What meat to use in meatballs with added liver?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 03, 2012 at 12:05 PM

Hi everyone,

I have some 'buffalo braising steak', some turkey breast and some lamb's liver. I want to make meatballs to put in a soup (chicken bone broth - based, with added homemade walnut-rocket pistou).

My question is, which meat combination is best, buffalo + liver or turkey + liver? I love the taste of liver so concealing it isn't really an issue. Also, because its 'braising steak', does it mean it's unsuitable for faster cooking (I intend to boil them in broth till done) and become tough/dry? Or does grinding up the meat mitigate the toughness of the cut? I'm not using any extenders (no almond flour), just eggs to bind, just mentioning that in case it matters.



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on March 03, 2012
at 01:09 PM

What a great question! Since those are the choices, I would go with the buffalo, matching hooved meat source with hooved meat source.

Once you grind the meat and make meatballs, a different cooking time will be appropriate. The Healthy Buffalo says on their cooking page that "slow and low" is the way to cook--but then they turn right around and post a meatball recipe that cooks in the oven in 10 minutes. "Slow" is relative to the form the meat takes, and you're changing the form.

I would still be worried about toughness if you were making straight buffalo meatballs. Since you're adding the egg and liver, though, I expect you'll be okay.

If you have any ground buffalo left over, though, I would be sure to cook it with healthy binders & fillers of some sort, or that toughness will be an issue again. (When I was a kid on the farm, we used to get beef fat from the local butcher to grind in with game meat, for this very reason.)

It all sounds delicious; happy eating!



on March 03, 2012
at 03:49 PM

Turkey is very mild and if you are trying to mask the flavor of the liver, then your bison will probably work better.


on March 03, 2012
at 02:24 PM

Liver is liver to me - on it's own or combined into something else.. I don't always match :) Beef is the main one that I use, I have access to really nice grassfed happy cow liver at a good price, so it goes into meatballs/burgers, on it's own, or I'll freeze into little pieces like a pill and pop 'em.

Adding the egg should be fine but if it's really lean meat then perhaps a bit of fat to help it out a bit more. Doesn't need to be much - I've worked with an 85/15 and 90/10 with great results. Just massage all the proteins together and roll a test ball and poach at a low simmer, so no breaking apart - taste. If all is aces with just the egg/meat/liver? Move forward. If there are any problems with falling apart or just not what you want? Play with it and add another component or so.

I grind meat quite a bit and always do a test patty in foil on the stove before I pack up or cook away so I can check the flavour and such. It's a super bummer when you put all that work in there and it's a fail. Been there, no need to repeat :)

Good luck!

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