Meatballs in gravy are a nice comfort food, so when I saw a recipe for Baconized Meatballs in a hundred-year-old cookbook, I decided to give it a try. Bacon is chopped into small pieces, sauted, and then mixed with ground beef, spices, and other ingredients, and used to make the meatballs.
Here’s the original recipe:
I was surprised that “meat balls” was written as two words in the old recipe. I updated to the more modern way of spelling and combined into one word: meatballs.
Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:
4 slices bacon
1 cup cracker crumbs
1/2 cup hot water
1 pound ground beef
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon onion salt
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon sage
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup cooking oil, shortening, or lard
3 tablespoons flour
2 1/2 cups water
Cut bacon into small pieces, then put in a skillet and sauté until crisp. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl put the cracker crumbs, water, ground beef, egg, salt, pepper onion salt, celery salt, thyme, sage, allspice, and sautéed bacon pieces. Mix well, and form into meat balls (about 1 inch in diameter).
Put 2 tablespoons of flour on a plate. Roll meatballs in the flour.
Place the cooking oil, shortening, or lard into an overproof skillet and heat until hot. Drop balls into the hot fat, then gently roll the balls with a fork until all sides are a light brown. Move skillet to oven (preheated to 375° F.), and continue cooking until the meatballs are thoroughly cooked (about 20 minutes). Remove from oven and put meatballs in serving dish.
Put skillet back on the top of the stove, and reheat using medium heat. To make the gravy, stir the 3 tablespoons flour into the meat juices. Slowly add the water while stirring. Continue stirring until the gravy thickens and is hot and bubbly. Removed from heat, and pour gravy over the meatballs, then serve.