These sweet and spicy homemade Korean Meatballs are packed with flavor, thanks to lean ground beef, garlic, ginger and one secret Korean ingredient!!Jump to Recipe
This post is sponsored by Iowa Beef,
but all opinions and text are my own!
Did you know that over 30 million acres of land in Iowa are used for farming? Can you imagine 30 million football fields? Tough, isn't it?! That's a lot of space...all used for growing crops and livestock here in the state of Iowa.
As much as I love traveling to the coastlines, big cities and attractions around the US, being here in the midwest, surrounded by agriculture is such a beautiful thing. And although Iowa doesn't have the largest people population, the number of people we're feeding (thanks to the thousands of family farms around the state) is astounding!
If you've been following along on social media, you know my family recently moved to northern Iowa to be on the family farm. We love it up here! And now being surrounded by cattle pasture, I couldn't think of a better time to partner with Iowa Beef!
As we gear up for the holidays, I can promise three things that will for sure be on the table at our house. 1. Wine (yeah, you know me well!) 2. Dessert (again, you know my sweet tooth!) and 3. Incredibly good appetizers, like these easy Korean Meatballs I'm introducing you to today!
- Ground Beef - A mid-range lean-to-fat ratio is a great option for meatballs as you want some fat for that nice, juicy texture but don't need too much. Therefore, I recommend using a ground beef that is 80-85% lean!
- Gochujang - What is gochujang?? It's a Korean chili paste that's sweet, spicy and seriously PACKED with flavor! A little bit goes a long way! It's an ingredient common in Korean cuisine, but can be found here in the states quite easily. I found it at Walmart and Hy-Vee here in the midwest, but I'm sure you can find it at most large grocery stores! Don't skip this ingredient - it makes the dish! 🙂
- Green Onions - AKA Scallions
- Egg - Use one large or extra large egg for this recipe.
- Garlic Powder and Ground Ginger - If you have fresh minced garlic and ginger, you can certainly use that instead! Use 4 teaspoon fresh minced garlic and 4 teaspoon fresh ginger in place of the dried spices.
- Saltine Crackers - Crush these in a baggie with a mallet or rolling pin. Panko bread crumbs also work great!
- Soy Sauce - You can use regular soy sauce or low-sodium soy sauce.
- Corn Starch
- Vinegar - You can use regular or rice vinegar.
- Brown Sugar
- Red Pepper Flakes - This is optional, but if you like additional spice, it's a great way to add a little extra punch!
- Garnishes - Sliced green onions and sesame seeds are the perfect garnish!
How to Make Korean Meatballs
First, you'll make the meatball mixture by combining ground beef, Gochujang (a Thai chili paste), green onions, an egg, spices and crackers in a large mixing bowl.
Use a cookie scoop to evenly portion the meatballs. Roll each into a round shape and place on a lined baking sheet.
Bake the meatballs in a preheated oven until the internal temperature of the largest meatball is 160 degrees F.
Next, make the Korean BBQ sauce that'll coat the meatballs. Combine the soy sauce, cornstarch and vinegar in a small saucepan.
Then add the brown sugar, honey and red pepper flakes and bring the mixture to a boil. Let it boil for 5 minutes and it'll turn into a delicious spicy glaze for the meatballs!
Drizzle the sauce over the cooked meatballs and stir until they're well-coated.
Frequently Asked Questions
We live a good thirty minutes from a large grocery store, so I like to stock up on meat and keep it in the freezer. But what's the best way to thaw it out?
As tempting as it is to thaw meat on the counter, please thaw it out in the fridge. Put it on a plate in the fridge a day or two before you need it so it's ready when you are!
Every oven is different, so my 15-20 minute bake time is a good start. However, it's really important that you use a thermometer to check the temperature before removing them from the oven. Simply place the thermometer in the center of the largest meatball and once the internal temperature is 160F, it's ready!
Store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. This is a great recipe for meal prep! Add cooked rice, the meatballs and some broccoli to single serving containers for a quick and easy weekday lunch.
VIDEO: How to make Korean Meatballs
Tips for making juicy, delicious meatballs
- Choose the right lean-to-fat ratio - I recommend using a ground beef that is 80-85% lean for meatballs.
- Don't overmix - You want to incorporate all of the ingredients, but don't overmix the meat mixture as that can cause firm, compact meatballs.
- Don't overcook - Overcooking can cause more moisture to leave the meatballs. Be sure to remove the meatballs from the oven as soon as they reach 160F.
What to serve with Korean Meatballs
As a main dish - If you're serving these as part of a main dish, I love serving them over a bed of fluffy white rice (brown rice) with a side of broccoli! Yum!
As an appetizer - If you're serving these meatballs as an appetizer, simply pop a toothpick in each one and serve them warm. You can hold them in a slow cooker to keep them warm, but make sure it's not too hot! The only thing that could make these spicy little meatballs better is a nicely paired glass of wine! With spicy food, I like a sparkling white wine or rose!
I love making a meal out of appetizers during the holidays (or on game day)! Check out more great appetizers from Iowa Beef here!
Other Delicious Ground Beef Dishes
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