NEVER change grandma's recipe - EVER.

  • Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.
SMF is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Retired Spook

Master of the Pit
Original poster
Jun 28, 2022
1,814
2,330
Not to brag, but I actually have a reputation for meatball sandwiches. A meatballs and sauce recipe handed down from my Italian grandmother who was a superb cook - I know, everyone says that - but my grandmother was very well known for her Italian cooking.

I have made meatball sandwiches that have completely changed people's minds about meatball sandwiches. Of course, this being Texas, most people think a meatball sandwich comes from Subway 🤮 which is an insult to Italian food. But everywhere I have lived and cooked my grandmother's meatballs and sauce and made a meatball sandwich for anyone, they have said it was the best they have ever had.

I have a friend that recently had a heart transplant - the guy was in the hospital for six-months and his recovery was very challenging. It was touch and go there for a long while but he is starting to feel better and he has always loved whatever I have cooked for him in the past.

He wanted a meatball sandwich and I though, great, I will make meatballs and sauce and make him an excellent meatball sandwich - I am talking Goodfella's/Soprano's quality meatballs and sauce...

I cannot divulge the family recipe because I will wind up in a river with cinder-blocks tied to my feet, but in the interest of health, I made a terrible blunder, and I substituted ground bison for the ground beef. Typically, the recipe calls for a 75% lean ground beef - the bison was 90% lean - but I did not anticipate the looming catastrophe.

As with all good Italians, I cooked some Italian sausages in the pot of sauce along with the meatballs. The sausages came out wonderful - very very tender moist - just like always - and the sauce is superb. Personally, I like the sausage cooked in sauce more than I like the meatballs - always have, ever since grandma's house on Sunday's. The sauce flavors the meat and the meat flavors the sauce.

Anyways, the meatballs came out perfectly tender, but dry as a bone - so repulsive to my palate that they are going out with the trash first thing tomorrow AM. What a disappointment. My friend is just going to have to wait a couple weeks before I have all-day free on a Sunday. Oh well...

Moral of the story - do NOT change grandma's recipe, for ANY reason...
 
Last edited:
You're gonna sleep with the fishes for that mistake!
GJ_S16_ISSUE_GodfatherFish_GentlandHyers.jpeg
 
Not to brag, but I actually have a reputation for meatball sandwiches. A meatballs and sauce recipe handed down from my Italian grandmother who was a superb cook - I know, everyone says that - but my grandmother was very well known for her Italian cooking.

I have made meatball sandwiches that have completely changed people's minds about meatball sandwiches. Of course, this being Texas, most people think a meatball sandwich comes from Subway 🤮 which is an insult to Italian food. But everywhere I have lived and cooked my grandmother's meatballs and sauce and made a meatball sandwich for anyone, they have said it was the best they have ever had.

I have a friend that recently had a heart transplant - the guy was in the hospital for six-months and his recovery was very challenging. It was touch and go there for a long while but he is starting to feel better and he has always loved whatever I have cooked for him in the past.

He wanted a meatball sandwich and I though, great, I will make meatballs and sauce and make him an excellent meatball sandwich - I am talking Goodfella's/Soprano's quality meatballs and sauce...

I cannot divulge the family recipe because I will wind up in a river with cinder-blocks tied to my feet, but in the interest of health, I made a terrible blunder, and I substituted ground bison for the ground beef. Typically, the recipe calls for a 75% lean ground beef - the bison was 90% lean - but I did not anticipate the looming catastrophe.

As with all good Italians, I cooked some Italian sausages in the pot of sauce along with the meatballs. The sausages came out wonderful - very very tender moist - just like always - and the sauce is superb. Personally, I like the sausage cooked in sauce more than I like the meatballs - always have, ever since grandma's house on Sunday's. The sauce flavors the meat and the meat flavors the sauce.

Anyways, the meatballs came out perfectly tender, but dry as a bone - so repulsive to my palate that they are going out with the trash first thing tomorrow AM. What a disappointment. My friend is just going to have to wait a couple weeks before I have all-day free on a Sunday. Oh well...

Moral of the story - do NOT change grandma's recipe, for ANY reason...
Grandma always knows best
 
  • Like
Reactions: Retired Spook
Not Italian but your're not the first (insert derogatory Italian label) that has screwed up grandma's recipe.
I'm Norsk. I have screwed up and fixed a few recipes in my time. There is NO fix to lutefisk.
Great segue...
 
I can't make any type of red sauce to save my life, but the whole sauce / gravy thing eludes me. I've never actually met anyone who says gravy except reading online.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Retired Spook
I can't make any type of red sauce to save my life, but the whole sauce / gravy thing eludes me. I've never actually met anyone who says gravy except reading online.
It is a not so subtle insult to Italians on the behalf of non-Italians that can't cook to save their lives...
 
I woke up 3-times last night cursing those meatballs... 🤬

So, this morning, I heated up one of the sausages with a little SAUCE, and sprinkled some Parmesan-reggiano on it and had it with a piece of buttered baguette (no, no where near as good as the bread from back home, but tolerable in a pinch) and my God was that fricken good.

The SAUCE is excellent - just like grandma's. At least I didn't blank that up.

If you sat at my grandmother's dinner table and called her sauce, gravy, she would have poured the entire bowl of sauce on your head and then beat you to death with her wooden spoon - and rightfully so.
 
Last edited:
All kidding aside. Of the few people I have met that called it gravy, what they made, and called gravy, I could not eat.

There is good in bad in everything.

For any of you that may want to begin to learn about sauce, this is where you should start.


Of course, nothing will beat sauce made from scratch from fresh ripe Roma or San Marzano (preferred) tomatoes - dropped in a pot of boiling water so the skin cracks, then process through a manual food mill so that all you have is fresh tomato puree - no seeds, no stems, no pulp, and you add family secret ingredients and simmer that all day until reduced by half, and THAT is how you get a marinara sauce that never gives you agita - like "gravy" does...

The addition of other ingredients (meats, Chianti, etc.) is what makes it a sauce.

I used to always make my sauce from scratch but old age is setting in so I have to compromise...
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: JLeonard
All kidding aside. Of the few people I have met that called it gravy, what they made, and called gravy, I could not eat.
I guess you've never had gravy made by Italian immigrant ladies fresh off the boat.

Chris
 
Darn, now I'm craving a meatball sub. And the only place nearby is a Subway? Wish I had an Italian grandma to make me one.
It is a sin that Subway is allowed to call that thing a meatball sandwich.
 
gmc2003 gmc2003 - look up Lidia Bastianich / Lidia's Kitchen - and find the word gravy.

She is the best Italian cook I have ever seen, second only to my grandmother. I have watched hundreds of hours of her shows and it is as if she is my grandmother's twin sister - they cook exactly the same - it amazed me when I first started watching her. I only recently learned from my sister, that my grandmother, may she rest in peace, LOVED watching Lidia's Kitchen.

There IS a difference.

Her shows are on the FOOD Network occasionally.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: zwiller
SmokingMeatForums.com is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

Latest posts

Hot Threads

Clicky