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Italian Style Venison Meatballs

Our contributor Anjuli is back with another delicious recipe!

The moment the temperature drops below 70 degrees in September, even if it’s only for a day or two, my kitchen turns into a mad scientist’s playground. That is how these home ground, Italian style venison meatballs or, as a friendly taste tester dubbed them – ‘meat candy’, came into existence. The very best part about these?! The venison came from the deer I harvested, butchered and carried home from Texas on an adventure getaway with Georgia

Italian Style Venison Meatballs:

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Italian Style Venison Meatballs

Italian Style Venison Meatballs

If you happen to have some whole cuts of venison in your freezer, you should try grinding the meat blend for these yourself. You will not be disappointed in the results! For a ‘How To’ or quick refresher on home meat processing, check out the post ‘How to Grind Meat at Home’ for instructions and tips. My recipe is also gluten free because I have a family member with celiac; to deny her this deliciousness would have ended badly for me!

Italian Style Venison Meatballs

Let us know how this recipe looks to you in the comments section below and definitely check out the rest of Georgia’s wild game recipes!

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Italian Style Venison Meatballs - adapted from 'The Food Lab' by J. Kenji López-Alt

Total Time1 hour 30 minutes


  • 2 lb. fresh ground venison blend or 3/4 lb. ground chuck + 3/4 lb. ground venison + 1/2 lb. ground pork
  • 1 tablespoon Salt
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 gluten free toaster waffles; toasted and finely chopped or 4 slices of white bread
  • 1 cup buttermilk or buttermilk substitute
  • Oil for browning


  • Combine the meat and 1 tablespoon of salt in a large bowl and allow to rest for 30 minutes
  • In another bowl, soak waffles (or bread) in buttermilk and leave for 10 minutes
  • After 30 minutes, make a well in the meat and add all other ingredients
  • Mix by hand until evenly combined - you may choose to wear gloves but I don't mind an occasional 'meat manicure'!
  • With a large spoon or small ice cream scoop, scoop about 3 tablespoons of meat mix and roll it into a 1.5 inch diameter ball, placing on a lined baking sheet when complete - this should yield around 30 meatballs
  • Place meatballs in the refrigerator for up to 30 minutes - this helps them hold together when you cook them
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  • In a large heavy bottomed pan, cast iron skillet or Dutch oven, heat about 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil on medium heat until a test piece of meat sizzles when it touches the oil
  • Working in batches, brown meatballs for about 2 minutes per side - I usually end up with slightly square meatballs because I squish them a little flat on each side as I brown them
  • Place browned meatballs on a separate parchment lined baking sheet when finished and put them in your preheated oven for about 10 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit


*I make mine gluten free for a family member and the best breading option I've found is gluten free toaster waffles. They hold together well and have a neutral flavor; plus they hold their crunch unlike most other gluten free bread options which can end up soggy.
*Buttermilk substitutes include the following; for 1 cup buttermilk:
2/3 cup yogurt + 1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream + 1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup crème fraîche + 1/2 cup milk
1 cup milk + 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar; allow to sit for 5-10 minutes until slightly curdled
*You can certainly cook your meatballs entirely through in the pan on the stove or, if you are using a tomato sauce, add them to the preheated sauce after they are browned and simmer for 10-20 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.


  • Nancy
    Posted January 6, 2019 at 5:28 pm

    Hi! I Made these tonight, and they were great! Thanks

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