These meatballs are easy to make because the slow cooker does all the work. They make an outstanding party hors d’oeuvre by themselves, or main dish when served with a plate of spaghetti. Ground venison by itself has a hard time holding together in a meatball, so I like to use an 80/20 blend of ground venison to beef or pork fat, or bacon.
In addition to the fat, a few binders like bread crumbs, shredded parmesan cheese, and eggs help the meatballs to keep their shape while cooking.
The recipe can be cooked in as little as two hours with the slow cooker on high, or slowly over four to five hours on the low setting. Don’t worry if a bit of the cheese seeps out of the meatball as they cook, it is no big deal and won’t affect the flavor.
I use fresh mozzarella “pearls” when we make this recipe. If you can’t find the pearls in the deli section of your local grocery, 1-inch sections of string cheese will work in a pinch.
2 pounds ground venison 80/20 venison to fat ratio
1 pound mozzarella cheese pearls (or string cheese cut into one inch lengths)
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese (shred it yourself for the most flavor)
1 cup Italian flavored breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon salt
Begin by blending all ingredients except the mozzarella pearls in a glass bowl.
Once all ingredients are well mixed, pinch off a golf-ball-sized chunk of meat and roll it into a meatball. Press your thumb into the center of the meatball and place a mozzarella pearl in the center. Continue to roll the meat into a ball until it completely surrounds the cheese.
Place the meatballs in the slow cooker and cook on low for four to five hours or on high for two.
Serve by themselves as an appetizer, or over a plate of spaghetti with your favorite sauce.
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