading has a golden brown appearance (about 1 minute). Carefully remove from the fryer, drain and transfer to baking sheet. Repeat with remaining meatballs.
  7. Bake uncovered for 60 to 70 minutes, or until fully cooked.
  8. To serve: portion each meatball in a shallow bowl, top with ¼ cup BBQ sauce. Top each with a twirl of pasta on a fork, if desired. Garnish with minced parsley.

INGREDIENTS: 

  • 4 oz. smoky pulled pork
  • 4 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 4 oz. shredded pepper Jack cheese
  • 1 1/4 cup BBQ sauce, divided
  • 2 teaspoons Montreal steak seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup fine chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon fine chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 3 cups panko bread crumbs
  • As needed, vegetable oil
  • 1/4 pound thin spaghetti, cooked al dente, drained (optional)
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced fresh parsley