The key (in my mind) to a successful meatball sandwich is 3 things.
1. Sauce. Not too much but not too little
2. Bread. The bread must be able to handle the meatballs. If it can't, your sandwich won't stay together.
3. (This one is the most important) The Meatballs! They can't be too big, but they can't be too small. Also, they can't be too dry otherwise it throws your sauce ratio off.
I've been working on my meatball recipe a long time and this one is pretty close to perfect. I'd love your thoughts if you have any suggestions.
Beef Meatballs for meatball subs
1lb ground beef
1/4 cup breadcrumbs (I used panko-italian mixture)
2 cloves garlic - finely chopped
1/2 a small onion - finely chopped
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp thyme
Salt and pepper
Olive oil for the pan - enough to cover the bottom
Provolone cheese - 2 slices per sandwich
French bread - fresh, not too hard on the outside
Tomato sauce - just a few spoonfuls per sandwich
Mix the spices, egg, meat, garlic, onion and breadcrumbs together in a bowl. Make sure it mixes together well otherwise your meatballs won't be spiced evenly. Take a wad of meat and roll a ball about an inch to a inch and a half in diameter. They will look small but they sit better in the bread and they cook faster. Plus they are easier to manage in the frying pan. I ended up with around 18 balls.
Once you've rolled all the meat up - heat up your frying pan. You want to add the balls one at a time to the pan and you're going to want to roll them around frequently so they don't over cook on one side. Based on the photo below - you don't want to fill up the pan any more than that otherwise they don't have room to move.
While the meatballs are cooking, prep your sandwichs and turn your oven on to around 350 degrees. Slice the bread so it's almost all the way through and plop your cheese in there evenly. I don't usually use the ends of the bread since its hard to take a bite into. BUT I do have a solution so you don't waste them... keep reading... I also added a little salt and pepper to the bread. Plop a spoonful of sauce on the bottom of the sandwich and spread it up the sides a little bit.
Once the meatballs are done, add them to the sandwich and then top them off with a few dolups of sauce. At this point, I used our pizza stone and put the sandwiches directly on that into the oven. I left them in there to toast for about 5 - 10 minutes. While they are baking, remember how I mentioned I don't waste the bread? I yank out the middle of each of the ends, put a little drop of sauce and pop a meatball into each! Little bread bites. Yum.
At this point - you're now ready to eat! Happy sandwich making!